Like an American Idol karaoke diva LulzSec went from a total unknown to top news on the internet in a matter of weeks. Perhaps just like a American Idol karaoke diva they will soon be forgotten.
As May, 2011 came to an end, the name LulzSec was relatively unknown and another season of America Idol was finishing. Even geeks were fascinated by wannabe rock stars like James and Haley. Along came LulzSec, they started their rash of hacking. There was a period of a few weeks where LulzSec was more popular than American Idol, based on average worldwide internet traffic tracked by Google trends during June, 2011. LulzSec reached wannabe rock star fame during the month of June.
As LulzSec announced their retirement last weekend, their popularity peaked, and has fallen off dramatically since. Let us hope that much like an American Idol karaoke diva their popularity remains a flash in the pan.
No connection of hacking to American Idol implied
Please don’t get confused, no connection of American Idol to LulzSec, or any hacking group is intended or implied. Ironically Fox.com was one of the sites that LulzSec attacked back in May when it claimed to have stolen passwords and the names of 73,000 X Factor contestants.
Our point is to simply illustrate that an American pop culture symbol like American Idol, that has been around for years, can be upstaged in the media from a story that can come from seemingly nowhere. We are simply trying to put into perspective how any group with a cause, from LulzSec to WikiLeaks, can dominate our news in a relatively short period of time. Hopefully the lessons learned will not be forgotten.
Lessons learned from hackings
The term hacking is used in a many ways. It runs the gambit of simple criminal mischief, when the purpose is simply to be annoying and block traffic, to serious issues of breaking in to steal valuable data like credit card information.
The hackings by the group LulzSec were at the lower end of spectrum, where they were mainly to prove a point. In many cases when asked why they did it, LulzSec responded with a very cool “for fun” but they also mentioned their desire to point out security vulnerabilities in networked systems. For many businesses and government organizations the LulzSec hackings were very embarrassing and potentially very devastating threats. They accomplished their mission of exposing weaknesses.
There are numerous things network administrators are always preaching, that end users and business managers are always looking at as low priority issues. Hopefully we have all learned not to take our online security so lightly.
Low priority advice doesn’t look so low priority
Things like using secure passwords, or not using the same password for every account, are often thought of as being overly cautions, or too painful to worry about. You look pretty stupid, as many folks have in recent weeks, when someone publishes your user name and password to your personal email account, and a million people discover you use the same password on your account to guard government secrets.
Many servers and internet gateways are invaded because of security patches that were never applied, or updates and upgrades that were put off because technology staff was doing tasks deemed more important.
The recent rash of hackings brought network security issues to the discussion table for many networking professionals and business managers. Let us hope the current quiet period in the hacking endeavors of groups like Anonymous and LulzSec give folks some time to look at those low priority issues that don’t look so low priority anymore.
Stay tuned on the latest news on hackings and the internet, connect with Tom Peracchio @Gu42 on Twitter or at Guru42 on Facebook