NETWORK, SECURITY, AND HACKING 6
Brightways Technologies manager Mr. Jerry Johnson was a worried man.He had just left a very confidential meeting in which only the topcompany executives had been in attendance. Managing a large cellphone manufacturing company was not an easy job, especially now thatthe company’s top executives were worried that the company hadreported a big loss during the previous financial year. Mr. Johnsonhad been put under pressure to make a very difficult decision. He hadbeen required to fire the company’s senior Network administrator,Mr. Sam Eric. Johnson was reluctant to let Eric go because he was oneof the company’s most loyal and hardworking employees. He hadstarted working with the company ten years ago when the company wasstill quite young. He had joined as an intern and stayed on as acomputer programmer for over three years. He had worked in variousjunior capacities as a database administrator, then the computerhardware Engineer before being promoted to the senior Networkadministrator at Brightways Technologies.
However, one of the top executives in the meeting Mr. Robinson Garnerhad insisted that Eric had to be fired to enable the company to cutdown on spending since he was earning more money than any otherperson in the information technology department. Furthermore, Garnerhad insisted that one of the younger people in the IT department whowere more knowledgeable about current computer security issues thanthe rest could easily replace Eric. The decision had been left toJohnson to implement, and he did not have a choice. Johnson thoughtabout all the ways he could break the news. Should I write Eric aletter, should I ask him to my office? Or should I send him an email?He wondered. He decided to break the news to Eric in person and sosent him an email inviting him to meet him in his office thatevening.
That evening, Eric arrived in his office at the appointed time.Johnson invited him for a cup of tea, and they chatted briefly aboutthe weather and work. After the tea, Johnson explained to Eric thathe had summoned him to his office give him some news from the topmanagement authorities. He explained that the news was not verypleasant, but it was his duty to deliver it. During all this time,Eric sat across him his face was expressionless, betraying no hintof emotion. The only thing that displayed signs of life on his facewas his eyes that continued blinking at intervals. Johnson thenexplained the Company’s position as best as he could and finallylet Eric know that he had been laid off. After a long, awkwardspeech, Eric stood up, thanked Johnson and left. This was not a goodsign since Johnson had expected Eric to ask questions, to expressanger or frustration but he did not.
After one month, Eric had already left the job and one of theambitious IT person, Tony Brown, replaced him. However, Eric wasnursing deep wounds in his heart. He felt betrayed by a company hehad worked for devotedly in ten years. He did not understand why theyhad decided to repay his hard work with cruelty and so, he resolvedthat he would avenge himself. Since Eric had worked for BrightwaysTechnology for a long time, and had started from junior positionsbefore getting a senior position, he knew the whole network of thecompany inside out. He had controlled every aspect of that networkfor so many years and knew where the weak points were. He concludedto hit the company where it hurt most. He would hack into theirsystem, exploit it and reveal private information that was not meantto be leaked to outside sources.
He decided to maliciously initiate a Gmail hack by creating a“phising” web page for Gmail and then steal the passwordbelonging to Johnson (Covaleski, 2013). Eric then got down to work,satisfied that he was not going to take the shame of being laid downby the company lying down. He made up his mind to fight them to thebitter end. He sat down patiently at his computer and began theprocess that would almost bring down Brightways Technologies. Ericbrowsed on his computer for the gmail.com web page and saved it onhis computer as “complete HTML” file (Ericson, 2008). Aftersaving the gmail login page, the computer screen presented him withan HTML file containing a folder named “Email from Google.”Additionally, there were two images on a computer screen"google_transparent.gif" file and another one,"mail_logo.png" (Davis & Cowen, 2005). He thenproceeded to copy the url of each file and then uploaded them ontinypic. After this, he opened the HTML file in word pad, thensearched for “google_transparent GIF” without including thequotes and then replaced it with its corresponding URL (Parks, 2008).He did the same for the other file “mail_logo.png”. The next stepinvolved searching for theaction=https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLoginAuth and thenreplacing it with another action=http: //yoursite urlhere/login.phpand then saved the file. Now he had to create a login php, and he didso by opening notepad and creating one and saving it. He then openedhis notepad again and saved the file, without any other content as“pswrds.txts”. He then uploaded the files in a sub domain hostingsite through the spam.com site in order to hide his IP address. Hethen created an email that used the Gmail keyword and finally sentJohnson an email explaining the new feature that had been startedwith Gmail and provided a link to his ‘phising’ website (Long,2005). In a few days, he was all set. He had hacked into Johnson’semail.
He started working fast by infiltrating into the payment systems ofBrightways technologies. He had instant access to the credit anddebit card database of the customers and could monitor all theCommunication in the company that went through the Company manager.He went ahead to learn through the emails exchanged between Johnsonand Garner that part of the reason why they had laid him off was tocreate room for Mr. Brown, who was a brother to Mr. Garner to takeover. So, Garner had campaigned ruthlessly for him to be laid off tocreate room for his brother to take over. This was against the ethicsof the company. Eric decided to take his fight on social media wherehe started leaking the email exchanges between Garner and Johnson.Big media companies took up the story, and Brightways Technologieswas under attack from the public for having unfair work ethics.Johnson was put under pressure to resign. However, that was not all.Soon the customers started complaining that there were problems withtheir credit cards. On further investigation, the company realizedthat their payment systems had been infiltrated for over three weekswithout their knowledge. However, they did not have any evidence andneither did they have a suspect since they could not determine whohad hacked into their system. To make matters worse, the new SeniorNetwork administrator Mr. Brown did not have the required expertiseto solve the hacking problems since he had not been promoted onmerit, but as a relative to a top company executive.
Many people stopped buying Cell phones from Brightways Technologiesand the company made serious losses. Furthermore, its competitorsseemed to be thriving on their misfortune, making thus making itharder for Brightways to rise again. Mr. Eric found a job withanother company after a month, but Mr. Johnson was fired in additionto Garner and Brown. As Brighways Company tried to reorganize itselfand rebrand, one of the things they made sure to do was to separatethe duties of the Company’s network and security to many peopleinstead of giving the position to one person as was the case inEric’s time.
Covaleski, J. (2013). Hacking. San Diego, CA: ReferencePointPress.
Davis, C., & Cowen, D. (2005). Hacking exposed computerforensics: Secrets & solutions. New York:McGraw-Hill/Osborne.
Erickson, J. (2008). Hacking the art of exploitation (2nded.). San Francisco, Calif.: No Starch Press.
Long, J. (2005). Google hacking for penetration testers.Rockland, Mass.: Syngress.
Parks, P. (2008). Computer hacking. Farmington Hills, MI:Lucent Books.