TECHNICALITIES

Hacker nation

President Barack Obama has ordered an immediate review of the country's state of cybersecurity — and not a minute too soon. We are becoming a nation of hackers and hackees. It seems that if you’re not one, you’re the other.

Coinciding with the administration’s announcement was some news that is becoming all too routine. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that one of its servers had been hacked, and someone stole employees’ personal information. Meanwhile, PandaLabs warned that cyber criminals were setting traps on news-sharing site Digg.

But more worrisome news came from the Romania-based HackersBlog, where hackers reported that within a week they had broken into Web sites run by Kaspersky Security, F-Secure and BitDefender. Yes, those are Internet security companies, the folks who know what they’re doing. Yet hackers found that the sites were vulnerable to SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

Apologies were made, patches were applied, and everyone was assured that no sensitive data had been stolen. Nevertheless, when hackers can catch even the security forces with their guard down, it should serve as a warning to agencies that are increasingly conducting business on the Web.

Obama’s cybersecurity review is a good idea, and whatever national or international policy that results could help. But security is also a neighborhood thing. Check all your doors and windows.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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