Telecom Timeout

Feb 4 2011   4:26PM GMT

What George Clooney and telecom security have in common

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

A hacker is no longer just a grungy guy in his mom’s basement who takes down websites to impress his friends. Cybercrime has become more like Ocean’s Eleven — organized, sophisticated and money-hungry crooks going after high-profile targets. They probably don’t all look like George Clooney and Brad Pitt, however, so be on the lookout for more than dashing good looks.

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These thugs aren’t so much after you as they are your customers. But because carriers operate data centers for managed hosting, cloud or other managed IT services, service providers are once again caught in the crossfire.

Hackers are dishing out more frequent and ferocious distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against service providers — reaching the 100 Gbps DDoS attack barrier last year — according to a recent telecom security study we picked apart this week, which revealed some pretty scary stuff.

Half of the carriers surveyed conceded that their firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) — the very infrastructure there to protect data — had themselves been targeted and were taken offline due to DDoS attacks. An eye-popping 55% of mobile carriers reported outages in 2010 due to security incidents, and 59% confessed that they had limited or no visibility into packet core security threats. Eek. Wish we could say this was our April Fool’s edition, but unfortunately this telecom security bulletin is all too real.


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