People the Achilles’ heel of computer security: hackers, pros

LAS VEGAS, Aug 7, 2006 (AFP) – The most vexing weakness in computer security is not in the hardware or the software, it is in the people who use the machines, according to top hackers and cyber safety specialists. “It really is more of a human problem than a technical problem,” Dan Kaminisky of Dox Para Research said at the world’s premier hacker conference, DefCon, which ended in Las Vegas on Sunday.

“We could do a better job making it clear how people can make themselves safe. We can’t stop them from shooting themselves in the foot.”

Computer network managers at the conference confided that workers routinely left passwords on notes taped to machines or under keyboards and shared supposedly secret access codes with co-workers.

Celebrity hotel heiress Paris Hilton had a trove of contact numbers for famous friends raided by someone who hacked their way into her mobile telephone using a predictable default password, the name of her pet, DefCon attendees joked.

One conference room at the casino where DefCon devotees gathered had a “Wall of Sheep,” that bore countless names and passwords “sniffed” from unsecured computers via the Internet.

A popular T-shirt among DefCon attendees was one bearing a