Byte Me Article 206 – Hacker threat now hitting home

Hacker Threat Now Hitting Home

A big welcome back to my regular readers for the first article of 2015 and I hope that most of you had a good break over the Christmas period. Moving all of Kerr Solutions to our new shop at 205 Musgrave Street, North Rocky and getting the new shop up and running did not afford me any such break, however we now have all of our servers, data points and 258 individual power points running once again – Thunderbirds Are Go!

In the 4 weeks since the last Byte Me article a lot of confronting issues have surfaced around the globe such as the terrible shootings in France. There appears to be no limit to the number of terrorist movements that can’t wait to inflict mayhem in the Western world and the scope of their work even includes computer hacking. Living in comparatively sleepy Central Queensland it is easy to become desensitised to some of these activities however recent events have shown otherwise.

We all readily hook our computers and smart phones to this great thing called the Internet and now-a-days most businesses have their ‘own’ website however many forget that the WWW part stands for World Wide Web! If you create a website then it is there for EVERYONE in the world to have access to. If this website is not secure then ANYONE in the World that has some IT hacking knowledge can gain access to the ‘backend’ of the website and manipulate it to show their own messages – whatever these messages may be.

2015-01-17 Byte Me Artilce 206 - IT Security

In the case a several Central Queensland businesses in the last week the unauthorised changes made to their websites had them displaying ISIS propaganda – in stark contrast to the services that they normally portrayed! So how exactly did this happen and what can be done to prevent these malicious attacks?

If you are a terrorist movement wanting to create fear and mayhem then you would be trying to place your propaganda messages upon as many website as possible. To do this you need to hack the existing websites of businesses so you would first start looking for vulnerable servers.

If a business does not have both a good firewall and a secure password on their server then it can easily be hacked. Just think of the example of a huge multilevel car park and someone trying each and every door handle to gain entry to an unsecured car. This would take considerable time however if you have a good Internet connection and automatic hacking software then you could easily ‘test’ the security of 1000’s of servers every day.

If you have a website then don’t muck with firewall security yourself – get a professional to set it up properly from the start. When it comes to a secure password for your server and web site control – make sure you create a ‘secure’ password of at least 8 characters using both upper and lower case letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric symbols. As a general rule of thumb – if you can easily remember the password then it is not secure enough!

Gone are the days when writing down your ‘password’ on a sticky note beside your PC was the biggest ‘threat’. Now-a-days the biggest threat is from someone on the other side of the world testing the strength of your firewall and passwords. We suggest changing your ‘main’ server and banking passwords every 6 months as well as having separate passwords for secondary services like eBay, iTunes, Facebook etc.

It is now advisable to keep all of these passwords in a ‘black book’ because you will not be able to remember all of them. It has become the unseen threat from the other side of the world more than one of your work colleagues that you need to be concerned about.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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