Hackers from around the world descended on Las Vegas in July to uncover the latest scams criminals are using to take advantage of businesses. With so much of our online lives vulnerable to hacker attacks, understanding the need for business network security is now more important than ever. Criminals are always finding new ways to spy on Internet users even if they are using secure connections to banks, online retailers and other sensitive websites.
In July, at the Black Hat technical security conference in Las Vegas, researchers demonstrated hacks against automated teller machines that made them give out dozens of bills. In one of the attacks, the researcher was able to reprogram the ATM remotely over a network without ever touching the machine.
Also taking place last month in Las Vegas was the DEF CON hacking conference, where hackers were able to trick random employees at 10 major U.S. tech, oil, and retail companies into giving them sensitive information over the phone that could be used in targeted computer attacks on the companies. This type of hacking technique is known as social engineering that involves simply tricking people into offering up sensitive information, rather than breaking into computer systems to get at such data.
Businesses put a lot of emphasis on buying security software and building technological defenses for their information, but they ignore the most basic element: the people who work for them. Social engineering exploits this basic vulnerability.
Demonstrations such as the ones that took place during Black Hat and DEF CON are done by professionals to bring awareness to the situation and to get people to look more closely at the security of systems that are presumed to be impenetrable.
As soon as system vulnerabilities are discovered, new security patches are installed, updating the system against the same attacks in the future. However, hackers are always at work looking for new ways to access sensitive information to exploit for gain. Network security engineers work around the clock to prevent attacks and quickly correct security flaws.
For companies that engage in electronic commerce, great care needs to be taken to keep customer information secure so those customers will continue to feel that is it safe to do business with that company. With new network attacks being discovered and released all the time, businesses need to be vigilant and make ongoing investments into securing their network and data.
In business, it’s best to take a look at network security from many different angles in order to identify, evaluate and mitigate risk. By employing IT best practices, investing in IT infrastructure and educating employees about security issues, companies will greatly reduce network security risks. As with most things, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.