Ice Phishing or Hacking 101

Nov 13, 2013 at 7:23 AM ET

Iceland is one of the most wired countries in the world. A recent survey shows that 96 percent of the population uses the Internet, making it the world leader in online activity. The island is also ranked seventh in terms of the “availability of latest technologies.” Aside from being pretty tech-savvy, Iceland has a reputation for championing freedom of information and is home to more than a few influential hacktivists.

Are you scared of getting hacked?

WikiLeaks was essentially born there when Julian Assange chose to “produce” the group’s first major whistle-blower leak, a video of U.S. forces allegedly targeting civilians in Iraq, which became known as “Collateral Murder.”

It was a WikiLeaks-volunteer-turned-FBI-informant who drew us to Iceland in search of the perfect hack. We made contact with him on a WikiLeaks forum, intrigued by what he claimed to be able to do. His name is Sigurdur Thordarson. Icelandic newspapers dubbed him “Siggi the Hacker.” One even questioned whether he was the most “dangerous” man in Iceland. Long story short: He was neither a hacker nor dangerous.

He had promised to show us how easy it was to hack someone in a public place, but when we met him at a coffee shop in Reykjavik, he was unable to break into our iPhone.

We didn’t give up.

We headed to Reykjavik University, where we met Professor Ymir Vigfusson, who also happens to be the co-founder of Syndis, a startup focused on ” offensive research and security services.” As he says in an email about his company, “We hack large international companies who want us to test their security and show them how we get in—100 percent success so far.”

He and his partner, Teddy, were clear about one thing. The kind of attack they would show us would be the simplest kind of hack. Nothing sophisticated about it. To a “real” hacker, it was easy stuff, but not so easy that we could do it, and not so simple that hundreds of thousands of people don’t get duped by it every year.

So we went Ice Phishing. Join us.

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