The Business-Technology Weave

Oct 14 2012   1:29PM GMT

If the White House Can Be Hacked, What Hope Is There For Us?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

Business leaders with whom I speak are nervous about security.  The recent report that the White House was breached by Chinese hackers doesn’t help their nerves.  After all, the breach was characterized as a break into one of our most sensitive networks.  The network is used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands – this according to defense officials.

Many business folks think:  “If they can hack the White House, for Gosh sake, they can break us too.”

Not necessarily (and I’ll resist the temptation to evaluate government “efficiency”).  You see, this break was characterized as a “spear phishing attack.”  Spear phishing relies less on sophisticated technical hacking, than on the simple fooling of e-mail-recipients into divulging confidential information, to include login credentials.

Officials characterize these types of attacks as “not infrequent” – thus you would think that staffers and officials would exercise extreme caution before divulging sensitive information.  And yet, we know that human error and misjudgments are the larger part of breaches and loss.  But what of you – and allied business?

Reinforce caution with all employees for use of electronic enablements:  In-house systems; communications systems such as e-mail; social networks; info disseminated on blogs; live chat windows, and so forth.  Ensure that all solutions partners – Vendors, visitors, solutions partners, associates, etc., understand your security posture and policy.

Keep training efforts regularized and up-to-date.

If the White House is listening:  Please fix this fast.  A former intelligence official who is familiar with the breached office says, “This is the most sensitive office in the U.S. government.  A compromise there would cause grave strategic damage to the United States.”


Now Playing:  Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station – vinyl, Nautilus SuperDisc.  Carver C1; Carver M-500t; Thorens TD-125, Shure v15v xMR.

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