Four Corners Report

Thousands of Australian Computer Log-ins Up for Sale on Dark Web
If you were watching ABC’s Four Corners last night you’d have seen a disturbing investigation into computer hacking and cyber-crime.  One particular aspect of this report which has concerned some small and mid-sized businesses, was the revelation that 170,000 computers and servers world-wide have had their login credentials compromised, and can be readily accessed by criminals.

The key points made by the ABC were;
– A dark web database contains the server details of more than 70,000 global organisations
– Security firm Kaspersky found 5,855 Australian organisations listed on the database
– Airlines, schools and a leading sporting body are among the targeted Australian organisations

These computer log-ins were discovered through “brute force” password attacks on public-facing servers and computers.  Such servers are exposed to the internet for convenient access by teleworkers and systems administrators, which is very common in smaller and mid-sized businesses.  When these systems also allow for weak user passwords, it is a simple matter for hackers to gain full and permanent access to the business network.

More information can be found on the ABC website here:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-30/cyber-warfare-the-australian-organisations-targeted-by-hackers/7795656

Please be assured however that Southern Computer Co takes cyber security very seriously and these doors are never left open on systems we manage.  This method of remote access, also known as “Terminal Services” or “Remote Desktop Services”, is sloppy and lazy security practice, and it’s why we have always implemented remote access via secure VPN’s only.

Yes, remote access to the networks we manage can sometimes be inconvenient for users, especially when staff are using alternative technologies like Apple Macintosh computers.  We are routinely criticised by third-party software providers for making access to servers difficult. And yes, maintaining proper hardware firewall solutions like Sophos/Astaro can be costly for small businesses too, but we will continue to stand by our principals and keep your systems secure from threats like these.

If you have any questions or comments on matters such as these, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.