Hacking is now becoming the bane of the gaming industry. And not the hacking we're all used to, but hacks that grant users features that aren't available officially. These new hacks are more attacks than anything else and certainly aren't helping anyone – the largest of which took down the entire PlayStation Network for over a month, leaving over 77 million user accounts compromised.
Just when you thought the dust had settled on that fiasco, another few have begun. Over the weekend, Epic Games and Nintendo both confirmed that hacking attempts were made on their websites and user accounts. Following those announcements, Bethesda released a statement that hackers have also set their sights on Bethesda's sites and forums.
Over the past weekend, a hacker group attempted an unlawful intrusion of our websites to gain access to data…
We believe we have taken appropriate action to protect our data against these attacks. While no personal financial information or credit card data was obtained, the hackers may have gained access to some user names, email addresses, and/or passwords.
That type of statement is all too familiar these days.
Definitely not cool, hackers. The question is, what do these hackers have to gain from doing this aside from notoriety? And if that's their twisted reasoning, why is that notoriety so desired? I could understand GeoHot's motivations, I could even somewhat understand where Anonymous was coming from at first. But even they backed off when they realized they were only harming the gaming community.
These high-level hacking attempts are making various governments feel a little unsettled. The Pentagon has sent out a warning that any cyber-attacks made on US infrastructure would be considered "acts of war" and could retaliate with a full-blown military response. Granted they're not talking about these video-game-website hackers, but something else much more serious. But that doesn't mean that these hackers are capable of hacking into government systems.
It's not just the US military, either. Early last week, Spanish officials apprehended three members of cyber "hacktivist" group, Anonymous, in connection with the Sony attacks. But that didn't exactly go the way they had planned. Other members of Anonymous stuck back with DDoS attacks against Spain's policia.es website, taking it down for hours.
32 members of Anonymous were arrested in Turkey in connection with that attack. But seeing the game of tug of war that's going on, we wouldn't be surprised to see more attacks aimed at Turkey.
So how and when does this end? Even if these hackers believe strongly in their cause–and they do–it's still illegal (mostly). What they're doing in the video game industry end of things really doesn't seem to have any point or clear goal. Elsewhere, these attacks on government entities seem to a big mistake and is only drawing more attention to the severity of the situation.
From 2001 on, it's been all about the War on Terror. And it's a fight that will rage on forever with no real winner. While this new form of cyber-terror takes on less casualties of war, as we head into a fully digital age, these hackers are armed with extremely dangerous tools with almost no limit to the havoc they can cause. With no apparent identity, it appears as if they cannot be easily stopped.
It's out of control and there's no end in sight.