Seduced and Hacked

Hacking teams around the world are employing incredibly sophisticated tactics that are now Face to Face.–PC Pitstop

Seduced and Hacked

By Stu Sjouwerman, for Security Awareness Training

Credit card numbers are small potatoes.

Big-time computer hackers are after proprietary information: source code, pharmaceutical research, legal documents, chemical formulas, blueprints, product designs and other trade secrets that can be sold on the black market for huge profits.

The tactics hackers are using to sneak into business and government networks should curl the hair of any business leader. A few months back, Symantec released a disturbing report on “Butterfly,” a mysterious and sophisticated group of hackers that it described as “highly capable, professional attackers who perform corporate espionage with a laser-like focus on operational security. The team is a major threat to organizations that have large volumes of proprietary intellectual property, all of which is at risk of being stolen by this group for monetary gain.”

Last week, Ron Taton, president of Cleveland-based IntelliNet Corp., told me about a real-life incident he’d learned about from a security-software vendor. Here’s a version of how it went down, and it’s right out of a spy novel:

You’re a chemical engineer at a large company that’s working on something special, let’s say new battery technology that will triple the range of electric cars. It could mean billions in revenue and freedom from Mideast oil.

You’re proud of your work — you should be — and you include your employer info on your Facebook page. And like most guys (yes, it’s a man in this example), you’re competitive, so you make sure to post photos and updates from your victories at Tuesday night trivia at the local sports bar.

One night, as you wait for a pitcher to be filled at the bar, a beautiful woman two stools down says hello. You look to the left, then the right and realize she is talking to you. You say hello back, and a conversation begins.

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