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Hackers Tend to Take the Summers Off

Even hackers need to take a breather when the weather gets warms.

According to the Hacker Habits survey by Ramat Gan, Israel-based security management company Tufin Technologies, 79 hackers attending the Defcon 17 conference in Las Vegas said they are less likely to ply their "craft" in the summer months than they are during Christmas and New Years.

Eighty-one percent of participants revealed they are far more active during the winter holidays, with 56 percent citing Christmas as the best time to engage in corporate hacking and 25 percent specifically naming New Years Eve.

"The survey reveals that the Christmas and New Year holidays are popular with hackers targeting western countries," said Michael Hamelin, chief security architect, Tufin Technologies, in a statement. "Hackers know this is when people relax and let their hair down, and many organizations run on a skeleton staff over the holiday period."

The time to be most on guard is weekday evenings, with 52 percent saying that is when they spend most of their time hacking, versus 32 percent during work hours and 15 percent on weekends.

Other findings include:

  • The majority of participants (96 percent) feel companies are wasting their money on security systems if IT security administrators fail to configure and watch over their firewalls.
  • Eighty-six percent of respondents felt they could successfully hack into a network via the firewall; 25 percent believed they could do so within minutes; 14 percent within a few hours.
  • Sixteen percent wouldn't hack into a firewall even if they could.
  • Most (70 percent) do not feel regulations introduced by governments worldwide to implement privacy, security and process controls have made any difference to their chances of hacking into a corporate network. Of the remaining 30 percent, 15 percent said compliance initiatives have made hacking more difficult and 15 percent believe they've made it easier.
  • A further 70 percent of those sampled believe the number of malicious hackers who are criminals motivated by economic gain is less then 25 percent of the of hacker community.

"I never fail to leave DefCon without new insights on the nature of cyber crime and how to prevent it," said Hamelin. "My biggest take-aways from the survey are that cyber security investments are only as effective as the people, processes and technology tasked with managing them. Just as a small subset of criminal hackers can taint the reputation of an entire community, a few good guys willing to be accountable for their internal processes and technology can preserve a company's reputation. With winter right around the corner, we have time to shift the dynamic from 86 percent who can hack into a network through its firewalls to 86 percent that can't."

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