Feb. 21--BLOOMINGTON -- Burger King was the victim of a whopper of an embarrassment this week. Its Twitter feed was taken over by hackers, who posted the golden arches of rival McDonald's and some offensive tweets.
The next day, Jeep's Twitter feed proclaimed the company had been "sold" to competitor Cadillac, and more offensive remarks were tweeted.
The reports have made people and businesses in Bloomington-Normal aware they, too, can be the subject of Internet attacks, said Doug Twitchell, associate professor of information technology at Illinois State University. Most companies already have network security protocols in place, said Twitchell, adding ongoing review of risks and safety measures is necessary to prevent attacks.
"Continuous training is definitely helpful. But even training can be behind. There are continuous types of attacks week by week," said Twitchell. "You have to have people who are able and ready to respond to those new vulnerabilities."
Twitchell teaches courses on information security, risk management and ways of responding to attacks. He also works with area employers to train students in the field. He said small companies are most at risk for attacks that can result in loss of money, while large companies are most at risk for attacks aimed at obtaining intellectual property.
It's important for businesses to have well-trained IT staff that continually monitor security threats, he said.
Media reports of attacks also have increased awareness for the need for security among the general population.
At Connecting Point in Bloomington workers this week have fielded inquiries from customers who are fearful they could be hacked or at risk of identity theft, said store manager Bryan Jackson. He added that most recent Mac technology has built-in security that can minimize risks for consumers.
"Mac has so many security features; it's almost like the computer is build like Fort Knox with security," said Jackson.
Mark Spellman, store manger at Computer Deli in Bloomington, advises customers to update their Java and Flash programs and to install antivirus programs on their personal computers.
"Most people disregard those and that is one of the more common ways people get hacked," said Spellman. He said a common virus now involves hackers who claim to represent the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ask for money.
"It tells them 'You've been downloading illegal stuff and we've been watching you and you have to pay a certain amount,'" said Spellman. "It's just a scam."
Copyright 2013 - The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.