Breaking Digital Gridlock

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Breaking Weekly Digital Gridlock #12: Guarding Against Hackers

Weekly FinTech Tip: If Your System is Working Particularly Well, You Should Be Worried

People tend to freak out when things crash. I often hear people say, “I’m worried that hackers are causing this disruption somehow”. Me? I’m more worried when things are going well. Hackers? They’re not interested in drawing attention to themselves, and the last thing they want to do is crash something and have some system admin come sniffing around, looking to see what’s wrong. The hackers plan on staying in your system for a long time. It takes a while to poke around and find the information they need. The longer they can stay in your system, the more information and data they can get.

Equifax hackers were in there for months. We often find out that these hackers have had access to these systems for a very long time. The TGA backs hackers were in the T.J. Maxx system for almost 18 months. They had trouble getting a large file over the firewall. They needed to send the data they were stealing out through the Internet, and the firewall wouldn’t let them. So, what did they do? They fixed it. Imagine that everyone’s having trouble getting a large file out of the firewall, and suddenly, it fixes itself.

Sometimes, we have a tendency to take a look at something like that and think to ourselves, “Wow. Good luck. It fixed itself”. Things do not magically fix themselves, so when something suddenly starts working, be suspicious. Logs are your friend. There aren’t enough logs in the world to make me happy. I like to look at logs. Make sure your security people do as well. When things are going particularly good, that’s when you should be worried. Always look into everything that magically fixes itself, because the reality is, computers do nothing without us doing something to them. There are no accidents. Computers don’t work that way. Anomalies are very few and far between.

This has been your FinTech minute. I’m John Best, author of Breaking Digital Gridlock. You can find my book on Amazon, or anywhere books are sold.┬áPick up your copy today.

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