Iran-based hackers attacked a Dutch government site used by over half of Holland’s 17 million citizens, making off with codes used to steal personal information. As the Wall Street Journal reports:
The Dutch government Tuesday sought to contain a hacking scandal officials believe originated in Iran…In July, [U.S.-owned, Netherlands-based DigiNotar] DigiNotar suffered the theft of hundreds of certificate codes used to prove a website’s authenticity to viewers. Armed with these codes, hackers can secure security authentication for bogus websites, from which they can steal data and personal information entered by users.The Dutch government believes that the perpetrators of the hacking were in Iran, based on information it received from a security consultancy, Fox-IT. The government said Monday that 300,000 Internet users in Iran had been spied on using the fake certificates. It didn’t mention any other victims.
This could happen anywhere. Earlier this year the 24,000 files were stolen in a cyber breach at the Pentagon. Google has been hacked; German-made hardware used in Iran’s nuclear program was sabotaged by computer viruses. America is unprepared for this kind of thing. What will happen if the U.S. energy grid is attacked, the NSA database hacked or New York City’s transportation network is sabotaged?More and more of our lives need to be on the net. Routine interactions with both government and private corporations need to migrate to the net to make these relationships cheaper and more effective for all concerned. Our health records, our financial data, our insurance information and dozens of other critical bits of information need to be in cyberspace.Fighting cybercrime and promoting net security isn’t a sideshow. It is one of the major tasks our civilization has to solve. Let’s hope the drip drip drip of relatively minor incidents builds up enough paranoia and distrust so that we don’t face some kind of cyber 9/11: a mass malicious hack that causes unthinkable damage.It is not, repeat not good news that the attacks on the Dutch seem to be coming from Iran.