Month after month high-profile cyber attacks have left companies at risk and IT security professionals on guard. The latest? Nvidia Corporation, a California-based U.S. semiconductor producer who recently claimed that up to 400,000 encrypted passwords had been compromised from the company’s online forums.
In response Nvidia assures that the 400,0000 stolen passwords were previous scramble by using a proven encryption algorithm. This IT security technique in theory would make it harder for the hackers to actually make good on any of the stolen data.
The Nvidia attacks date back to early July, a time period where a large number of attacks were reported.
In fact, not only was Nvidia’s IT security compromised, but other companies claimed to have been hacked, including Yahoo! Voice, Formspring, Android Forums and others. An estimated 2,000,000 user passwords were exposed in just a few weeks time in July. And lets not forget LinkedIn’s own IT security troubles either.
What is an IT security professional to do? There are several key lessons that should remain guiding principals to any CIO or IT professional who are looking to keep their company (and jobs) secure in today’s age where cloud computing, mobile devices and crafty hackers all collide--putting more data at risk than ever before.
5 guiding tips for keeping hackers at bay
- Educate the people. No worker in your company will really care about what it means to keep the organization's data secure until they understand the real threats to their own privacy as well as the company’s. To many people in your organization a privacy or IT policy is just something to skim over and toss out with the recycling. It’s up to you to tell them why it’s important, and the roles they can play at keeping hackers at bay.
- Check. Check. Check. It today's IT world, you can really trust no one—even yourself. Always check and recheck your actions and those of your fellow IT professionals. And always upgrade your procedures when possible to help keep your organization’s data secure.
- Think like the bad guy. To be good at IT security, you have to think bad. Try to get inside the heads of hackers in order to repel them. Maybe even play at breaking into systems yourself, putting yourself in their shoes and mindsets.
- Protect those Passwords. It’s a never-ending game trying to stay ahead of hackers. It’s passwords they want, they keeping them as hard to figure out the better. Educate your coworkers. No universal passwords for all accounts. No sticking passwords on post it notes. And on your end, backup often and change default passwords too.
- Make it not worth it to even try. Smart IT security departments strive to make breaking into IT systems more expensive in effort and time and the end-result will be. Put systems in place that makes it difficult to hack in, and impossible for a bad guy to not leave a trail behind.
In the days of high-profile attacks like what happened to Nvidia, it’s important to keep these basic tips and others in mind. But remember, ultimately it’s not just your job to keep your company's data safe. In today's business world IT security is everybody’s business.