Companies are faced with numerous challenges to protect the infrastructure Network environments are complex and can include bring your own device, bring your own application, Cloud computing, virtualization, social media and a new technology that is added to the mix on a daily basis.
Coupled with the challenges cyber threats are becoming more aggressive, complex and sophisticated Attackers range from the disgruntled employee, to crime rings and nation states.
The attacks can include cyber crime, hactivism and espionage Every organization and government is a potential target including Sony, Fox, Lockheed Martin, law enforcement, Target and many others.
The attacks are highly organized by skilled and motivated players and have resulted in massive amounts of sensitive data such as credit cards, medical data, intellectual property, passwords, and state secrets being exposed The increased complexity of current cyber attacks correlates to the shift towards more aggressive and coordinated mechanisms.
In addition the attacker profile has changed.
Reported hacking activity began as early as 1971 when John Draper also known as Captain Crunch developed blue box phone phreaking which is achieved by using frequencies or tones to manipulate telephone switching hardware in order to make phone calls.
In the 1980s, an old school hacking group called the PHIRM was founded and published guides related to breaching systems and obtaining information In March 1986, Dark Creaper of the PHIRM wrote How to Get Anything on Anybody And in 1989, he published a guide hacking Bank of America's home banking system The escalation and hacking activity brought a lot of scrutiny, farewell arrests, which led to the group's disbanding.
In 1988, graduate student Robert Morris of Cornell University launched a worm on the fledging ARPANET which is a precursor to the internet.
Morris managed to take down about 6000 network government and university systems.
Morris was discharged from Cornell, served three years probation, and was fined $10,000 Soon afterward, cybercrime began to intensify.
The computer emergency response team or CERT is created by DARPA to dress network security.
And congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1989 making it a crime to break into computer systems The first DEF CON conference took place in Las Vegas in 1993 right after the internet became public And the first conference was meant to be a party to say goodbye to hackers and freakers bulletin board systems or BBS But the gathering was so popular, it is now an annual event.
In May 2000 the I Love You virus or Love Bug infected millions of computers around the world within hours of its release.
The virus was sent as an email attachment with I Love You in a subject line.
When opened, the message was resent to everyone in the recipients Microsoft Outlook address book.
In addition, the Love Bug ate through every PNG,MP3, and other files on the recipient's hard disk And it's considered to be one of the most destructive worms in history After the attacks on 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created and is responsible for protecting the United States IT infrastructure.
One of the key components is the EINSTEIN program.
An intrusion detection system that monitors the internet for unauthorized traffic You can find out more about the EINSTEIN system on the Department of Homeland Security's website Despite the popularity of firewalls, intrusion detection systems, anti-malware and layered security technologies attackers are able to penetrate our fragile data with the scale of a surgeon's blade.
Companies fall victim to attacks for a number of reasons.
Mostly do vulnerabilities which include configuration errors, unpatched systems human error or software flaws.
Companies are hyper vigilant and recognize the importance of human expertise in a complex security architecture As a result, organizations need to continually assess the security measures in place in order to defend against ongoing threats Ethical hacking is an important element of a comprehensive security plan.
As ethical hacking provides a mechanism to test the computer system or a network with a purpose of locating vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited so they can be addressed.