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More Trouble for Foxconn

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Foxconn, the manufacturer responsible for recent improvements in suicide prevention technology, is in the news again. Following in the footsteps of Sony (SNE), the MPAA, several government agencies and Gene Simmons, the company was hacked by online activists.

The hacker group SwaggSec has claimed responsibility for the attack. They have issued a statement saying, basically, that they hacked Foxconn in the name of workers’ rights.

The statement, which is worth reading, goes on to inform Foxconn that:

They say you got your employees all worked up, committing suicide ‘n stuff. They say you hire chinese workers ’cause you think the taiwanese are elite. We got somethin’ served up good…real good. Your not gonna’ know what hit you by the time you finish this release. Your company gonna’ crumble, and you deserve it.

Apparently, the hackers gained access to Foxconn’s server thanks to an unpatched error in Microsoft (MSFT) Internet Explorer. Foxconn quickly resolved the issue, but not before a number of user IDs, including CEO Terry Gou’s -- of “it’s tough to manage a million animals” fame -- were stolen and released online in a data dump. It is unclear whether any more sensitive data is missing.

Foxconn manufactures products for the likes of Apple (AAPL), Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft, and a ton of other companies. It seems entirely possible that, if the hackers did manage to get their hands on anything higher up than user IDs, they might be able to embarrass -- or further embarrass -- a lot of prominent tech companies.

Considering their very public human rights abuses, it’s almost surprising that it took this long for someone to attack Foxconn. That being said, as Shanghaiist points out, there are reasons to be uncomfortable with the idea of hackers breaking into the servers of anyone they disagree with and posting private info online (the attack on the lawyers defending the Haditha Marines is a good example of how these data dumps can go wrong).

Still, it seems like companies are going to have to get used to the possibility of hackers breaking in to or attempting to break in to their servers. The real lesson here is that if every news organization in the West is reporting on your company’s horrible worker abuses, it may be time to beef up security.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
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