I hope no one is actually shocked by this story. Records are stolen everyday. Typically, the hackers will sell the information in the underground somewhere is Eastern Europe or Asia. The fact that someone is asking for ransom, and so publicly it actually a good thing in my opinion. Why is it good you ask? (I assume you are asking that, vulcan mind meld and all that..) Maybe the industry (meaning all industries) need a sensational story to get real change in their IT Security environments.

When the Heartland data breach happened, it was interesting but the general public didnt find it sexy enough. A ransom note, publicly done makes for good drama. Equate it to the Somali pirates. They really broke in the news because of the weapons they captured. This might be the “weapons” story that gets the general public asking about security of the places they use on the Internet.

Identity theft is on the rise. Most companies never do a web application security assessment. They almost never do a database security review. If the hacker can break in through your web portal but your database of customer data is encrypted, well your last line of defense can save your hide.

So what are some things you can do to protect your website?

1) Conduct a web application security assessment. You should probably do this twice a year or anytime you make any significant changes to the application.

2) Conduct an architecture review. If your network architecture has holes in it, a hacker can find away around the application and perhaps get to the data through a different port.

3) Conduct a host security diagnostic review. If the hacker can get on the system and take advantage of an operating system weakness, you will still be compromised

4) Conduct a database security review. Your last line of defense, make sure the data in encrypted, access is completely authenticated and IDS on the database to flag and stop inappropriate access

5) Hire someone smart to do your security assessment.

Gary Bahadur




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The Channel Wire
May 06, 2009