Security Advisor

FBI: Security Can't Keep Up With New Tech

Plus: Symantec's pcAnywhere troubles, Google's hated privacy policy.

That assessment came out of a Senate hearing this week in which the director of the FBI and the Intelligence Director testified to the growing threat of cybersecurity incidents in the U.S.

While cyber attacks by individual attackers are still a concern, espionage from foreign governments has been making more of a splash lately. Take, for example, the recent Sykipot Trojan attack. This nasty worm targeted different defense institutions and contractors, like the Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin, for the sole purpose of snatching up info it shouldn't have.

While it's not clear who instigated the attacks, many, including Symantec, are pointing to involvement by the Chinese government due to the fact that the attacks originated in that country and the type of information trying to be procured.

And what's the biggest issue with government officials safeguarding sensitive information? Technology can't keep up with theft and attack prevention.

"We foresee a cyber environment in which emerging technologies are developed and implemented before security responses can be put in place," said James Clapper, director for the Intelligence department.

And while cybersecurity may not be the top concern for law enforcement (it was clear in the hearing that that's reserved for Iran's involvement in nuclear technology), it will continue to grow into a larger problem.

"Down the road, [cyber attacks] will be the No. 1 threat to the country," said Robert Mueller, the director for the FBI, to Congress.

Kicking Symantec When It's Down
The security firm Symantec probably hasn't had the best week. It had the awkward task of telling its customers of pcAnywhere, a remote computer software, to not use its software.

That's because the software's stolen code made it onto the Internet after a 2006 theft by suspected members of the hacker group Anonymous gained entry to its system.

While it both doesn't look good that a security firm had its system broken into and that it took almost six years for Symantec to fess up to the theft, it did recently provide a fix.

Now it's pleading customers to ignore its previous advice of switching off pcAnywhere and use it with the fullest of confidence.

However, that may be hard to do, especially for those that may now be looking for an alternative in the wake of Symantec's breach in trust.

In true consumerist fashion, there are others ready to grab the customer base that may have had their faith in Symantec shaken. One such is PC connectivity company Laplink. Not only is it happy to point out the fact that Symantec dropped the ball, it gives you the option of switching teams on the same page.

How do you perceive Symantec in the wake of this incident? Send your thoughts to cpaoli@1105media.com.

Looks Like You Don't Like Google's Snooping
Readers responded in droves to last week's blog post about Google upping its tracking of pretty much anything you do on its sites. And, as expected, none of you were for it. Here are some responses from Security Advisor readers:

Thanks for the blog post. I read the new policy and changed my default home for myself and my wife. I have personal Gmail, but I have opted out of tracking and do not stay signed in. It is getting harder and harder to avoid 1984.
-Tom

I am very put off by Google's new policy, especially with no opt-out provision. I just canceled all of my Google accounts (Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, etc.) and removed Google as my default search provider.

I hope more people will take the same measures. Maybe if enough do, Google will take note and change their invasive policy.
-Jeff

I think the Google stuff is overreaching,  scary and downright evil. Let us assume just for a moment that it is evil... Its evil, so what? I am not about to stop using my Android phone, Youtube, apps, or the Web. So in essence I, and those like me, are sanctioning said evil. We are, in fact, minions of evil!
-Dennis

As you can see, nobody is welcoming Google's new policy with open arms. Finally, enjoy this contribution from reader Charlie who decided to flex his creative muscle after hearing the news.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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