Battling the Bad Guys: 2005 Was a Tough Year

By Jay Blickstein  |  Posted 2005-12-13 Print this article Print

With all of the bad guys out there, protecting your data and networks isn't getting easier.

In the annals of information-technology security, 2005 will go down as a year in which threats to corporate data systems reached new levels of sophistication and effectiveness.

Some companies stepped up their security protection to counter this wave of intrusions. Others, however, fell down on the job and left their companies open to worms, viruses and hackers—as well as lawsuits and increased government regulations.

During the past 12 months, technology executives had to deal with threats such as bots, Trojan horses, gangs of unseen cybercriminals, and savvy teenagers—all bent on bring down the biggest networks they could find. Security breaches and foul-ups cost companies an estimated $130 million in 2005, according to the annual Computer Security Institute/FBI survey.

And protecting data networks isn't going to get any easier.

The popularity of wireless networks is burgeoning; worldwide shipments of wireless hardware, for instance, have more than tripled in the past three years, according to Infonetics Research. Wireless systems give staffers unprecedented mobility, allowing them to work where physical networking is impossible or cost-prohibitive. The bad news: Wireless systems, because they send data through the airwaves instead of wires, are even more vulnerable to attack than their tethered counterparts.

In short, it's a jungle out there. That's why we put together this special report on corporate security: to help you focus on the landscape of security threats as it now stands, and to help your company come up with countermeasures as we head into the new year.

Baseline's technology editor, David F. Carr, starts off with a roundup of security headaches, and offers a six-point game plan for keeping data safe and clean in 2006 (Hack to the Future,).

We also present an examination of the past year's biggest threats, including updates of our cover stories on Web mobs, corporate spies and data compiler ChoicePoint's exposure of more than 162,000 data files. The stories come with advice from experts to help your company avoid these security minefields. Finishing off the section is the Baseline Hall of Shame, a compendium of the year's worst information breaches and snafus, compiled by Larry Dignan. Your next project: make sure your company stays off this list.

We also address the wireless-security dilemma with its own eight-page section (Danger in the Airwaves).

Senior editor Todd Spangler surveys the field and lets you know just where to put your wireless-defense dollars. One of the centerpieces of this issue is a case study showing how Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics division set up an airtight wireless-security system—and when your company builds jet fighters for the military, you have a right to be paranoid.

There's lots more valuable material as well, all designed to help you keep your balance in the fight against the bad guys in cyberspace. When it comes to exerting effort in the name of data security, too much ain't enough. Jay Blickstein


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.