Print 10 comment(s) - last by Camikazi.. on Aug 12 at 10:11 AM

Companies and government branches still unsure how to battle cyber attacks... from within the US, and from foreign attackers with malicious intent

During DefCon in Las Vegas every year, hackers and security experts look to expose the real-world vulnerabilities that plague financial institutions and other major companies.  This year was more of the same, as the technology behind stealing personal information evolves just as fast, if not faster, than current security measures.

A two-day contest during DefCon led to embarrassing incidents related to employees at some large corporations turning over information they should have kept private.  In one such incident, a participant was able to convince an employee he was a part of the IT department, and she began to explain her PC and how it was configured.  

The provided information from the worker would make it even easier for a criminal to compromise the PC -- and possibly enter the company's network -- just because of a few minutes of carelessness over the phone.

According to event organizers, software giant Oracle turned over the most amount of information, while AT&T, Apple, Delta Air, Symantec, and other companies were also put to the test.
This is an important lesson for U.S. companies trying to better improve their networks from foreign attacks, as the number of cyber attacks continues to increase.  In addition to increasing cyber security efforts, these companies must be vigilant about what their employees are doing when connected to the Internet.  

Even the "DefCon Kids village," aimed at helping younger children learn how to hack and manipulate code, offers a glimpse into how the next generation is being prepared.  For criminal organizations originating in Eastern Europe and China, this type of effort has already been well under way for a few years now -- and governments and companies across the world have noticed.

Although some outsiders criticized this new direction, it's this new generation that could help close the cyber gap, security experts counter.  Software makers are now forced to release products that are functional and secure from cyber intrusion, even though this has proven to be relatively difficult as of late.

Repeated cyber attacks against South Korea -- many of the attacks originating from China and North Korea -- have led to a new set of security standards that Korean companies must abide by.

So-called "social engineering" also is another problem, in which criminals will phish for information via e-mail and social networking sites.  After impersonating a friend or trusted colleague, criminals will trick users into downloading a virus or hijacked website.  

The battle between cyber criminals and companies/governments trying to protect information will never end.  Independent criminals and organized cyber groups are able to have extremely easy access to confidential information they can use and sell to U.S. rivals.

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When will they figure it out?
By Performance Fanboi on 8/8/2011 7:11:08 PM , Rating: 1
How long will it be until companies figure out that the weakest link in the security chain is ignorant employees and hire people to educate them? People still fall for ridiculous 'wallet inspector' level ploys and just spill everything at the drop of a hat.

RE: When will they figure it out?
By borismkv on 8/8/2011 7:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
The government hires people who know people and contractors hire people with no other requirements other than that they be able to fill a seat at a desk. Both of these methods result in a far larger number of the lowest common denominator being hired.

RE: When will they figure it out?
By idiot77 on 8/8/2011 9:29:09 PM , Rating: 1
You seem to think that the elite want these jobs. They don't. Every dofus in world goes into IT now because it's the only thing left that isn't health care.

RE: When will they figure it out?
By BugblatterIII on 8/8/2011 8:17:21 PM , Rating: 3
Psychological studies have found that most people will instinctively obey someone they perceive to be in a position of authority. This instinct bypasses critical examination of the situation for many of them.

RE: When will they figure it out?
By lyeoh on 8/9/2011 11:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
1) In the bad old days not obeying authority quickly enough often got you killed or worse. I'm pretty sure this still applies in many places around the world.

2) Most people don't even critically examine situations in the first place :). Just look at the amount of stupid "chain mails" and hoaxes going around.

RE: When will they figure it out?
By Camikazi on 8/12/2011 10:11:05 AM , Rating: 2
You know I almost fell for an e-mail africa money scam once, them I realized I had a brain...

By NellyFromMA on 8/9/2011 9:17:50 AM , Rating: 2
Not far behind is the sloppy/lazy developers and IT who code or arrange networks in less than ideal ways. Can't blame the 'sheep' when you fail to lead them. Recognize your part as well and contribute towards fixing it, don't alienate the people who need educating. I hate smug.

By kattanna on 8/9/2011 10:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
People still fall for ridiculous 'wallet inspector' level ploys and just spill everything at the drop of a hat

while there are the ignorant ones, more so though.. just how many really care? if you were to ask them about their own personal info, many are not as forth coming, but those same ones will happily give up non personal business info

RE: When will they figure it out?
By L0MBARD on 8/10/2011 12:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
you can't fix stupid. . .even with good trainers.

Social Engineering
By wildcatherder on 8/8/2011 6:32:17 PM , Rating: 1
It would have been a lot clearer if the second and third paragraphs had referred directly to "social engineering" rather than my having to link out to "embarrassing incidents". All the firewalls and anti-virus software in the world will not help a company whose employees take "free advice" sight unseen.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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