Security Expert: No Silver Cyberbullet for Keeping Hackers at Bay

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 09:47 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The report of a Russian high-tech gang stealing 1.2 billion log-ins is a stark reminder that hackers still have the edge in the never-ending battle to keep computer data safe, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

Even big companies with sufficient money to spend on website security fall prey to ingenious online thieves, Steven P. Bucci, Heritage Foundation director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Large "organizations' websites have done everything they can, and to an extraordinary level invested lots of money, lots of effort, to secure their websites," said Bucci. "And they're still vulnerable because the hackers are very talented, very motivated, they can make a ton of money, and they don't have to follow any rules."

Bucci said security firms are experimenting with alternatives to user names and passwords, such as biometric portals that require thumbprints or retina scans to allow entry to a database.

But he said no silver bullet exists yet, and that break-ins like the Russian one detected and reported by an American firm, Hold Security, prove that hackers remain "a very determined and very capable set of adversaries."

Hold Security reported that so far, the Russian group that stole 1.2 billion log-ins appears to have done so for the sole purpose of leasing the information to online spam purveyors — and not for outright theft from bank accounts and the like.

"There's a lot more damaging things that could be going on with a list of this magnitude," said Bucci. "So perhaps we're OK in that regard. But it is a warning shot across the bow of all of us of the importance of having good cyber-personal hygiene."

For individuals concerned about data safety, Bucci recommended making one's log-in credentials at least a little bit hard to guess.

"Please don't use 'password' and '1234567,' " he said.

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