It's Not Easy Being Breached

Tuesday, 10 December 2002, 12:13 PM EST

A veteran CIO of a New York city-based financial services company learned in july 2002 that several vital files had vanished from one of his company's 25 servers. An employee had tried to find some information and failed. That's when IS discovered that there was, in fact, no company information on that particular server at all. Panicked, the CIO and his staff went into emergency mode. They soon discovered that a hacker had found his way through their firewall and wiped out all the production files on the server, leaving chaos and a couple of strangely labeled files in his wake. Two frantic days—and 15 hours of work—later, the alien files were deleted and the missing data restored through backup tapes. But it took an additional two weeks to be sure that the hacker hadn't accessed and tainted any of the company's 24 other servers.

All told, the CIO (who spoke on condition that his name not be used) reported that the breach cost the company $50,000. But when asked how he came up with that number, he said he honestly couldn't say. Because he really wasn't sure.

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