The Cautionary Tale of Cyber Attacks Continues

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Mon, 04 Feb 2013 09:00:00 GMT

Another chapter in the cautionary tale of cyber security vulnerabilities opens this week with the hacking of two major US newspapers – the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The lead article in the Wednesday, January 30 issue of the New York Times covers the attempts and methods used by the Chinese military to hack into the their network. Reportedly, the Chinese military’s primary motive was to uncover the sources of an October article reporting on the wealth accumulated by relatives of China’s premier, Wen Jiabao.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal also experienced hacks with connections to the Chinese government. The Journal reports that the Chinese’s intention also was to monitor coverage of China in their newspaper and to trace the sources of that information. 

Products that feature secure remote access, strong encryption and reliable authentication methods may seem like an adequate solution for a company with vulnerable networks. However, the New York Times states that their own anti-virus capabilities did not dodge the attacks.  Furthermore, these espionages exemplify the vulnerability of networks and the necessity of comprehensive security measures to prevent attacks. 

In a ZDnet article covering hacker expertise, Hewlett Packard’s SVP of enterprise security products, Art Gilliland, explains the power of knowing a hacker’s next step and disrupting it rather than solely using security software to identify attacks. “This is a game of risk management,” Gilliland stated. “Companies need to be able to see and understand their exposure potential and prioritize what they respond to.” The New York Time’s security team followed a similar strategy by surreptitiously monitoring the moves of the hackers in order to determine more adequate defenses against them. Before the hackers could do any serious damage, the Time’s security expert team blocked the hackers from breaking back in.

Because hacks are inevitable, expansion of security policies and experienced security teams are necessary to prevent future opportunities for hackers. However, many companies do not have the budget or experience to create a team with a sophisticated attack strategy. This is when organizations that monitor cyber attacks may need to be brought in.

Has your business been a victim of cyber attacks? If so, did you have security technologies in place that allowed you to identify and thwart the attacks? How well did they work? Contemplate these questions now to prepare you for the very real risk of an attack in the future.

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