Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PC SECURITY - Uncle Sam Wants You

"Uncle Sam Wants You (To Fight Hackers)" by Rachael King, Business Exchange


The U.S. government is stepping up recruitment of engineers who can help wage cyberwar

Kyle Osborn does a good job impersonating a technical support rep. On a recent day in Southern California, the 19-year-old is working the phones, trying to persuade people on the other end to download malicious software.

In cybercrime circles, this is called "social engineering," and criminals use the tactics to circumvent companies' Internet security software by tricking employees to download harmful software or cough up passwords. Osborn doesn't look the part of a hacker, with his short blond hair, baby face, and glasses. Yet he's persuasive—after a few calls, he finds an employee who agrees to download malicious software that will open a door into the computer network and let Osborn break in.

In real life, Osborn isn't a cybercriminal; he's a student participating in a cyberdefense competition at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., that drew about 65 students from Western colleges. The campus is situated on a former ranch east of Los Angeles. Horses and sheep still graze in the pastures.

Sneaky, VERY sneaky.

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