PA’s John Skipper, information security expert, is quoted in the Financial Times, on security attacks.
John explains a tactic known as ‘pavement hacking’ where data is left on pavements on purpose for anyone to pick up and use. John explains that these types of attacks work because a surprising number of people are naïve: “They succumb to their natural curiosity to see what information is on unchecked devices.”
John talks about how many attacks on companies are unsophisticated. Referring to the time when Carnegie Mellon researches scattered memory sticks on pavements outside government offices as part of an investigation into illicit cyber activity, John explains how the findings showed low-grade action over a long time caused most damage. John goes on to say: “Simple vulnerabilities were being exploited, for example by people whose access hadn’t been revoked after being made redundant.”
John explains that an important skill to have is the ability to understand how attackers’ minds work: “You need people who can think as sneakily as the cyber criminals, and have the insight and expertise to test out their ideas.”
John goes on to say that financial institutions are seeing their security problems more clearly, however investment banking and insurance still have a long way to go to catch up with the retail sector: “Retail banks are more aware of the dangers.”
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