The Enemy Within The Firewall

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


I’ve seen similar figures from other organisations and countries, so the stats don’t surprise me.

My peers and I have always called this Armadillo security, hard on the outside, soft on the inside.

Firewall, IDS, etc…all protecting the exterior of the network, only edge devices, nothing inside, not much policies, not much privilege segregation, anyone inside can wreak havoc.

Employees are now regarded as a greater danger to workplace cyber security than the gangs of hackers and virus writers launching targeted attacks from outside the firewall.

That is the perception of 75 per cent of Australian information technology managers who took part in an international IBM security survey.

Also e-mail and instant messaging is becoming increasingly pervasive, with the advent of things like Google Talk capabilities in the GMail interface, sending information outside the protective layer of the company is getting easier and easier.

From my professional experience, I do know some companies have extremely strict standards which are audited regularly (these include rules about removable media, BIOS passwords and OS hardening standards).

While 32 per cent of survey respondents were intent on upgrading firewalls, only 15 per cent planned to invest in awareness and education training for employees and only 10 per cent restricted the use of mobile devices such as wireless handheld computers not specifically sanctioned by the IT staff.

“Organisations need to understand what are the key pieces of information that need to be protected and be able to track who has had access to them,” she said.

Sounds normal, good intent, but no action. Time for companies to sort themselves out I think.

A recent security report from antivirus company Symantec said cybercrime represented today’s greatest threat to consumers’ digital lifestyle and to online businesses in general.

“While past attacks were designed to destroy data, today’s attacks are increasingly designed to silently steal data for profit without doing noticeable damage that would alert a user to its presence,” the company said.

Source: The Age

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