Monday, October 17, 2011

They Don't Sleep at Night - Computer Imps

by Jeff Jilg

I recently saw a neat painting at the 2011 PCI Community Meeting.

The subject of the painting was computer hacking, and the rendering showed a mythical imp with pointy ears. He was bound by cuffs labeled "PCI" and was reading a book on hacking. The artist got it right, and a lot of attendees liked the painting.

Yep, the artist is right. Hackers don't sleep at night. Hackers don't have a time slot to break down computer defenses. They couldn’t care less about when or where the assets are stored. For all they know, they could be hacking into a computer in the same town, or a computer in another country.

And that's the real problem. It's tough to fight such resilient criminals. Technology has made it easy for them to have plenty of potential assets for them to prey upon. The PCI standards do a pretty good job of setting up compliance standards to help stave off the bad guys. As a consumer I feel a bit safer with credit card processing getting more scrutiny.

As many industry pundits have said, "the motivation of the hackers is directly proportional to the assets being protected". atsec supports the PCI standards and atsec is a qualified security assessor company. We like to think we are helping too.

So far I haven't seen any real computer imps. I wonder if they really have pointy ears or not…

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