Information Security

It’s 2018: why are our systems still insecure?

We continue to hear sorry tales of companies’ systems being hacked: as I write this, the latest big story is Dixons Carphone experiencing a hack involving 5.9 million payment cards and over a million personal data records.

They’re a big company – which means they have no excuse: with a pre-tax profit of over £380 million in 2017-18, they could afford to spend more on information security. But what about small businesses who don’t have this kind of money to splash on security? Well, judging from what I see in the Channel Islands, there’s a lot of IT kit out there just sitting waiting to be hacked.

Before I start, let me point out that every fact I state here is in the public domain. The information is freely and easily available to anyone with a computer and a Web browser. The fact that I can see it means that hackers can see it too, and can use it to find and attack vulnerable systems. I’m going to work in generalities so as not to point to specific systems and their vulnerabilities – but bear in mind that it took me only a couple of hours to get enough research material to write this article, so anyone with bad intentions can go through exactly the same process as me.

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