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News

MI5 hack warning from Sophos

Sophos : 31 July, 2009  (Technical Article)
Good risk assessment can prevent web sites from being compromised in a similar way to the recent MI5 breach warns Sophos
IT security and data protection firm Sophos is urging website owners to assess the risks posed by hackers following media reports that MI5's website was compromised by hackers.

The 'Team Elite' hacking gang reportedly broke into the website of MI5, the United Kingdom's counter-intelligence and security agency, gathering information about everybody who visited the site. The authorities claim to have fixed the flaw - so visitors to the site are no longer at risk.

Although Tory MP Patrick Mercer has responded by saying 'The identity of agents and informers in terror groups such as Al Qaeda are held by MI5', experts at Sophos note that the hack itself is highly unlikely to have compromised classified information. However, the fact that the website of an institution such as MI5 has experienced a breach should act as a reminder of the security risks currently faced by all websites.

'Web infection is one of the primary routes by which hackers are trying to infect innocent computer users - and most of these attacks are occurring via legitimate sites, just like MI5's,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'Website owners should take this as a warning that they are vulnerable to embarrassing hacks if they are not properly protected.'

Sophos's recent security threat report revealed that the company's global network of researchers and analysts - SophosLabs - discovers one new infected webpage every 3.6 seconds - four times faster than in the first half of 2008.
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