The Genesis of a Security Crisis

Carl Weinschenk

The image of data theft for most people is a clever hacker sitting in a dark basement plotting ingenious ways around cyber security. More recently, the popular imagination has switched to organized crime syndicates operating out of shadowy Russian networks.

There is another image, however: actually making off with servers. That's what happened to former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel. Last week, according to the WHIR, Gabriel's servers were stolen. The story, citing reports in The Register, said that details are scarce. The story refers to server thefts in Chicago and London last year.

Actual theft or loss of servers is, thankfully, a rather rare occurrence. But it does happen.

Written with the Peter Gabriel news in mind, PC Sympathy provides tips on how to avoid having servers stolen and otherwise keep them safe. The writer suggests installing them in a dedicated place, restricting physical access to authorized people, monitoring via video, logging people in and out, using areas in the building that don't have external walls, and favoring remote procedures that cut down on the need for physical access. Keep in mind that insiders trying to physically steal data prefer to take the machines instead of risking these illegal activities in the data center or closet.


It is worth noting that some of these tips have more than one potential benefit. For instance, keeping servers out of the basement and off the ground floor both cuts down on the chance of theft and makes it less likely that devices will be damaged in a flood. Likewise, restricting physical access cuts down on accidental damage as well as theft.

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