Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The hackers strike back

Hacking is back in the news. The BBC reports that hackers in the U.S. infiltrated the computer networks of several companies and stole over forty million credit and debit card numbers. What is unusual about the case is that the hackers targeted their victim's secure wireless access points, and therefore gained access to the internal network.

This case highlights the problems posed by wireless networks. We have know for a while that wi-fi is a convenient yet insecure technology, as it opens systems to any passer-by with the know-how. There is not only the problem of piggybacking, but leaving computer systems and transactions open to interception.

The law already protects such type of hacking adequately, be it through "traditional" anti-hacking legislation, or normal fraud law. The issue then becomes one of law enforcement, evidence and cyber-security. Firms with large wireless networks should be aware that it opens their systems, and therefore the security should take into account that a hacker in the parking lot may have access to sensitive files.

And to top up hacking news, the Beeb also reports also that hackers are targetting Twitter by including trojans in viral video links. As a smug Mac user, I have to point out that this vulnerability only affects Microsoft machines.

No comments: