Cyber Week in Review: “Royal Hacker,” Al Jazeera & Cyber Sleuths

Media Division | June 30, 2017

Each week we bring you three of the top stories in the cyberverse.  It’s all fun and games, just for grins and giggles.

This week the headlines read like actual children’s games.  First up we’ve got a simple game of hide-and-go-seek.  The rules were easy, just shut your eyes and count while someone hides, then you go find them.

Our second story is more like the game of “truth and lie,” where you tell a truth and a lie and your friends guess which is which.  The ratios would change, maybe “two truths and a lie” or “one truth and a lie,” but there was always something untrue in the mix.

The final story this week is more like the Parker Brothers classic, “Clue.” But it wasn’t Mr. Green with the candlestick in the dining room this time around.

So pour yourself a cup of tea or maybe a glass of milk, because here are three fun and childish cyber attacks and stories making headlines this week.

Hide-and-Seek with “His Royal Gingerness”

In the first children’s game story of the week, the hider was a hacker going by the name of “His Royal Gingerness.” Not only did he hack the websites of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and the website of the Norwich International Airport, but then he also posted YouTube videos detailing his exploits.

Instead of counting seconds, like the classic game of hide-and-go-seek, the officials were counting money, as in the cost of these exploits.  The hospital’s site was offline for about a day (and reports indicate it did not affect any clinical procedures), but the airport estimated the damage cost about £37,000 in loss of income and IT costs.

All of that counting, and following the breadcrumbs left in his videos, led law enforcement to His Royal Gingerness. He is already behind bars for unrelated charges and will now also be banned from using internet-connected devices for five years.

“Truth and Lie” with Al Jazeera

Conflict in the Middle East isn’t a new thing, even if the internet age is. Until recently, however, things seemed pretty chill between two US allies: Saudi Arabia, the US’s largest ally in the Middle East, and Qatar, a small peninsular nation that also hosts one of the US’s largest military bases.

Qatar is also home to the news agency Al Jazeera, which recently posted statements attributed to the emir of Qatar supporting Iran and criticizing President Donald Trump.

In response, several Arab nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, even ceasing air travel to and from the small country.

But Qatar officials state that Al Jazeera has been hit with “systematic and continual hacking attempts,” and that even the statements themselves were false and part of a cyber attack.

As other nations determine which is the truth and which is the lie, the already unstable region has experienced heightened instability.

A Game of Clue with Romanian Cyber Sleuths

Over in Romania, the game has inverted—the pieces have become the players. According to reports in USA Today, “a growing legion of former criminal hackers” have turned legit and helped the small European country become a leader in the tech field.

Who better to address cyber security threats than those who used to create them?

Hacker-turned-co-founder of Cyber Smart Defense, a security firm with 12 employees and locations in 4 countries, Razvan Cernaianu served time for past crimes. Now, he says, “I’m doing what I like the most without worry.”

That’s the game to play.

Until next week—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.