Risk
7/15/2009
10:07 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
50%
50%

Will Unemployed IT Workers Turn To Cybercrime?

A weak IT market may create a boom in IT-trained criminals, a report from Cisco suggests.

A weak IT market may create a boom in IT-trained criminals, a report from Cisco suggests.Cisco's midyear security report, summarized here yesterday includes plenty of solid information and insight concerning the variety of threats we and our systems face.

And the report suggests as well that ranking high among those threats is the current sluggish nature of the economy in general and IT employment prospects in particular.

In short, IT staff, current, former and unemployed may have precisely the skills needed to make it in the one IT area that's booming: cybercrime.

I've railed here before about the challenges of keeping your guard up in terms of your IT staff without creating an atmosphere of distrust. This is one of those managerial balancing acts that far more easily railed about than implemented, but it's no less important for that.

Knowing who you trust, and who you can trust with the keys to your business's information -- which almost undoubtedly includes customer and vendor information as well -- is among the largest security challenges any business faces. And it is probably the largest of your security responsibilities.

Certainly when employees -- IT or otherwise -- are terminated for any reason, there are large and immediate security measures to be taken.

And Cisco is absolutely right on target in pointing out that [security]"contractors or other third parties... pose a very serious threat, as they know how to exploit an organization's weaknesses, security policies, and technologies to steal data, intellectual property, or money -- or simply, disrupt operations."

Therein, I think, lies one of the report's largest and most critical warnings. You're aware of the nature and trustworthiness of existing IT staff. You've taken precautions to prevent former employees from coming back to haunt (or worse) your systems.

But, particularly in lean times when considering outsourcing security or other IT functions that involve security access, you have to raise the bar for access, and keep it raised.

Outsider threats are magnified when you invite outsiders into your organization: Thorough, ongoing background and reference checks, performance -- and procedural -- monitoring for any unnecessary, unseemly or out-of-the ordinary access or use of company systems and information are mandatory when using IT contractors.

And that's as true in good times as in tough ones.

The complete Cisco 2009 Midyear Security is here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.