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RSA, Social Engineering, and CISOs – Things to Consider When Creating IT Security for Your Company

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RSA, Social Engineering, and CISOs – Things to Consider When Creating IT Security for Your

Security tokens from RSA Security designed as key fobs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


With the recent hacks on the South Carolina taxpayer system that has put more than 3.6 million Social Security Numbers at risks and the creation of advanced computer worms like Stuxnet in 2010, the constant threat of cyber-attacks has become one that shows no sign of slowing down. Despite this, many businesses have neglected the need for increased security on their corporate networks.

An example of how easy it can be for a hacker to bypass a lackluster security system is through simple social engineering. In 2011, the network security company RSA had their famed SecurID tokens stolen through tricking RSA employees into downloading an infected Excel spreadsheet via email. They then used the tokens to hack military contractors such as Lockheed Martin.

Two issues can be taken away for the attack. The first is that RSA’s security model allowed for online access to such critical data.  If a company does opt to keep sensitive information online, constant monitoring is key.  Hackers scan servers to find vulnerabilities, so it is only logical that the IT department do the same.

Computer security old school (Photo credit: sridgway)

The second was that the employees themselves were not trained well enough to deal with situation such as the one that occurred. If there are not enough people equipped to that task, hiring a firm is the next precaution to take. More importantly, companies should consider adding a chief information security officer (CISO) to their team. The CISO’s sole purpose is to manage IT security for the company, and like any other department, leadership is always needed.

With no strategy, training, or resources in defending against hackers, a company is fated to be attacked, possibly at a devastating level in terms of customer satisfaction or revenue. Learn from companies like RSA or with the help of a professional IT service so that your business does not become another cautionary tale.

Jesus Garay is a freelance writer with an interest in technology and its applications in the corporate world. Currently his concentration is on network engineering in the Philadelphia area.

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