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Feb 04 2013

Cybersecurity Expert: Hacking Case Good Reminder to Enhance Protections

Manhattan, N.Y.  (February 4, 2012)  ̶  The recent New York Times hacking case is a reminder for companies to recognize that “everybody’s a target” and to bolster their cyber defenses to prevent attacks that could compromise their businesses, said NYIT cybersecurity expert Paolo Gasti, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences.

Gasti said investing in cybersecurity infrastructure is expensive but necessary as the number and scope of hacking incidents increase. NYIT Associate Professor Paolo Gasti

The US-government’s broadcast institution Voice of America interviewed Gasti last week for a video report after the newspaper published an extensive account of the hacking incident. The hackers are thought to have been Chinese, with possible ties to the military, who hacked into journalists' accounts as the Times reported stories about the wealth of China’s prime minister last fall.

While most companies keep hacking incidents secret if they can, the Times chose to publish a lengthy article on the hack.

“It’s easier for people to be more sympathetic” and view theTimes as a victim in the case, perhaps because no personal information from subscribers was stolen, said Gasti. “If it was your insurance company, you wouldn’t be (as sympathetic),” he added.

But despite the target and the information the hackers were apparently after, Gasti said all companies need continued vigilance for their systems.

“There are general rules that you’re supposed to follow: keeping software updated, installing security patches and anti-virus software, and having more layers of protections,” Gasti said. “You want to make sure you just don’t protect the perimeter of your network.”

Gasti is one of several cybersecurity experts in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. He was among the faculty speakers at NYIT's annual Cybersecurity Conference last September.

Gasti advised a “calm and moderate” approach, with the recognition that hackers have persistence and the capability to infiltrate companies.

“The main lesson here is that no one can consider themselves not interesting for these attackers,” he said.  “It’s expensive to run a more secure company but this shows it’s worth investing in the infrastructure. It should become more and more obvious that you cannot avoid investing in this anymore.”

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