Hackers

Twitter

Hackers took credit for briefly taking down government-run websites in New Hampshire and Maine today.

An attack on the third-party server that hosts Visit N-H.gov and Maine.gov brought the websites down for about an hour this morning. A self-described “hacking crew” called Vikingdom2015 took credit for it on Twitter.

CyberHades / Flicker/CC

A recent breach at insurance giant Anthem compromised the personal information of as many as eighty million Americans including more than six hundred thousand granite-staters. It was just the latest hacking attack of a major company, following Home Depot and Target. We’ll look at why this keeps happening and what protections show promise.

Guests:

Aaron P. Bernstein Getty Images

Following a recent hack of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the insurer is gearing up to offer free credit monitoring services to members.

Anthem says it’s still unclear how many people’s data was stolen, so the company is acting as though all of its 290,000 members in New Hampshire are impacted. Hackers had access to personal information like social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, but not medical or credit card data, according to Anthem.

jonrandel via Flickr Creative Commons

With all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect.  Todd Humphreys is an assistant professor with the Aerospace Engineering department at UT Austin.

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Part 1:

stanescoo via Flickr Creative Commons

The 1995 film “Hackers”, a young Angelina Jolie and baby-faced Johnny Lee Miller star as digital rebels dressed in a punk aesthetic with the power to takeover anything that dares to exist on the internet.  Nearly two decades later, it’s clear that that hackers can’t be identified by dress, ethnicity, or any other one specific trait, but evidence of their presence and power in our increasingly digital world is everywhere. 

CIMMYT via Flickr Creative Commons

Produced with Zach Nugent

The community-based organization Farm Hack brings together innovative farmers, technology designers, and hackers to approach agricultural challenges without the top-down energy-intensive tools used in mainstream mega-farming. Farm Hack uses both online and face-to-face meetings to encourage and share  creative methods among small farms all over the country. Ben Shute joins us, he is a New York state farmer and co-founder of Farm Hack.

Photo by F H Mira, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

“Critical infrastructure” once referred to things like roads, bridges and power plants. But today, the term includes the unseen digital networks that control our visible world. An easy way to protect this infrastructure from hackers is to simply keep it disconnected from the internet, but it turns out many of those systems indeed are connected to the web, unbeknownst to the people that operate them. Joining me to talk about this is Kim Zetter, senior writer for Wired.