The Open Internet’s Growing Security Problem — Part V in a Series

March 26, 2009

Evidence continues to mount that the real problem on the Internet is that it is not as safe and secure as it needs to be — not that it is not open enough. (Parts: I, II, III, IV)

“Cyber Security: The Achilles Heel of U.S. Might?” Washington Post

  • “…the fact that the nation’s cyber vulnerabilities continue to grow, and fast.”
  • “Both the high-profile attacks and more routine infiltrations have shed light on the vulnerability of critical information infrastructures. For example, the Defense Science Board noted that the U.S. military’s information infrastructure is the “Achilles’ heel of our otherwise overwhelming military might.”

“Smart Grid May be Vulnerable to Hackers” CNN

  • A hacker also might be able to dramatically increase or decrease the demand for power, disrupting the load balance on the local power grid and causing a blackout. These experts said such a localized power outage would cascade to other parts of the grid, expanding the blackout.”

‘Website-infecting SQL injection hitting 450,000 a day” USA Today

  • Click on one and you won’t notice anything. Your PC gets turned into an obedient “bot,” short for robot, deployed to attack other computers. All of your sensitive data get stolen.”

“Beware New Malware in Web Apps” PC World

“Children Have Little Understanding of Internet Security” Security Park

  • ““A large percentage of children are using a shared computer for downloading music, using P2P software or chatting using Instant Messaging, whilst their parents are using it for emailing, online shopping, banking or completing corporate activities. This places parents at high risk of being exposed to a whole array of viruses, scams and Trojans that may have been introduced to the home computer through their children’s seemingly harmless activities on the net.”

“35% of infected PCs had up to date anti-virus software” Windows IT Pro

  • How does that happen? The obvious answer is that the anti-malware software in use on the infected computers isn’t adequate.”

“Securing Cyber Space Requires a New Attitude” Government Computer News

  • “…possibility of inappropriate military retaliation — with either cyber or physical weapons — for a perceived cyberattack will make cyberspace and the real world much more dangerous than they need to be.”

“White House Helicopter Data found on Iranian Computer” Reuters

  • This is like a stolen laptop times a million,” Tagliaferri said, noting that data breaches through file sharing networks were growing increasingly more common as more people shared electronic versions of movies and music. Hackers and criminals are becoming more savvy in pinpointing such files, he said.”

“Winning the hidden war” Washington Times

  • Unfortunately, this interconnectedness also has led to an increased dependence on the Internet, and thus, increased vulnerability for individuals and for our country’s cyber-security. This increased exposure has been accompanied by real and growing threats from basement hackers stealing credit card and Social Security numbers to cyber-terrorists shutting down our nation’s power grid, to hostile foreign governments invading our military’s defense networks.”

“Surprisingly low number of people are aware of Internet security risks of poor password protection” ChattahBox

  • According to a survey done on Internet users, only 19% use different passwords for different sites.”

“Rogue application exploits Facebook’s TOS to target its users” SpamFighter

  • Security experts state that the problems’ principal cause is that the site allows any visitor to develop an application and because of this, malicious programs repeatedly pop-up on Facebook.”

“The Pirate’s First Mate” ESET

  • When it comes to software piracy, it is hard to find a more complicit, competent, and friendlier ally than Google, assuming you are a pirate. Google owns the popular blogging site “Blogspot.com”. If you want to know how to illegally gain access to software, blogspot is probably one of the premier resources on the internet today.”

IRS improves cyber-security, but still vulnerable to malware” NextGov

  • The Internal Revenue Service has improved its protection of computer networks from malicious software attacks, but it has failed to scan computers for viruses and to enforce security policies, which put taxpayer data at risk, according to a report the IRS inspector general released on Monday.”

“How to be a safe WiFi warrior” CNNMoney

  • You’re insecure if you’re on any publicly available network,” says Ken Silva, chief technology officer at Internet security firm VeriSign (VRSN). Silva adds that basic measures, like installing a firewall and antivirus software, are no longer enough to protect your data.”

TRUSTe consumer survey:

  • Six percent of respondents reported having their identity stolen in the last year
  • One in ten (11%) experienced credit card theft in the last twelve months
  • Thirteen percent reported unauthorized sharing of highly sensitive personal information, such as health and financial records over the last year.”

Internet safety/security issues are only growing in number and seriousness; it is the real Internet problem warranting most attention.

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