Following recent attacks by hacktivist group Anonymous on various government websites, the Department of Energy has reported that it too has been hacked, and personal information on hundreds of its employees has been compromised. The DOE has been relatively tight-lipped about the breach, and it’s not immediately clear whether this may be related to Anonymous’s current campaign “Operation Last Resort” which aims to reform computer criminal laws in the wake of internet celebrity Aaron Swartz’s suicide. In the case of the Anonymous-led attacks, various government websites have been completely taken over by hackers and used to post derogatory videogame parodies and login credentials for hundreds of banking executives.
What this means for you:
The gloomiest of the doomsayers are saying that in the near future, there will be only 2 types of businesses: “Businesses that have been hacked, and ones that don’t know that they’ve been hacked.” We’re not there yet, but some analysts believe we’ve hit an inflection point in cyber security where the criminals are now ahead of the business world in terms of sophistication and advantage. If the above is any indication, many government institutions are probably even further behind businesses in terms of security. Does that mean it’s time to pack up all that technology and return to paper ledgers, brick and mortar storefronts and hand-written checks? Not yet, but the businesses that take an aggressive stance towards tightening up their ships will stay well ahead of the competition, especially when those looser ships start to spring cyber-leaks.
What’s the first step? Find out if you have an information security policy. If so, make sure it’s being enforced. If not, call me right away to start talking about how to get your company’s technology battened down for the coming storm.