Thinking Tech

Dramatic video: hacker vs. computer

Dramatic video: hacker vs. computer

Posting in Technology

Watch what happens when a hacker tries to take over a VoIP server.

Credit: Stock.xchng

Computer servers are constantly fending off attempts by hackers to infiltrate their systems. Now an IT security expert has illustrated just how dramatic cyber attacks can be.

What you're about to see is visual representation of a hacker launching an attack on a voice over IP server. These kinds of takeover efforts are carried out by criminals who seek to seize VoIP accounts to allow someone else to make long-distance calls at the company's expense.

Here's a brief primer so you'll know what's actually going on:

  • The purple bubbles to the left of the screen represent user accounts belonging to people who sign up for VOIP phone services like Skype.
  • The tiny white and red bubbles are malicious scans from the hacker's computer that are executed as a way of breaking into customer accounts to steal passwords.
  • The green bubbles represent imposter data or in cyberspeak "honeypots"  that the server sends to intercept the scans and prevent them from compromising user's accounts.

Visualizing a cyber attack on a VOIP server from Ben Reardon, Dataviz Australia on Vimeo.

Although they can be exciting to watch in animated form, attacks like this are a major security threat to firms and their customers. Ben Reardon, who created the visualization wrote on his company's website that "with the increase in popularity of VoIP telephony, attacks are becoming more prevalent. The compromise of a VoIP system can cost the victim over $100,000 in real cash. For example, an Australian based company suffered $120,000 in toll fraud as a result of a VOIP compromise."

(Via DataViz)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure