22 September 2011

Cyber hackers crack into 53 businesses around Puget Sound

Q13 FOX News reporter

5:48 p.m. PDT, September 21, 2011

Alec Fishburne works for a computer software company in downtown Seattle. He said when computer hackers got into the company’s system, his sense of security was shattered.

“We never really had any cause to be suspicious internally in our 20 year history,” said Fishburne. “It was a very disconcerting time.”

Fishburne’s company was one of 53 businesses around Puget Sound that were targeted by a group of hackers during the last two years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen.

Federal prosecutors said three men from the Seattle area, Joshua Witt, Brad Lowe, and John Griffin, would break into and hack into computers, or do something called "war driving." War drivers used high-tech antennas mounted to bikes or cars to find wi-fi signals that they could crack.

“They simply drive around slowly and wait until they can pick up an electronic wave or an electronic signal,” said Jim Pugel, Assistant Chief of Seattle Police. He said then they would begin draining payroll, accessing checking accounts and

stealing identities.

“They got into multiple bank accounts,” said Mark Houtchens, another cyber victim. “Then they moved tens of thousands of dollars.”

Another company said the hackers attempted to put two false employees on the payroll and then pay them through a bank in North Dakota.

U.S Attorney Jenny Durkan said the cyber burglars used the money they stole to buy several goods, ranging from Rolex watches to engines for their cars.

Durkan warns businesses and everyone using computers in their daily life to be vigilant. She recommended checking your accounts on a regular basis and making sure your wi-fi is secure.

“Everything that makes it easy for us to do our business online makes it easy for the criminals to defraud you online, so you have to take precautions.”

Here are some helpful hints to protect your
computer system from a cyber attack:

  • Businesses should review their wireless encryption and confirm that they are using the appropriate level of encryption (WPA2 Personal or WPA Enterprise).
  • Businesses should keep a record of all laptop computers and ensure that any computers with remote access are encrypted. Any missing laptop computers should have passwords and credentials replaced immediately.
  • Businesses should be aware of hacking that can occur from physical access to the server room as well as from external hacking.
  • Employees should never click past security certificate warning screens and should notify I.T. immediately.
  • Managers should be aware of “watercooler” talk among employees that may indicate breach has occurred. This includes numerous employees complaining of fraud on personal accounts.
  • Businesses should ensure that they have a security response plan prepared in the event that some kind of incident does occur.
  • If you notice suspicious activity, contact your local law enforcement. Local law enforcement can make a referral to the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.
  • Solutions : www.xcyss.in

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