Battling Bad Guys: Corporate Security Outlook is Tough for 2006

The last year has been one of the toughest in the history of the computer security business, and the ugliest for the companies that depend on them.

CardSystems Inc. and other financial-account managers lost information on hundreds of thousands of customers to hackers who have stopped picking at random targets and started picking the most profitable victims.

Hacker crews have also become more organized and focused on extortion as well as theft, though some, like the Shadowcrew mob, have gotten nailed in the process.

And 2006 promises to be even worse, as the volume, sophistication and targeting of attacks becomes even greater. Preparing for a disastrous new year isn’t a great way to end the old. But hacking is different from hurricanes and tsunamis, which also took their toll during 2005. With enough preparation, you can stop hackers.

Most of the time.

Story Guide:

Beware 2006: A Tough Year for Online Security: Crooks are getting smarter, attacks are getting better and 2006 is looking like it’s going to be the toughest year yet for online security.

  • Targeted Attacks: It’s not enough to pick on any company whose firewall looks weak; smart crooks are picking victims for the profit potential, not the ease of entry.
  • Shielding the Net: Potential victims are also getting more focused, individually protecting each machine authorized to link in.
  • Fallback Plan Failures: So what if someone does steal or delete important data; backup tapes will save you, right? Right?

    The 2005 Hall of Shame: 2005 was a challenging year, but for some it was downright embarrassing.

    Wireless Nets Keep Security Crews on Their Toes: Wireless nets practically beg hackers to crack them; keeping them out will be an ongoing challenge for your security experts.

    Lockheed Martin: How to Lock Down a Wireless Net: When you manufacture high-tech strike fighters, your security needs are higher than most, especially when you have to give guests access while locking out intruders.

    Despite Busts, Web Mobs Keep Growing: Every time the cops break up one mob, a smarter one pops up to take its place.

    Major Data Theft Leads to Major Legal Problems: The theft of 145,000 customer records was just the beginning of ChoicePoint’s problems.

    Forget Hackers; Watch Out for Competitors: For at least some companies, “competitive analysis” is a little more cloak-and-dagger than for others.

    Worms and Anti-Worms Get Smarter: Bots and zombies are still among the greatest dangers online, but some security gurus are getting good at squashing them.