Hackers in the media, a serious offense

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Personal e-mail, Twitter, and even aging MySpace accounts are all susceptible to spam. But what happens when major newspapers and technology companies are hacked?

In the past few weeks, sources reported The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Facebook overtaken by Chinese hackers. According to The New York Times, Chinese hackers routed their attacks through United States universities and extracted reporters and employee’s passwords.

Along with these trusted newspapers and a social media network, Apple was added to the list of companies infiltrated by Chinese hackers on Monday.

Although hacking is not a physical attack, the United States consider these cyber attacks as “military operations” because of the consistent breach, according to National Public Radio.

Reporters who work for these newspapers are already responsible for uncovering the truth in the story and identifying false information for the public. Which is why hacking does not even need the label of “military operation” to be unsettling. If anything remotely false was published, the information would disperse all over the country, wedging itself into our society and culture.

It is also second nature for a citizen to believe those false stories.

For example, reporter Jennifer Oravet published an article around two weeks ago claiming a story by The Onion, which stated PR firm Hill & Knowlton was advising the U.S. to cut ties with Alabama, was confirmed false by the PR firm Hill & Knowlton.

Unfortunately for Oravet, who did not realize The Onion is known for its fictitious news articles, her breaking news report about PR firm Hill & Knowlton was a perfect complement to the Onion article itself.

As a reporter, Oravet should have known this article was false. But she believed it, and believed it so much she investigated the story on her own.

This only confirms that in hacking situations where worldly recognized newspapers are compromised, false stories are serious offenses and dangerous to all communities.

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