Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Hackers Snatch Real-Time Security ID Numbers

Saul Hansell writes on the New York Time's "Bits" Blog:

The world’s savviest hackers are on to the “real-time Web” and using it to devilish effect. The real-time Web is the fire hose of information coming from services like Twitter. The latest generation of Trojans — nasty little programs that hacking gangs use to burrow onto your computer — sends a Twitter-like stream of updates about everything you do back to their controllers, many of whom, researchers say, are in Eastern Europe. Trojans used to just accumulate secret diaries of your Web surfing and periodically sent the results on to the hacker.

The security world first spotted these new attacks last year. I ran into it again while reporting an article in Thursday’s Times about a lawsuit meant to help track down the perpetrators of these attacks.

By going real time, hackers now can get around some of the roadblocks that companies have put in their way. Most significantly, they are now undeterred by systems that create temporary passwords, such as RSA’s SecurID system, which involves a small gadget that displays a six-digit number that changes every minute based on a complex formula.

More here.


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