Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Have You Been Pwned?

In the early 2000s, word spread that Iran was secretly developing its own nuclear weapons. The UN responded with sanctions. The US and Israel threatened with war.

And years later, the two allies even attacked the Iranian nuclear plant—in secret.

The assault was so well hidden, Iran didn’t even know its defences were breached.

Until 2010.

In June, a security team from Belarus was called by an Iranian client who was experiencing random computer reboots.

Tech support didn’t think much of the problem. The error likely came from a conflict between installed applications.

But then the techies learned that many computers on the client’s network were experiencing the same issue. And considering some of these computers came straight out of the box, the real problem became clear.

A virus.

The security team found the piece of malware and tried to take it apart. 

But the programmers hit a wall. The code was too sophisticated.

So the Belarus team decided to call reinforcements and went public.

With the help of the hacker community, the purpose of the virus called Stuxnet was laid bare: 

Sabotaging the cooling systems of the Iran nuclear facility.

And Stuxnet worked.

While its authors hid in the shadows, the centrifuges of the Iranian nuclear plant were breaking down at unprecedented rates. Which forced the Iranian nuclear physicists to slow down their research to a crawl.

The American-Isreali joint venture was a success. 

Stuxnet is the first digital weapon that can destroy targets in the real world.

And it worked without a driver. Just fire and forget.

Today, cyber attacks are more common than ever.

Keyloggers. Phishing. Ransomware. Computer viruses. Spoofing. The list goes on.

And they don’t just target organisations, but individuals too.

Including you.

Even logging into the wifi of your local coffee shop can be fatal for the safety of your digital life. Check out the Wi-Fi Pineapple.

Even if you’re a responsible internet surfer who is savvy enough to never get caught by a targeted hack, your data is still in danger of being breached.

To put it simply, the more you sign up for new services and websites, the more vulnerable you become.

Suppose a hacker pierces the security of a big organisation like LinkedIn.

All the uncovered data, includings yours, will then be sold for a pretty penny on the dark web.

And if you don’t use different passwords for different accounts, the buyer can use your LinkedIn data to log into all your internet accounts.

A security researcher, called Troy Hunt started a website called haveibeenpwned.com where you find out if your personal info has been leaked.

Check it out to see if your privacy has been breached.

If so, follow the steps on the website to keep yourself protected.

Happy surfing.

P.S. My personal email was pwned on 3 different sites, but no pastes. I’d better change my password.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach