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Home » Hacking News » Hackers in the office.. hey hackers need to work too

Hackers in the office.. hey hackers need to work too

by Majik on September 10th, 2001 Computer hackers come in many shades, extortion artists, corporate saboteurs, determined teenagers and legitimate IT professionals. But according to security experts at IBM, they have one thing in common: Every office has at least one.

Seizing upon the timely topic of Internet security risks, IBM this week has launched a global advertising and public relations initiative to plug its e-business security software and consulting expertise.

Business managers, concerned at the threat of attack, are fortifying their internal computer systems. Last week, a Corporation for British Industry survey revealed that two-thirds of U.K. businesses have been the victim of a serious computer-related incident, whether it be hacking, a virus attack or some form of cyber fraud.

It means that software firms and security consultancies may once again have a big market for their services.

The corporate world, however, has been faced with a precarious trade-off when it comes to IT security. Damaging corporate viruses such as the Code Red worm, which continues to replicate around the Internet unchecked, have cost industry billions of dollars in lost productivity and software upgrades, experts say.

At the same time, belt-tightening initiatives rein in the corporate budget process, crimping IT investment. IBM, for one, is hoping the fear factor will motivate purse string holders not to skimp on security initiatives.

Managers urged to be alert

At a press event in London on Thursday, IBM introduced two veteran security specialists--dubbed "ethical hackers" by the company--to discuss the fragile state of Internet security, and to get its message across that upper management has to be more involved in IT defense.

"Ultimately, security is a management issue," said James Luke, information warfare specialist with IBM Global Services in London.

Another reformed hacker, now employed by IBM as a security expert, said that the incidence rate of viruses was on the upswing-and they come from a seemingly benign source.

Novice hackers, called "Script Kiddies" in Internet parlance, "can be the most dangerous," he said. They are among the largest population of hackers, he added. Often, they are teenagers who get their kicks out of defacing or blocking access to sites by employing virus programs downloaded from the Internet.

"They know just enough to be dangerous," he said.

One famous "script kiddy" hacker was a 20 year-old Dutch man who earlier this year admitted to engineering the Anna Kournikova e-mail virus. The hoax e-mail carried an attachment that appeared to be a picture of the tennis star. Once opened, it spread around the world slowing down e-mail systems and shutting down some corporate servers.

Other virus authors, including the mastermind behind the recurring Code Red worm, go undetected. Last month, Computer Economics of Carlsbad, California, reported that the Code Red worm, which targets unfortified computer servers, did $2.6 billion in damage.

Blueyonder, a British broadband provider from Telewest Communications, continues to carry a warning on its site that the Code Red worm is affecting service performance for some of its customers.

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