Nintendo reports that a Web server for its U.S. unit was hacked. The attack on Nintendo shows that this new era of hacking isn't going to end any time soon, and should serve as a wakeup call for other companies that were hoping this was purely a Sony issue.
To be fair, the Nintendo incident is nothing compared to the Sony debacle. It's like comparing the United States "invasion" of Grenada, with the United States bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While Sony has been hacked repeatedly for the past month -- compromising sensitive information from more than 100 million user accounts in the process, the Nintendo hack appears to have yielded a simple server configuration file, and not exposed any sensitive data.
The current plague of hacks and network takedowns is not limited to game console vendors, nor is it limited to one hacking collective. LulzSec is dominating headlines right now after attacking PBS, the FBI, hacker magazine 2600, and now Nintendo, but there are other groups out there as well -- like the notorious Anonymous.
2600 seems to have nailed it on the head when it tweeted, "Hacked websites, corporate infiltration/scandal, IRC wars, new hacker groups making global headlines - the 1990s are back!"
Yes. That seems to sum things up. Granted, the vast majority of these attacks are driven by "hacktivism" -- a pseudo-noble attempt to stand up for an issue and make a statement. But, there is a fine, fine line between that "Robin Hood complex" vigilantism, and just being a cyber thug.
The problem with hacktivism is that there are hackers representing both sides. While hacker groups battle it out online for bragging rights, innocent users are caught in the crossfire. I can sympathize with some of the hacktivist causes, but regardless of my opinion of Sony, or any other organization, I can't condone or support exposing sensitive information of users, or even interrupting services that those users have paid for and enjoy using.
While malware has evolved from script kiddies in search of bragging rights to organized crime in search of money, hacktivism is bringing back the "Wild West" days of the Internet. The thing is, hacktivism is just hacking -- it's easy to rationalize by making it about trying to stand up for an issue or make some sort of statement, but really the only statement it makes is "look how great I am -- I got in to your network."
The days of "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" are back. Watch your back Xbox Live, you're probably next as some group attempts to "outdo" LulzSec.