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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

War Games III: Identity Thief Irene Controls Your Missiles

Post by Peter McCalister September 28, 2011

In 1983 Hollywood unleashed a movie called War Games that showed what a determined hacker could do if they (even accidentally) attained privileges to a military computer. The movie got good reviews and even raised an eyebrow or two on the possibilities of misuse of privilege on specific information technology, but eventually, like most tinsel town products, was retreaded into a sequel 2008 called War Games: The Dead Code which failed miserably.

Flash forward to September 20, 2001 when DatacenterDynamics.com published an article titled “Japanese weapons maker admits security breach as missile systems are hacked.” Don’t you just love when art imitates life and vice versa? In this case I think I’ll say no.

The article goes on to report “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Japan’s biggest weapon maker, said it’s servers were hacked after it found viruses on 80 machines. The Japanese Government has insisted it carry out an investigation following local media reports of the attack. Reports said Japan’s defense minister Yasuo Ichikawa told a news conference the cyber attackers had not succeeded in accessing any important information but MHI would be instructed “to undertake a review of their information control systems.” And if that was not enough to scare you “A plant in Nagoya, where the company designs and builds guidance and propulsion systems for rockets and missiles, was also reportedly compromised.”

I introduced you to Identity Thief Irene and showed you how these outside hackers hijack privileged credentials inside secure organizations to effectively do whatever they want. By implementing a least privilege environment you not only mitigate insider threats but the likelihood of outside hacker pulling off this type of breach.

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