Monday, November 16, 2009

Why cyber attacks could become the ultimate disaster

If you love disaster films, John Cusack's latest offering, 2012, is a film that should create a lot of nightmares. However, Hollywood still hasn't addressed a bigger disaster -- the loss of cyber communications.
A Washington Post article, published on the front page of the Express News, documented the potential by Chinese hackers to attack our system.
"I believe that the security industry overall needs to evolve. For years we've had a system based on they knock our wall down, we build a bigger (or more complicated) wall to replace it. Advances in preemptive technologies, and real-time analytics are prerequisites for solving some of the issues we face in cyber-security," said William Hurley, a security and tech analyst .
The move of the Air Force's 24th Air Force demonstrates our government's commitment to protect our information resources and consolidate most of the executive resources to protect our computer systems. And, if you hear a Rotary Club or chamber of commerce speech from the senior leadership at 24th Air Force, I would bet they would mention the threat of cyber attacks from China as a strong possibility.
Yet, cyber attacks will continue to evolve and improve, according to Hurley, a technology leader, who has hacked into a lot of businesses to test their security capabilities.
To test a leading casino in Las Vegas, Hurley, who is known as "whurley" in Austin and online, bought a polo shirt and pants that matched the uniform of the information security department. Noting that the computer protection staff had badges, whurley told one of his client's employees that he lost his badge to get access to the computer hub. With the borrowed ID, whurley was able to gain full access to all the data and the systems.
Bryan Guinn, the president of Prism Technology as well as a client of mine, said he has been able to get into areas storing computer data just by giving the appearance that he was fixing a computer. Guinn said it's rare when someone challenges him when he or one of his repair professionals report to a customer's location to fix a technical issue.
To offset a cyber attack, Guinn said he recommends backing up data every day. He also suggests that businesses adopt policies. For example, a business should tell employees to order products online from a trusted site that uses a Secure Sockets Layer. In many cases,hackers will create a web site that looks like a legitimate site and steal computer card data. As well, hackers will host viruses that will infect their computers as well as spreading them to other systems.
Successful businesses will follow good security practices to mitigate the potential of disaster from a cyber attack. Having excellent training and processes in place can help a firm lower their losses in the event of an attack on their computers.

No comments: