With so many recent hacking attacks, how safe is our IT security?

With so many recent hacking attacks, how safe is our IT security?

Hacking and Hacking Countermeasures

As computers become more and more important in modern societies, so too has the need to protect them against outside and unwarranted intrusion. A number of recent events such as the attacks on the ASIO website and the 2011 break-in at Distribute.IT have brought home the urgency of the need to secure their websites for Australians. But given how even large and sophisticated organizations such as those aforementioned had their systems compromised, it is understandable that average Australians are troubled by the question of how much their IT security can truly help in the event of a hacking attempt.

How Effective Are Hacking Countermeasures Against Hackers?

Before examining the effectiveness of countermeasures used to protect against hackers, it is important to understand that most hackers are opportunistic. Generally, hackers tend to go after sites and systems possessing glaring vulnerabilities because the pay off-to-effort ratio is that much higher. In contrast, most hackers avoid attacking protected systems which are unlikely to yield any rewards for their efforts. As a result, the most effective countermeasures focus on avoiding preventable mistakes. For example, setting strong passwords for administrative permissions, avoiding exploitable errors in coding, physically securing important information and reminding users to practice caution are all common measures used to ensure that hackers cannot gain easy access.

However, such sensible solutions are not always enough. For example, hackers who are going after a site and system because of objections to the owner organization’s stances and policies are less likely to be deterred by countermeasures that make hacking in harder. For these individuals, organizations might need to implement more serious countermeasures such as hiring IT personnel to monitor their security on a daily basis and even isolating their most important systems from the Internet.

How CEH Can Help

Of course, one of the best ways to check the effectiveness of hacking countermeasures is to hire the service of a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) to put those countermeasures to the test. As the name indicates, a CEH uses the same methods as other hackers to gain access to sites and systems, but do so with the owners’ permission as a means of proofing. By doing so, a CEH can help reveal security problems that can be patched up to improve security.

Given the increasing importance of system security in a modern world, the
demand for CEHs is also increasing. Courses that train individuals to become CEHs are gaining popularity both in Australia and abroad, providing an excellent return on investment for IT professionals and businesses.

References:

http://www.biztechreport.com/story/1560-opportunistic-hackers

http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/computer-networking-network-security-hacking/1529-1.htm

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About the Author

Mansoor Walli

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