Cyber Week in Review: Emmanuel Macron, Holiday Inn & Hyundai Mobile App

Media Division | May 5, 2017

Maybe in the future, there will be a week when there are no hacking stories to cover, a world where cyber security has been managed so well, breaches of magnitude do not happen.

Well, that’s not this world, this week.  This week the headlines are near (North American hotel chain, Holiday Inn) and far (Korean car company, Hyundai).  The scale is small (failed infiltration attempts) and large (political election interference).

Here are three of the top stories in the cyberverse for this past week.

“Pulling a Clinton” on Macron

Since the person in charge has a great deal to do with foreign relations, nations around the world take notice of political elections.  Sometimes that interest goes beyond mere notice, such as when the United States has participated in the overturning of a regime in favor of a “friendlier” leadership (meaning more cooperative with American interests).

Russia has been accused of a more cyber-active approach in recent elections, with suspected Russian hacking group Fancy Bear even having penetrated the Democratic National Conference and Hillary Clinton’s email server.  Some political experts speculate that this interference may have directly contributed to Clinton’s downturn in political polls in the United States and the eventual election of President Donald Trump.

That Clinton formula of interference had two key ingredients:

  1. Access—The security breach likely stemmed from a successful phishing scam of one of Clinton’s staff.
  2. Message—The information that “leaked” as a result of political hacks in 2016 matched the messaging from Clinton critics: she sounded manipulative and untrustworthy, just as many voters already were concerned or suspected (whether or not that is true that is how she sounded, so no political leanings here, only information about the concerns and the messaging).

Without that formula, the politically-charged hacking leading up to the 2016 elections would not have even mattered.

Which brings us to another voting nation, France.  It may not be part of broad jargon, but it could be called an attempt at “pulling a Clinton” on the campaign of Emmanuel Macron.  Evidence suggests that outside forces, presumably Russian, likely attempted numerous security breaches of Mr. Macron and his political party, En Marche.

Unlike the Clinton campaign, however, the attempts to date have been ineffective.  Whether through effective cyber security software (filtering attempted hacks) or better education of personnel (preventing the success of phishing scams), Macron’s haters haven’t had access.

No access, no Clinton formula.

More than a Holiday

Over in the United States, guests who stayed at Holiday Inns or franchises with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in the US or Canada during September-December 2016 may have gotten more than the vacation they bargained for.  IHG just announced that credit card data used during those -ber months at the end of last year may have been breached.

Even if a card was only swiped for incidentals, that information may have been compromised.

Beyond just checking monthly credit card statements for fraudulent charges, American or Canadian residents can request free copies of their credit reports.  In the United States, citizens have the right to a free copy each year at  Canadians can contact Equinox Canada and TransUnion Canada directly for a “credit file disclosure” or “consumer disclosure” from those reporting agencies.  An annual check-up on those reports can help you spot identity theft and get it reported.

If you have employees who used corporate cards for such transactions, you can also recommend that they annual check their credit reports for errors or fraud.

Hacking Hyundai

On a completely different note, how about hacking a Hyundai?

While the internal combustion engine may have its roots in the early 1800’s, a few automobile features evolved more recently. Seatbelts came about in the middle of last century,  airbags not long thereafter (though legislation requiring them is much more recent).  Radios made drives more pleasant beginning about the 1930’s, and the first heated seats starting warming the backsides of Saab drivers in 1972.

But with the advent of the digital age, automotive technology has evolved in a decidedly more high-tech fashion: keyless entry, Bluetooth compatibility, and now even apps that communicate with your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth vehicle.

With that increased comfort and ease comes more susceptibility to high-tech hijacking.  Jeeps got hacked remotely, stalling an engine. The Tesla Model S unintentionally allowed for remote control of braking components.  Now, Hyundai’s mobile app, Blue Link, designed to monitor features and certain controls of your car, may also allow burglary.

The US Department of Homeland Security issued the advisory, but also a statement that “No known public exploits specifically target these vulnerabilities.  High skill level is needed to exploit.”  Translation: it would take a high-tech grand theft auto to drive off with your Hyundai if that’s comforting at all.

Cyber Security Software

Cyber security breaches cost tens of billions of dollars each year.  With the right cyber security software tools, tailored to meet the needs of your organization, you can stay ahead of the latest hacks and exploits.

Enjoy the headlines, but stay out of them.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.