When news broke out that the security breach at Adobe Systems involved upwards of 152 million users, many people, including us, immediately thought of identity theft. Well, considering the nature of how the security breach came about, it is increasingly becoming clear that the breach might be actually worse than initially thought. Sure, identity theft is horrendous and it is a pain in the butt. In fact, it is quite common for identity theft victims to take years in clearing up the damage of a security breach. However, the way the Adobe Systems security breach went down opens the door to lots of possible issues down the road.
Adobe’s Cold Fusion and Acrobat source code were stolen. According to some reports, even Adobe’s highly popular blockbuster graphics design software Photoshop was accessed by the hackers, it is unclear whether its code was stolen as well. What is clear, after much digital dust has settled over this security fiasco, is the hacker’s intent of stealing code for piracy purposes. At the very least, the security breach means that Adobe’s security measures against unlawful copying and software access has been breached. As bad as this may be, this can be easily replaced with a new system. What is troubling is the impact of the source code theft on how Adobe protects user identities. The hackers can now see how personal information is stored and handled by Adobe products. It would not be out of the realm of possibility for hacker toolkits to exploit this vulnerability and possibly reverse engineer the central update server where users’ personally identifiable information may be stored. This might scare many people away from registering online for their software products or even buying software online. What a mess.