Sunday, March 9, 2008

Are Hackers Good or Evil?

As always, news seems to filter in a little more slowly on the weekends when it comes to sites like Digg and Reddit. The majority of the news stories are from the major classic news sites like CNN and MSNBC. It makes sense right? People are enjoying time with their families, working out, watching a sporting event, reading a book, anything. They are simply decompressing from the previous week and re-energizing for the upcoming week that seems to move in too fast!

Well one of the major news site stories yesterday caught my eye. The reason it did so was the due to the way it was written and what it was written about. The story came from and it was about a small group of hackers from China (also known as "crackers" for their ability to crack programming languages and code) who were making a bold statement by supposedly infiltrating several very secure mainframes and databases in the U.S., Germany, Britain and France.

Reports keep filing in that the a surprising amount of information has been lost or corrupt since several hits on the Pentagon last year. Now we come find that these hits aren't coming from one single hacker or a massive group of hackers, but rather a couple of young guys sitting in their apartment in China or any number of smaller hacking "units."

But the real question is: IS THIS A BAD THING?

This group of hackers has found "backdoors" and "loopholes" in government and private company firewalls and have been able to access this with little to no formal training. They simply know how a website works, how to do some simple coding for a vast number of program languages and that's it.

This should be the number one indicator for Fortune 500 companies and governments alike; YOUR SECURITY ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH!

So why not use this information and start working with the issue. If these guys can break what you spend millions of dollars on to sleep at night, you better start losing some sleep because they will keep breaking it until you fix. They are handing you opportunities left and right and you better be grabbing them now.

My suggestions:

#1. Take sensitive data offline. The last time I checked, I can't say that I've ever heard of anyone walking about the "TOP SECRET" basement at Langley or the White House with a cart full of files and never returning. (This is similar to the Windows notice this week about not putting a password on your machine to ensure no one hacks you.)

#2. You thought you had the "best" working for you; well you just found out you DON'T! These guys are doing this from their apartment for enjoyment and to make a name for themselves. Why not? I'm pretty if anyone could do it and get away with like they are, everyone would do it! I would!

#3. Take advantage and use common sense. These guys are doing that. They are thinking and behaving like anyone with some basic logical thinking capabilities would do.

I didn't view this article as something to be scared off, but rather as a great warning to the governments of the world, Fortune 500 companies and anyone with a website or blog.

Secure yourself online. Take the appropriate measures to make sure you aren't embarrassed. Be smart. Use common sense. No one is completely anonymous.

Think about it!

Have a great day!

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