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Protecting a network from revenge hacks

Our company is going to be doing some layoffs in the near future and we're wondering how to protect ourselves from revenge hackers. How can we protect our network from disgruntled employees?

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Good question and a tough one to answer.

First, when the time comes to give the news about the layoffs, be sure that those employee's access to the system has been removed. Typically, those laid-off should be allowed to clean out their office/desk, then leave the premises. They should not be allowed to access their computer systems. If they protest that they need to get some personal files, they should be reminded that they weren't supposed to have any personal files on their computers anyway.

Next -- and you should already be doing this -- ensure that your systems are secure from Internet based attacks. While there could always be attacks from the Internet,you've already pointed out that the threat could be much higher for some time to come.

Finally, check with your company lawyers about how to remind employees about protecting any company trade secrets or other intellectual property. You don't want that going to your competitors. However, that is the most difficult of the problems you have to solve.

This was first published in July 2001

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