Commentary

What The Recent Alleged Russian Hack May Mean To Media

The suspected Russian hack of major U.S. government entities — as well as some private software/security companies — is massive, according to experts.

Now, think a bit further. Little is known what this might mean to media and entertainment specifically. Connections? We all know what happened in 2016, where media — specifically social media — was a major target for political manipulation. Though different, the vehicle was the same: internet and cyberspace.

U.S. intelligence agencies — the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — concluded in mid-January 2017 that Russia weaponized social media in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Initially, much of the recent attack caused overall disruption, not necessarily to glean sensitive information, according to some officials. Still, this isn’t good. The scope was wide and far, across a number of organizations. Right now, we know there are embedded hacks attached to existing software systems at organizations.

When looking specifically at media, we are reminded of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack in fall 2014. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, that came from North Korean operatives. The motivation there concerned a dark comedy called “The Interview,” a movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as pair of inept journalists who go to North Korea to interview its leader. They are recruited by the CIA for plans to do much worse.

This new hack seems beyond either election manipulation or specific isolated incidents around media content. And since we are told it could impact private and public U.S. companies as well, we ask: Why not big media as well?

Sifting through all this — now and later — we might discover if this attack went deeper into social-media services and other digital media platforms beyond manipulating advertising/messaging and disruption/propaganda purposes.

Is it a leap to say traditional and other news media organizations could have been affected, too? Beyond this, we need to consider the obvious: What is coming next? What is our next hack blind spot?

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