infoTECH Feature

August 08, 2011

Big Corporation Workers are Poorly Trained in Cyber Security, say Hackers

From Sony Corp. to the International Monetary Fund, big corporation have been targets of cyber attack by hackers lately. And the assaults continue despite warnings. One major factor contributing to this increase in cyber attack across the corporate world is lack of training in security. According to a report in International multimedia news agency Reuters (News - Alert), hackers participating in a contest last weekend in Las Vegas revealed that corporate workers are poorly trained in security.

By now, one would think that large companies must have learned their lessons and must be paying more attention to cyber security, wrote Reuters reporter Jim Finkle, But, in reality, that is not the case, wrote Finkle. Hackers taking part in a DEF CON competition in Las Vegas demonstrated that it was so easy to trick employees at some of the largest U.S. companies to get information that could be used in planning the cyber attack against the company, reported Finkle.

For instance, as per this report, in one case, a contestant was able to easily collect an employee’s PC configuration data by pretending to work for the company's IT department. This sort of data could enable a criminal hacker to determine what malware type would be effective in an attack on this company’s website, wrote Finkle.

“For me it was a scary call because she was so willing to comply,” Chris Hadnagy, one of the organizers of the contest at the DEF CON conference, told Reuters. “A lot of this could facilitate serious attacks if used by the right people,” Hadnagy added.

According to Reuters, DEF CON is organized by good hackers who are interested in raising awareness and promoting research on security vulnerabilities. In fact, this contest was sponsored by so-called white-hat hackers who want to show corporations how vulnerable they are and that these companies must educate their employees about the risks of hacking, wrote Finkle.

According to Hadnagy, the company whose employees handed over the most data was Oracle (News - Alert) Corp., one of the world's largest software makers. The company spokesperson declined to comment on this issue, Reuters wrote. During the contest, other targets included Apple, AT&T (News - Alert), ConAgra Foods, Delta Airlines, Symantec, Sysco, United Continental Holdings Inc.'s United Airlines and Verizon Communications.

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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