The State of Cyber-Security: Forbes special report

We live in what the economist Fritz Machlup called in 1962 an “information society.” Data and information fuel corporate competition, separate the haves and have-nots and even define political power. Bits and bytes have truly become a battleground.Cyber-criminals have noticed too. The cyber-crime underground is more active and efficient than ever before. The role of the state in cyberspace is growing too, as governments pour money into digital defense and contend with cyber-dissidents. As the threats and counter threats multiply, we present our take on the precarious balance of security and privacy in cyberspace. Cyber Terrorism Becomes State Censorship
One year ago, hundreds of thousands of bogus requests for information poured into Estonia’s data networks, knocking government, media and banking Web sites offline. Local officials were quick to point fingers at the Russian government, declaring its country the first victim of cyber warfare. Now, a year of analysis has shown that it was nothing so straightforward.The difference between government-sponsored attacks and grassroots cyber terrorism is growing increasingly fuzzy, even as researchers try to sift through who did what on Estonia’s Web. And the difficulty of tracing responsibility for even massive cyber attacks suggests that such maneuvers may become an effective tool not just for indiscriminate vandalism, but also for stealthy cyber censorship. The Web Is Weak
Tolstoy wrote that happy families are all alike, while every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Something like the opposite might be said for Web sites. Many of the Web’s millions of insecure pages can be hacked with just one or two tricks. But patching the bugs in each of those vulnerable sites requires a unique solution.Case in point: Last month, a single attack ripped through the Web, infecting more than half a million sites including those of the Department of Homeland Security, the United Nations and the British Government. Using Google (nasdaq: GOOG – news – people ) searches, the attackers’ software–written partly in Chinese characters–identified sites vulnerable to a hacking technique called SQL injection and infected them en masse with malware designed to steal the bank codes of the sites’ visitors.

Protecting You

Why Web Privacy Is Impossible
Michael Fertik wants to wipe your personal details off the Web. He’s finding out just how difficult it is to protect privacy.Companies That Profit From Your Data
It may be your name, address, and phone number. But it’s their cash cow.How Your Cellphone Can Stop Cybercrime
Banks and security researchers are working to use physical gadgets to block digital thieves.Making Social Sites Safer
A new task force that includes MySpace, Facebook, Google and Microsoft is mulling ways to make social networks safer places for kids.Canning The Real Spam Kings
The Feds are getting better at bagging cyber spammers and fraudsters. But the bad guys are getting smarter too.How To Make Your Phone Untappable
Philip Zimmermann’s controversial solution to block wiretapping–by the federal government and by more malicious spies.

Protecting The Company

Where The Web Is Weak
A handful of hacker tricks make it possible to infiltrate millions of Web pages. Unfortunately, solving these problems will take a million fixes.How To Protect A Company’s Data
To prevent data breaches, security companies are trying forgoing firewalls and embedding security into information itself.Virtualization’s Dark Side
Don’t hyperjack this! Security researchers warn that the latest IT trend has hidden vulnerabilities.Commercial Espionage: Travelers Beware
With wi-fi everywhere, it’s a spy’s dreamland.The No Tech Hacker
Forget firewalls. Johnny Long can steal your company’s data through the front door.Cloud Computing’s Stormy Side
Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and offer to host your Web applications. But can you safely hand them your sensitive data?

Protecting The Nation

When Cyber Terrorism Becomes State Censorship
A year after the attacks on Estonia’s Web, the world’s first ”cyber war” seems more like a lesson in digital information control.Broadband Big Brothers
Myanmar’s Internet shutdown shows how governments control the Web–and when they can’t.Bush’s Cyber Secrets Dilemma
To get help from the private sector, Bush’s cyber initiative will have to share some secrets.

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