Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Employees weakest link in cybersecurity, says world's greatest hacker

Cybercrime is everywhere and the threats are becoming more sophisticated. Photo / iStock
Cybercrime is everywhere and the threats are becoming more sophisticated. Photo / iStock

Employees are the weak link when it comes to cyberthreats on corporates, according to the man who was once the FBI's most-wanted hacker.

Kevin Mitnick, who has hacked into some of the world's most well-guarded computer systems, is now a "white-hat hacker" who is paid to expose the weak points where businesses or orgainsations may be exposed to cyberthreats.

Mitnick is coming to New Zealand to address business leaders on cybercrime and teach them how to mitigate the risk it poses to their companies.

In the mid-1980s Mitnick was able to hack into the systems behind some of the biggest telcos in the United States and gained control of the phone services for many states.

Kevin Mitnick is coming to New Zealand. Photo / Supplied
Kevin Mitnick is coming to New Zealand. Photo / Supplied

Nothing was tampered with and there was no damage caused, Mitnick said.

"It was obtaining a trophy. Gaining this access, I was like a trophy hunter, I just wanted to see if i could actually do it, like climbing Mt Everest."

Since putting on his "white hat", Mitnick runs "penetration tests", where organisations ask him to hack into systems to test vulnerabilities.

"The goal of ethical hacking is for the company to understand what their security posture is at any given time."

His August conference in Auckland will feature him performing a live test in real time, showing just how easy it can be for hackers to gain control of computer systems.

"The only way to really test that is by testing your infrastructure and testing your people," Mitnick said.

"We help the company identify where their security vulnerabilities lie and what they need to mitigate so they don't become the victim."

Mitnick said in all corporations the weakest link is the staff.

"All the bad guy has to do is find one person inside an organisation who is going to open up an attachment sent in an email."

Mitnick's event will be on August 22 at the SkyCity Convention Centre. Tickets available here.

- NZ Herald

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