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Two spectacular IT security blunders in 2011

Filed under: IT Security — Mark on January 10, 2012

Every industry has its moments of mistakes and blunder. The fast changing world of IT security has seen plenty over the past 12 months with many finding their source at the heart of the industry. Here are two of the most spectacular blunders of 2011 for IT security:

Could your printer kill you?

This particular IT security blunder was in reference to an innocent printer that became the source of panic and a possible threat to life. You may think the printer concerned was networked in giving cyber criminals a new gateway to personal data – however you would be wrong. This particular printer alarmed those in cyber security jobs as it was claimed that terrorists could hijack and detonate it remotely.

Columbia University researchers warned that people in IT security jobs should be aware that hackers could cause printer paper to ignite by disabling the thermal safety switch. HP quickly put pay to these claims by confirming that it was impossible for the thermal switch to be accessed this way.

Information security recruitment blunder

Within the IT security recruitment sector there was one particular episode that stands out when looking back on 2011. The UK GCHQ, an agency responsible for national information security ran their own recruitment campaign to attract talented people to IT security vacancies at the agency. Using a code breaking challenge candidates attempted to solve the puzzle to gain access to the agency’s recruitment site. However, the campaign received a certain amount of ridicule when it was discovered that a quick Google search led candidates directly to the webpage which should only have been accessible to those who broke the code – oops!

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