If Samuel Taylor Coleridge were alive today, he would have probably rephrased his immortal lines ‘Water, water everywhere, ne any drop to drink’ as ‘Threat, Threat Everywhere, Cyber criminals on the prowl‘!. Oflate, cyber-criminal activities across the globe have assumed such grave proportions that all organizations – big and small, are exposed to security breaches and identity thefts.
I was reading the Aug 2008 issue of SC Magazine, the world’s widely-read IT security periodical. The ‘Threat Report’, a regular column in the magazine had reported some of the prominent cyber crimes that happened in the recent months across the globe. Not to mention that my head started whirling on reading that report.
Take a quick look at some of the crimes and am sure you would also feel the whirling:
- San Diego, Calif: A former IT network engineer and technical services manager for San Diego’s council of community health clinics was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment on federal hacking charges. He was convicted of intentionally damaging protected computers by intentionally damaging protected computers by disabling the automatic backup database of a patient information
- Germany: The personal info of about a half-million residents could be freely viewed on the internet due to an exposed password
- Netherlands: Dutch police charged a 20-year old man with stealing the credit card details of 50,000 people and then using the information to make expensive web purchases
- South Africa: 32 people were arrested in connection to a cybercrime gang responsible for siphoning more than $25 million from the Government through spyware scams
Apart from the above, there are the well-known incidents such as the FiberWAN lockout at San Fransisco where a disgruntled network administrator was charged with locking up the network and with planting network devices that enabled illegal remote access to the network. Last year, the identity theft from TJX, the owner of nearly 2,500 discount stores including Winners and HomeSense in Canada and T.J. Maxx and Marshalls in the United States, reportedly made hackers to gain access to customer information related to at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards. More recently, a month ago, the Best Western hotel chain reportedly suffered what is being claimed as the world’s largest cyber-crime, the identity theft of eight million customers.
The list of crimes will go on and on and will fill volumes, if I were to point them out all. Though the exact cause for the identity thefts in many cyber-crime activities are not exactly known, analysts believe that proper deployment of identity and information management strategies could help prevent such occurrences. Particularly, the administrative passwords, which are often aptly referred as ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ should be guarded with highest care. If the privileged passwords are not properly managed, disgruntled employees and hackers could wreak havoc to your very business causing irrepairable loss to business and reputation.
One of the effective ways to secure the privileged identities is deploying a Privileged Identity and Information Management solution, which will help in securely storing the privileged identities in a centralized vault, restrict access to the identities and automate the identity/password management activities. This will help organizations to take total control of the privileged identities. ManageEngine Password Manager Pro is one among the enterprise-class privileged identity and information management solutions available at an affordable price.
Take preventive action, deploy ManageEngine Password Manager Pro, safeguard your data and reputation. Otherwise, you may end up locking the stable after the horse has bolted!