Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

11/2/2009
11:01 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

Hacking Is A Way Of Life

We've heard the stories and seen the statistics about insider attacks and how devastating they are to enterprises and their data. However, we've heard little about the underlying causes for many of the insider attacks other than it's the user's fault and the incident could have been avoided if proper precautions were in place. A recent article over at CSO Online sheds light on one of the causes and how it's due in large part to a generation gap and a need to stay connected.

We've heard the stories and seen the statistics about insider attacks and how devastating they are to enterprises and their data. However, we've heard little about the underlying causes for many of the insider attacks other than it's the user's fault and the incident could have been avoided if proper precautions were in place. A recent article over at CSO Online sheds light on one of the causes and how it's due in large part to a generation gap and a need to stay connected.Jim Routh and Gary McGraw have put together an interesting article, "Lifestyle Hackers," that looks at how insider breaches are being caused by members of the Net Generation who have grown up with the Internet at their fingertips. These lifestyle hackers are "twenty-somethings" circumventing security controls so they can listen to streaming media and stay connected to their friends via social networks while at work.

But it's not just friends that the lifestyle hackers want to stay in touch with. Social networking sites provide opportunities for not just personal contact, but also professional and marketing contacts that might not be as easily accessible otherwise.

I think the authors summed up the problem best with the following statement: "The most interesting and ironic aspect of the lifestyle hacker is that he is motivated by the pursuit of productivity, often the very same motivation driving the implementation of various corporate controls."

I've heard vendors make statements that users will circumvent security controls in order to get their job done because waiting for IT to fix their access issues takes too long and often results in more problems. This article is the first time I've heard it stated that users are circumventing controls to be more productive by using the very Websites that management considers unproductive.

The article struck a chord in me because I'm caught right in the middle of the gap. On one hand, I'm a security geek who understands the usefulness of social networking and uses several related sites on a daily basis. On the other hand, I see the results of irresponsible and uneducated usage of those networks every day.

Is there a happy medium? I think so, but it's not going to come all that quickly, especially to old school brick and mortar institutions that don't understand the benefits of social networks, and instead choose to only see it as a productivity killer. The authors offered up a several solid suggestions on how companies can approach the issues and address risks, but I think they left out one critical point to success--education of executives.

If the executives don't understand the benefits, how they can leverage social networking to their companies benefit, and work with IT to develop policies for a safe and productive environment, they will fail to keep the lifestyle hackers happy. It's a fascinating dilemma and will be interesting to see how it plays out for companies.

John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RDP Bug Takes New Approach to Host Compromise
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/18/2019
The Problem with Proprietary Testing: NSS Labs vs. CrowdStrike
Brian Monkman, Executive Director at NetSecOPEN,  7/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-10101
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
ServiceStack ServiceStack Framework 4.5.14 is affected by: Cross Site Scripting (XSS). The impact is: JavaScrpit is reflected in the server response, hence executed by the browser. The component is: the query used in the GET request is prone. The attack vector is: Since there is no server-side valid...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
Voice Builder Prior to commit c145d4604df67e6fc625992412eef0bf9a85e26b and f6660e6d8f0d1d931359d591dbdec580fef36d36 is affected by: CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection'). The impact is: Remote code execution with the same privileges as the...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
Jeesite 1.2.7 is affected by: SQL Injection. The impact is: sensitive information disclosure. The component is: updateProcInsIdByBusinessId() function in src/main/java/com.thinkgem.jeesite/modules/act/ActDao.java has SQL Injection vulnerability. The attack vector is: network connectivity,authenticat...
CVE-2018-18670
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
GNUBOARD5 5.3.1.9 has XSS that allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the "Extra Contents" parameter, aka the adm/config_form_update.php cf_1~10 parameter.
CVE-2018-18672
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-23
GNUBOARD5 5.3.1.9 has XSS that allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the "board head contents" parameter, aka the adm/board_form_update.php bo_content_head parameter.