IT security firm Sophos today reveals important new research
into a brand new method of protecting sensitive data on business
networks. As well as including the technology, called "Protection
through Distraction", into the next version of its software, Sophos
will also begin to roll out the technology to select customers as
soon as possible.
Data protection is a key security issue for many companies, and
existing technologies, such as encryption, data loss prevention
(DLP), firewalls and anti-spyware, do provide a good defence.
However, SophosLabs tests have revealed that specific content can
distract hackers from highly sensitive corporate information, the
most successful at sidetracking hackers is romantic fiction.
Sophos research shows that by flooding networks with romantic
literature, you can build an additional level of defence against
hackers. Not only will they find it harder to uncover your
confidential information, but they can also be distracted for over
1.4 hours, giving IT security teams the necessary time to identify
the security breach and take the appropriate measures to protect
sensitive data on the network.
"It was certainly a surprise to find that romantic fiction
successfully distracts hackers from their purpose, but when we
thought about it, all became clear," said Carole
Theriault, senior security analyst at Sophos. "Basically, the
security industry as a whole has missed a trick, and that is
exploiting the Achilles' heel of hackers. They're human, just like
the rest of us. And if you give them something titillating to
peruse, they can't restrain themselves. It's a little like luring a
mouse into a trap: they may sense the danger but cannot resist a
little morsel of cheese."
Sophos have made available a YouTube video providing more
information and insight into "Protection through Distraction":
(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel
and subscribe if you like)
Can you write romantic fiction? Join us in the fight against
Analysts at SophosLabs have been tasked with writing romantic
fiction alongside their regular anti-malware and anti-spam duties.
However, there is a concern that hackers could create Anti-Romance
Scanners to identify the work written by Sophos researchers, so the
IT security leader is appealing for help from the online
"It's as though the good guys and bad guys have swapped sides -
we are now trying to obfuscate our romantic fiction from their
anti-romance scanners," continued Theriault. "With a wider variety
of romantic plots and more people's imagination to pool, we will
have a high level of content ready to roll across our customers'
To help launch this appeal, Sophos has written the
opening few paragraphs to a romantic story set in the IT
market. The company is asking the online community to continue the
story by sending up to 500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All entries will be entered into the "Protection through
Distraction" database, but Sophos judges will choose a favourite
entry on 6 April and post it the Sophos website by Friday April 9.
The winning contributor will also be sent a prize.
More information can be found at http://www.sophos.com/romance
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.