The Sun website readers personal info released on the web after hack

Gerald Lynch Computer Security, Media, Tech Digest news Leave a Comment

The_Sun_Newspaper.gifThe Sun website has yet again fallen foul to a hacking attack, which may have lead to the release of thousands of users’ sensitive information being released online.

The attack has been attributed to a hacker known as Batteye, who claimed responsibility for the breach in a Pastebin post. The hacker stated that:

“We will begin today by presenting to you, various files obtained from the Sun, a company within the News Corp group. We will continue, then, by exposing the world for what it is; a less than perfect place where we cannot trust those who we ask to protect our information.”

News International, owners of The Sun, have responded by calling in the police and information commissioner to investigate the breach. It is thought that readers’ names, addresses, dates of birth, emails and phone numbers were accessed, though password and financial information remained secure.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for News International, who have already had to wipe egg off of their faces after LulzSec hackers posted a fake story on The Sun’s homepage claiming that owner Rupert Murdoch had died after a drug overdose, all in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that has rocked the massive media empire to its core.

“Cybercriminals will be rubbing their hands in glee at getting hold of data such as names, email addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security specialists Sophos.

“The stolen information can be used to target innocent individuals. For instance, a scammer could email a beauty contest applicant, trick them into believing that it was the newspaper contacting them and attempt to steal money or further information.”

“Large scale, high profile data breaches continue to hit the headlines and companies really need to take heed about what’s going on, and consider the security of the information they store on their systems,” Cluley continued.

“Questions will inevitably be asked to why the sensitive information about readers and competition entrants wasn’t safely stored using strong encryption.”

By Gerald Lynch | August 2nd, 2011