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Hackers target journalists: Reporters caught spying on other reporters

You may wish to check out the March 28, 2014 C-net article by Don Reisinger, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you." According to that article, on March 21, 2014, at the Black Hat hackers conference in Singapore, speakers such as Google security engineers Shane Huntley and Morgan Marquis-Boire reported that 21 of the top-25 news organizations in the world have been targeted by hackers.

Hackers target journalists: Reporters caught spying on other reporters.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Those hackers, the researchers told Reuters, are likely sponsored by foreign governments seeking information, according to the article, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you." You also may wish to take a look at the article, "Reporters booted from Black Hat conference for hacking - ABC News."

Another noteworthy site is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, known as the EFF. It's a civil liberties group focused on free speech and privacy on the Internet and often takes up journalists' legal cases. Also of note to those interested in media and culture is the site, "404 Day: A Day of Action Against Censorship in Libraries."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. The foundation works to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as the use of technology grows, according to the foundation's website. Meanwhile reporters are spying on other reporters.

With thousands of hackers milling around the Black Hat convention here, and widespread snooping on the public Wi-Fi network, one place was supposed to be off limits: the press room

Are too many journalists getting hacked? The article, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you" also mentions the case of reporters spying on other reporters, where three journalists working for the French publication Global Security Magazine were booted on March 20, 2014 from the hackers' conference after they were allegedly caught hacking into the private computer network set up for the media.

The French journalists captured what they claimed were usernames and passwords of reporters from at least two media outlets — eWeek and CNET News, according to that March 28, 2014 article, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you." The eWeek reporter told organizers his login credentials looked like they were legitimate, while the CNET information appeared to be bogus, the C-Net article reported.

Black Hat attendees are warned that the conference's public wireless network is being monitored by hackers

The moral of this piece is don't send sensitive personal data over it. Otherwise, the person sending such personal data are cautioned that they might have that information posted on the Wall of Sheep, a forum to embarrass security professionals who don't follow proper security procedures themselves, says the article, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you." On another note, beware of state-sponsored hacking. Countries most pointed to by some journalists include the USA, China, and Russia. You also may wish to see the article, "China's Great Firewall directs millions to open door to free surfing."

The hacking, if done, usually is to get information. Who has a lot of information to disseminate to the public? The answer is journalists. Next could be educators. But journalists usually are the first targeted by hackers and then educators or scientists broadcasting their latest findings.

Journalists at the top are hacked, but phishing letters also sent to unpaid or low paid citizen journalist bloggers in order to get their financial information, not what news they're researching, and hacked for spite to wipe their computers clean or destroy their computer's ability to boot up

Why journalists are singled out first is because many of the journalists at the top have information about companies, corporations, and government officials. You may wish to see the article, "China promises Web security improvements following alleged US hack ."

Is there a war between the tech industry and journalists to gain information so new the newspapers, Internet, and TV broadcasters haven't yet heard such news? A journalist's position is like a front-loading ancillary, meaning some top journalists do have information so new the media hasn't yet heard of it. See, "Mirror, meet tech companies. Tech companies, meet mirror."

The competition between journalists and the tech industry for rare information

It's like the old 1930s battle between journalists to get the scoop for one's newspaper before the rival newspaper gets the latest news. Only it's not what goes into newspapers anymore when it comes to technology and instant news availability.

It's about security now. And for journalists, hacking is a threat to their personal information as well as what information they have researched. Apparently, hackers want to pick the brains of journalists for information or defy security to get at them, but why? You may wish to check out the article, "NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'."

According to the Google researchers, several news organizations were successfully hacked in the last year.

Huntley detailed one case to Reuters where Chinese hackers gained access to a news outlet by sending a fake questionnaire over email to journalists, says the article, "Watch out, journalists: Hackers are after you."

How the hackers get the journalists is by email at this time. It's not limited to email, though because state-sponsored hackers will use any method that works to target journalists to get information from them, information they can use, sell, or upload. Even though Google monitors state-sponsored attacks and immediately warns those who might have fallen victim to a hacking attempt, there also are numerous email services that monitor attacks and handle responses.

If you're a journalist, watch out for the usual phishing email that may come your way asking you to click on something

These days almost anyone can get into your computer and destroy your hard disc drive so you have to format your disc and destroy information you have, personal information, not just your written material. Please back up your important files on another disk because sooner or later, if you're a journalist, or even if not, somebody probably will try to get what you have, even if it's only the shirt on your back.

If you're old, there's the equity in your house hackers and scammers want to steal, if you have any assets. And if you're young, mischief consists of getting what's in your computer or mobile device and then destroying the information so you have to format your disc to get it to boot up again. It's common.

The higher up you are in rank as a journalist, the more hackers such as state-sponsored hackers/crackers want what information you've been researching. Sometimes the information is sold as marketing reports on corporations, but be aware the hacking may come not only from local hackers, but also from a variety of different countries.

And if you're a low-ranking journalist with little information in your computer that's not already public? Well, the hackers will get your birthday cards sent to your great-grand kids and a few 1920 family photos, or perhaps the picture you took from your last lunch at some family picnic. Seems almost everyone wants the first scoop when it comes to information so new or so hidden the mainstream media hasn't yet seen it, maybe because it's worth value somewhere.