The internet was once again hacked. What can the government do to fix it and what are the “side effects”?


Stephen Hawking has said that humankind will go to an end when true artificial intelligence is achieved. It seems Professor Hawking is once again, right.

The recent attack affected many websites such as Twitter, Spotify and Paypal to be unavailable to its users. Aiming to hack internet service provider Dyn, the attack this time also hacked Internet of Things, including any smart internet-connected devices. “A massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was to blame. A DDoS works by using a swarm of hacked computers (a botnet) to overwhelm a target with malicious traffic; legitimate users can't access it and the victim is overwhelmed, knocking it offline,” according to Business Insider.

This was yet another attack, meaning more attacks are to come and before that happens, something needs to be done in order to prevent the hack as soon as possible. The government is already getting pressure to get in there and make the security more powerful or hack back.

“Not everyone agrees with this. Rob Graham, hacker and security researcher, calls for a more decisive action: A proactive strike from the NSA (National Security Agency) to knock compromised IoT devices offline. He pointed out that even if some nations did legislate against insecure IoT devices, it would do little to affect those sold in other jurisdictions — which could then be used for attacks,” according to Business Insider.

A report by security researches on the Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption (DROWN) vulnerability found out that over 3.5 million HTTPS servers are estimated to be seriously affected. Aiming to gain personal communications between users and the server, including passwords, credit card numbers, usernames, e-mails, messages, important documents, etc., the attackers of HTTPS servers “can also impersonate a secure website and intercept or change the content the user sees.” Among the approximate number of 3.5 million or 33% of all HTTPS servers at risk, are websites, mail services, popular sites, etc.

The report has raised awareness that third parties may reveal encrypted communications and that anyone must take action to prevent becoming a victim of this attack. With such a large number of website being vulnerable to attackers, and Internet of Things becoming a victim of the recent attack, a call for help from the government to fix and regulate the situation is understandable. But fixing such things is not always easy and comes with a lot of “side effects”.

“It's our responsibility to think about all of the consequences good and bad. We've had the same debate about atomic power and nanotechnology. With any powerful technology there's always the dialogue about how do you use it deliver the most benefit and how it can be used to deliver the most harm,” Professor Hawking said for BBC.


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