I spoke to a large, multinational client the other day that is in the middle of a malicious hacking attack. A large percentage of the company's workstation computers are compromised. The attackers have access to nearly every server in the global environment. Executive email is being read, confidential data is no longer confidential, and state secrets are no longer secret.
Chinese hackers? We got 'em. Russian hackers? Check! Spearfishing malformed PDFs? Naturally. Socially engineered Trojans all over the place? You betcha! Accounting department's banking system compromised? Of course -- it wouldn't be a party without it.
Here's the kicker: In the middle of the call, I actually forgot which client I was talking to -- because every company I've worked with over the past two years is in the same situation.
[ Juniper and Symantec are investigating widespread cyber espionage that has hit dozens of technology companies. | InfoWorld's Roger Grimes explains how to stop data leaks in an enlightening 30-minute webcast, Data Loss Prevention, which covers the tools and techniques used by experienced security pros. ]
Is it because of my job that I'm the only person aware of companies in these types of dire straits? It's not only large firms -- it's nearly every enterprise I'm aware of. Also, it goes beyond the businesses sector; my city is infected and has been nearly shut down. It's also hit my friend's computer -- an iMac. It's the same story with my mom's computer and my neighbor's computer. It makes me wonder: Is anybody not exploited?
My (virtual) hat is off to the hackers. They've managed to infect and exploit the world, and it doesn't appear that people care. It's so bad that this passes for life as usual. It's like learning to accept Mother Nature's natural disasters as inevitable -- though hackers can be stopped. I keep hoping that everyone will decide to come together in a "We Are the World"-type project to make it more difficult for malicious hackers to flourish on the Internet, but it doesn't seem likely anytime soon.