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

Leftovers: Screenshots

New To Linux? Don’t Use Ubuntu, You’ll Probably Like Linux Mint Better

Linux newbies have probably heard a lot about Ubuntu, but it isn’t the only Linux distribution. In fact, Ubuntu’s standard Unity desktop is still controversial among long-time Linux users today. Many Linux users prefer a more traditional desktop interface, and Linux Mint offers that. As Ubuntu focuses more on Ubuntu for phones, Linux Mint may be an even clearer choice in the future. No, Ubuntu isn’t terrible. Some people prefer Ubuntu’s Unity desktop and love it. But you’ll probably have an easier time getting to grips with Linux Mint instead of Ubuntu. Read more

IceCat 31.4.0 release

GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0. https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/ Read more

Leftovers: KDE

  • Star-Hopper for KStars
    The Star-Hopper is an amazing feature present in KStars which allows you to find a path between two points in the sky. It is very commonly used in astronomy. If you have a bright star as a reference and you want to find an object in it’s vicinity, you start from your reference star and trace a route to the destination traversing a sequence of stars/pattern of stars.
  • Plasma 5.2 Released
  • Plasma 5.2 arrives to Fedora
  • Marble experience in GCI-2014
    First of all, what is Marble? Marble is a virtual globe application which allows the user to choose among the Earth, the Moon, Venus, Mars and other planets to display as a 3-D model. It is free software under the terms of the GNU LGPL, developed by KDE for use on personal computers and smart phones.
  • Planet KDE Theme from Season of KDE
    Today I had the pleasure of launching the new Planet KDE website theme done by Ranveer Aggarwal. It looks very lovely and importantly makes the site a pleasure to browse on your phone. Everyone hug him and do report any bugs to bugzilla.
  • Plasmoid Tutorial 1
  • Meet KDE at FOSDEM this Weekend
    KDE will be at Europe's largest gathering of free software developering this weekend, taking over the city of Brussels for FOSDEM.