Last month, PandoDaily editor Adam Penenberg published a 7,000-word story that detailed how he challenged a group of white-hat hackers to infiltrate his personal life. Over a number of weeks, the hackers staked out his apartment, infiltrated his wife’s Pilates studio, and eventually found a way to break into his home computers, which opened up access to his passwords, his social media accounts, his tax documents, and his bank account. The story, “I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling,” turned out to be one of the most widely read pieces PandoDaily has ever published.
5,000 tweets, 18,000 Facebook Likes, and 3,000 LinkedIn shares later, I talked to veteran journalist and author Penenberg about the story for this week’s PandoWeekly podcast. In the half-hour show, he told me what it was like being on the inside of what was an at-times bizarre experience, what the experiment revealed about the state of online security, and how his wife felt about the whole thing (hint: it rhymes with “bot ingressed”).
The upshot? No one’s really safe online, but, as long as you don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself, you can at least hope for “security through obscurity.” The truth is that it still takes a lot of resources to hack into even just one person’s online life. Now that we live in the mobile era and all our personal stuff is stored in the cloud, however, that could be about to change…
Next week we’ll go back to interviewing non-Pando people. In the meantime, enjoy the wisdom of my boss.
Note: You can also listen to the show at BlogTalkRadio.