Make your Fortune in Net Crime

The cover of the latest Fortune magazine (Feb. 3, 1997) sports ominous
eyes peering over the header, "Who's Reading Your E-Mail?"  Inside, there
are three linked articles:
 - Who's Reading Your E-Mail?
 - How We Invaded a Fortune 500 Company
 - The Myth of E-Mail Privacy

These are amusing articles with good guys, bad guys and a touch of
technology (watch out Tom Clancy), but mostly they serve to be a wake-up
call to corporate America about the complacency with which they have
regarded computer security.  24% of corporations have no procedures for
safeguarding proprietary data. (p. 60)  Last March more than 40% of the
more than 400 companies surveyed reported; 30% of these were accomplished
despite a firewall. (p.58-59)  The FBI estimates that 95% of computer
attacks go undetected.(p.59) (Of course, there is a mind-boggling
mathmetical inequality of trying to match up how 95% of the attackees are
in the dark, yet 40% of the other survey are reporting break-ins.  Ah,

These break-ins are creating havoc, both by netting cold cash (Russian
hackers hit Citibank in 1994 for $10 million via illegal transfers)
(p.64), but also in losing corporate secrets, intellectual property and "A
new concept - downstream liability- is emerging in computer law.  Say a
hacker exploiting XYZ's lax security invades its network and uses it as a
springboard to disrupt computer operations at other companies.  If the
other companies' damages are substantial, they might seek to hold XYZ
liable." (p.60-61)

On the heroes and villians end of things the articles include a profile of
hackers who hack for good, truth and justice - all guys, all military or
NSA.  The recommended book is "Secrets of a Super Hacker."(p. 66)  Perhaps
we should add a week or so to the course and practice some of these
techniques.  Might make us eminently employable.

If anyone's interested, I can get the articles in the PAM box on

Serena Fenton