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First Steps to Securing Your Information in the Internet Age


Summary

At the end of 2010, the Gawker Media consortium of blogs was hacked. User accounts and personal information for many (or all?) registered users were taken. This was particularly embarrassing for Gawker, which counts amongst its properties Gizmodo, the popular tech blog, the opinion on the internet was that they "should have known better."

It seemed, a few years ago, that you couldn't open the newspaper (or watch TV news, or view online news sites) without seeing some story about compromised corporate databases in the headlines. Lots of big companies — credit cards, banks, credit reporting agencies — suffered from, and succumbed to, attack.

Other than the Gawker incident, there hasn't been much talk about this in the news lately. Have the attacks stopped? Most industry experts don't think so. Nor do they believe that all IT systems have somehow become so secure they are no longer vulnerable. Instead, companies have just stopped reporting such attacks, in an effort to keep up consumer confidence. After all, would you want to deal with a bank that had just lost your account information?

Our MultiValue installations typically present much smaller targets than, say, Chase or Wells Fargo, but I'm sure that none of us would relish the thought of telling our customers, "Sorry, someone has stolen your personal information from my computer system." Yet odds are we are as vulnerable to these attacks, or more, as the Big Guys. What can be done to make our systems more secure?

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