However would these events, particularly with personal credit databases being hacked from one of the big three start to destroy nearly all personal credit, or at least make it so that credit history is less important to the average smuck? I'm sure it would be more work to go in and have your history "Scrubbed" but if it seems to be so easy to switch credit history, or just plain go to any creditor that "Yeah, my credit has been hacked so many times now that no one knows what is going on anymore..."Paraphrasing, could the Bad Guys destroy the credit system, or discredit it to the point where it doesn't matter to Joe Everyman? The short answer is that the Bad Guys wouldn't want to destroy it. They exist as parasites, and killing the credit system would kill the host body that supports them.
In other words, if your credit history is now suspect no matter what, or if you have suspect history you can pass it off as "Hacked" would this not really start to shake up how credit is weighed, measured and balanced for risks? Not that I feel credit damage is not too easy to accomplish anyway but I digress...
It's possible that there are some people who would like to kill the credit system. These are almost certainly fringe States (North Korea, I'm looking at you) or terror organizations. It's unlikely in the extreme that any of these possess the capacity to do this. You need hacking skills (which they probably have), but more importantly you need a deep understanding of how the credit systems operate: IT systems, fraud detection systems, national interconnects - and especially what weak points could be exploited to lead to a cascading series of failures (which is really what you need to collapse the system).
Certainly some people know these things. They're all very well paid indeed, which is the third problem for the Bad Guys: they don't have the resources that they'd need to win.
Which brings us to the second half of this post: since the system is resilient against hacking at the macro level, is it similarly resistant on the micro level? In other words, to Joe Everyman?
No. A million times no.
The problem here isn't that Gyorgi from Bellorus hacks Big Box Realtor and gets your credit card. The fraud detection systems are quite good, loss is spread around (bank and retailer both lose here) but this is simply a cost of doing business and is factored into the quarterly earnings reports and 10K's. Unless Gyorgi wants to kill the host, but we just saw that he doesn't.
No, the problem is at a very personal level, and is quite insidious. The problem is called Resource Poisoning.
Suppose someone really hated you, hated you and had a grudge. Suppose they also had Giorgi's h4X0Rz skillz. What could they do by planting false data about you in important databases?
For 20 years there's been a saying around the security water cooler: to give someone a bad day, hack the National Crime Information System and put out an All Points Bulletin, armed and dangerous.
That would be a bad day for someone.
If someone wanted to target an individual, the bar is a lot lower. You only need to find one open system. A bogus felony conviction will probably lead to job loss, and make getting another one difficult or impossible. Most annoyingly, this might not be discovered until years later, meaning that the chances of the Bad Guy getting caught would be very low.
The movie The Net actually covered this situation very well. Considering that it dates to the early '90s, that is holding up pretty well. The scene where Sandra Bullock's mentor dies from a modified hospital medication order is based on something that already happened.
And the scene in Homeland where Damien Lewis kills the Vice President by making his pacemaker go nuts is, as the Mythbusters would say, "plausible". I don't worry about the macro level attacks. They're implausibly difficult. The micro level attacks - aye, there's the rub. We're surrounded by soft targets.
And so Jester's question is technically plausible: Resource Poisoning is likely doable by a lot of Bad Guys targeting individual Good Guys. But more to the point, is the argument of Resource Poisoning likely to help Joe Everyman dispute something with the Credit Card Company? Probably not. It's David vs. Goliath there, and Goliath's Call Center people don't know how to spell "Resource Poisoning".