Local companies seen as soft targets for hackers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2000, 12:00am

Hong Kong companies should commit more resources to protecting their computer systems from hackers, according to OnlineSecurity president Erik Laykin.

Los Angeles-based OnlineSecurity, which has an office in Hong Kong, helps companies make their computer systems safer.

'Many companies do not follow a rigid security policy,' said Mr Laykin at a lunch organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

'Of 10 clients I might have in Hong Kong, only two of them really take security seriously,' Mr Laykin said.

Companies were also too reactive and only sought to protect their computer systems after hacking incidents had occurred.

Computer hacking is on the rise in Hong Kong but companies have prevented such incidents becoming public.

Greater publicity for hacking cases would enable companies to learn from past incidents about how to secure their computer systems. Exchanging information would also help hackers improve, but companies would still benefit, according to Mr Laykin.

'The hackers are always going to be a step ahead - you just do not want them to be 10 steps ahead,' he said.

Despite efforts to protect computer networks, it was impossible to make a system that was completely safe.

'The only way to really protect yourself is to unplug your computer, which is not really an option.'

Governments should leave the protection of computer systems to the private sector rather than intervening with a heavy hand, according to Mr Laykin.