June 18, 2012, 12:41 PM — Multinational companies sick of being hacked by everyone from Anonymous hacktivists to the governments of countries in which they're trying to do business, are starting to do something other than wait and "cooperate" with law enforcement agencies that seem unable to corner most attackers.
Some companies are starting to hire their own hackers in order to strike back.
There is little or nothing even major companies with well-funded security teams can do to keep well-financed hackers out of their private data spaces, according to Rodney Joffe, cyber security advisor to the White House and senior technologist at infrastructure and security company Neustar, Inc.
The number, severity and even acceptance of cyber attacks as a fact of life has frustrated many companies that put a premium on security and made it more difficult for them to operate effectively, putting their financial health and that of the U.S. economy in danger, Joffe said in an interview with Reuters.
In an effort to determine how widespread successful hacks actually are, Joffe analyzed Neustar forensic logs covering 168 of the 500 largest companies in the U.S.
He found 162 of them owned computers that had at some point been sending data to hackers, Reuters reported this morning.
That's 96.4 percent of the highest revenue-producing companies in the U.S., whose giant revenue streams should be sufficient to pay for a reasonable level of defense.
It is routine for Western companies sending teams of negotiators to China, for example, to discover the laptops and often the servers used by those teams of lawyers and technical experts had been compromised, presumably to help Chinese companies get the upper hand in negotiations, according to Reuters quotes from Dmitri Alperovich, co-founder of CrowdStrike, a security company that specializes in taking the fight back to the hackers.
Rather than simply repair the damage to their own computers, the idea of "active defense" or "strike back" tactics is to launch a digital counterattack designed to make the company an unattractive target, or to give the hackers misinformation posing as the real thing, Alperovich told Reuters.
Columbia Pictures/Marvel Comics via Reuters