How To Find The Big Winners In This $1 Trillion Industry

A few years ago, it was Target, Home Depot and Sony that were hacked. This year it’s Equifax.

And now we can add the global consulting and accounting firm, Deloitte.

Hackers penetrated the company’s defenses last November. Deloitte didn’t discover the breach until four months later, in March of this year.

How do such attacks — where hackers roam a corporate network undetected, stealing valuable data over a period of weeks or months — keep happening? To answer, let me tell you a quick story.

Backstage Passes

When I was in college, I was a concert security guard.

It was easy enough work. I was generally assigned to keep people from congregating in front of a swath of emergency exit doors.

But at one all-star country music event, I wound up guarding the backstage holding area, where I was told to make sure only the main acts used the space — and to keep out their entourages and other hangers-on.

The place was crowded with people milling about. I knew Mel Tillis’ face; same for Carl Perkins. You can’t miss Barbara Mandrell.

But those bearded guys in street clothes, leaning against the back wall, looked suspicious — like they might have snuck in from the concert floor, a few dozen feet away.

It turned out they were one of country music’s biggest acts at the time, the Oak Ridge Boys!

The problem was the backstage passes. The promoters issued far too many. Some performers gave theirs away to buddies. Some never bothered wearing them at all.

So how was I supposed to know who belonged and who I needed to kick out?

That’s the same cybersecurity challenge faced by companies like Deloitte and Equifax.

Thwarting Cyberattacks

When someone needs access to a corporate computer system, they've issued the equivalent of a backstage pass — it’s called a “network credential.”

Big companies issue these credentials like candy. For instance, information technology (IT) departments often hire freelance programmers for a project, and they’ll issue network credentials so they can access the system.

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