Media Under Siege?
SPOILERS for Mr. Robot
Season two of Mr. Robot has so far escalated the first season’s conflict into a looming cyber war between the US and China, in which the latter’s Minister of State Security, Whiterose, through the “Dark Army” at her disposal, intends to take advantage of the chaos unleashed by the ECorp hack to destabilize American infrastructure and institutions. At least, that’s what I’m guessing the plan is, at this point; it hasn’t been made explicit.
Mr. Robot is a show noteworthy for its consistent timeliness, whether it be about fears of surveillance technology to specific data breaches. This plot, too, is to a degree another such mirror, although in this specific case we’re swapping out China for Russia. Cybersecurity experts and US intelligence officials believe that Mr. Putin’s Playground is indeed the source of several recent high profile breach incidents, including one that broke this week concerning reporters at The New York Times and other US news organizations.
These intrusions are currently under FBI investigation, and while the Times has come out and denied any breaches of their internal systems, it’s their reporters who were targeted in this scenario. As of now, investigators once again assign responsibility to Russian intelligence, and claim that this newest story is part of the same wave of hacks we’ve seen in recent months, like with the DNC last month that forced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign.
Intelligence officials also believe, in light of this latest hack, that this wave’s purpose is to gather information from non-government entities involved in the political process. Targeting news organizations can provide such intel as a reporter’s sources in government, as well as highly sensitive and classified communications.
Boy, our media outlets are sure under attack lately. I wish it was only from cybercriminals overseas, too. Sadly, it’s an assault on both fronts, with domestic threats to journalists everywhere in the form of vengeful billionaires and dangerous ideas from presidential candidates promising to undermine fundamental and cherished concepts of society and the role of the press.
No wonder Whiterose is having such an easy time of it.