FireEye hack portends a scary era of cyber insecurity

What happens when a top cyber-security company whose job is to protect its clients from hackers is itself hacked and its tools of the trade stolen?

FireEye, an American company specialising in digital warfare, said on Tuesday that its servers had been hacked. The firm added that the hackers focused primarily on information from its government clients. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
FireEye, an American company specialising in digital warfare, said on Tuesday that its servers had been hacked. The firm added that the hackers focused primarily on information from its government clients. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Unless you're an information technology guru, or someone whose professional duties include protecting computer networks from cyber attacks, you may not have heard of FireEye, a little company in Milpitas, California, specialising in digital warfare. But you should pay attention to what happened to FireEye recently, because it speaks volumes about persistent threats to private and public security - and the high-stakes robberies that plague even the most sophisticated operators.

FireEye chief executive Kevin Mandia disclosed on Tuesday that his company's servers had been hacked. Given that the company is a go-to enterprise for governments and corporations bloodied by hackers and rely on FireEye to defend or rescue them by identifying and blocking breaches, Mr Mandia's disclosure is revealing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2020, with the headline 'FireEye hack portends a scary era of cyber insecurity'. Subscribe