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Seattle Businesses hacked because of inadequate protection

 Network SecurityRecently, the wireless networks of  53 Seattle businesses were infiltrated by three hackers using a variety of methods ranging from techniques like wardriving ( actually going around scouting out wireless networks with weak security) to physically breaking into some of the businesses and stealing computer equipment and using it to gain access into the networks and collect data. Most of these businesses have one thing in common that made them attractive targets for these thieves, inadequate security in their network and infrastructure.

The thieves hacked e-mail servers and other equipment, and used it to infiltrate deeper into the networks to collect data and even monitor these businesses as they tried to respond the security breaches. They even monitored communications between the businesses and law enforcement during ongoing investigations. While it sounds like these thieves may have been sophisticated in their methods of infiltrating the businesses networks, the methods themselves were not that sophisticated.  These thefts were basically crimes of opportunity.  These thieves set out to find businesses with vulnerable networks and weak infrastructure security, and they found plenty to feast on.

What I don’t understand is why businesses don’t take steps to protect their infrastructure. It’s not that it is expensive to implement. Most wireless routers these days have adequate WPA or WPA2 encryption built into the equipment, and it takes just a few minutes to implement.  Mobile equipment such as laptops and netbooks can be easily encrypted. I especially like the idea of implementing pre-boot encryption because it means that there is no way to access any of the data on a hard drive unless you enter a correct user name and password before the computer even boots. The entire hard drive, operating system included, is encrypted. Many mobile phones have built-in security features like encryption and locked, and some even have the ability to delete any data on the phone and render the device worthless with a simple command.  It’s not difficult to secure data and infrastructure, so why is it that so many businesses don’t implement adequate security measures?

My personal thought is that businesses don’t protect their infrastructure; they are setting themselves up for disaster.  They are putting their customer’s at risk too.  In my experience providing technical services for companies of various industries, including medical, legal, and financial industries, security generally does not get due respect. Implementing adequate network security looked upon as being a pain and an expense.  In the case of these 53 Seattle businesses, the lack of adequate network and infrastructure security was exactly the reason these businesses were targeted.

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