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Black Hat Conference: Hackers Hacked At Hacker-Hacking Journalists

This year's Black Hat conference made more than the usual "Hackers Gather" headlines when three journalists were expelled for allegedly sniffing the digital trails of other media representatives covering the conference. That they did so via a wired rather than wireless connection is a reminder that nothing's as secure as we think it might be -- even at a security conference.
This year's Black Hat conference made more than the usual "Hackers Gather" headlines when three journalists were expelled for allegedly sniffing the digital trails of other media representatives covering the conference. That they did so via a wired rather than wireless connection is a reminder that nothing's as secure as we think it might be -- even at a security conference.The journalists are alleged to have tapped the conference's media network by way of the simplest of all approaches: they just plugged into an open port.

Wherever you stand on the hack -- plenty of people think the conference organizers were hypocritical for objecting to the kind of behavior Black Hat exists to celebrate, while others think the journalists should be sued -- the issue of unsecured ports is the key here.

More than one news report pointed out that Black Hat's wireless public network was actually more secure than the private, wired one in the press room, a fact that flies in the face of common assumptions.

But all it takes is a single unsecured port inside your network to provide access to your network's contents.

Just ask the journalists booted from Black Hat.

But before you do that, ask yourself how many access ports your wired network has -- and how many of them are open, unsecured and vulnerable.

If the answer is one or more, it's one or more too many.

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