Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

What's your number, Kevin Mitnick?

Filed under
Security

Doing this, he said, would allow employees to verify a caller was who they said they were by calling them back at the provided number. In the case of someone looking to snaffle company details over the phone, it would scare them off immediately. If the caller was legitimate, they would be happy to comply with the request.

"If people would just call people back," Mitnick told attendees at a forum hosted by vendor Citrix this morning in Sydney, "it would eliminate 80 percent of the threat".

Mitnick described how the Motorola employee who delivered him secret company source code back in his hacking days gave him a nervous moment when the call was almost lost as she put him on hold to check some details with her security manager. Ultimately, however, that attempt succeeded.

While most people naturally wanted to help others who contacted them, he said, employees needed to be taught to deny requests that could compromise security.

The reformed hacker -- currently a security consultant -- pointed out those attempting to breach company security relied upon the intelligence-gathering they did in the lead-up to an attack. One fantastic target for such information, he said, was the company's IT helpdesk.

"They're there to help," he enthused, pointing out fraudsters calling a help desk number would be able to find out what verification tokens -- such as date of birth or employee ID number -- help desk staff used to verify a caller's identity. They could then go away, do some research and come back armed and ready to breach a user's account.

While Mitnick's social engineering tips are ultimately timeless and technology-neutral, the ex-hacker is obviously keeping up with today's tech gadgets.

He pointed out one of Apple's AirPort devices (a popular wireless hub) could instantly create a wireless access port into any company's headquarters if plugged into a company network port.

"You could just put a company logo on it, with a label saying 'IT Department, do not remove'," he said. "You could be browsing the network from the parking lot."

A USB bluetooth device would fulfil the same function if plugged into the back of an employee's PC, he said.

By Renai LeMay
ZDNet Australia

More in Tux Machines

IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall OS Patched Against the Latest OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

Only three days after announcing the release of IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104, Michael Tremer informs the community about the availability of a new update, Core Update 105, which brings important OpenSSL patches. Read more

Top Web Browsers for Linux

No matter which Linux distro you prefer, I believe the web browser remains the most commonly used software application. In this article, I'll share the best browsers available to Linux users. Chrome – No matter how you feel about the Chrome browser, one only need to realize the following: Local news still streams in Flash and Chrome supports this. Netflix is supported using Chrome. And of course, Chrome is faster than any other browser out there. Did I mention the oodles of Chrome extensions available including various remote desktop solutions? No matter how you slice it, Chrome is king of the jungle. Read more

Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS Brings ARM and EXT4 Improvements, Updated Drivers

Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7.5, renowned kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.4.22 LTS Read more

Tor Project Releases Tor (The Onion Router) 0.2.8.8 with Important Bug Fixes

The Tor Project announced recently the release of yet another important maintenance update to the stable Tor 0.2.8.x series of the open-source and free software to protect your anonymity while surfing the Internet. Read more