IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Fibre-optic networks vulnerable to hacking

Hackers can access data by tapping the fibre-optic networks used by businesses around the world, according to an IDC report.

Fibre-optic cable networks are not as secure as believed - with new technology making it easy for hackers to steal data from them, according to an IDC report.

IDC research analyst Romain Fouchereau said that the reputation of a fibre-optic cable network as more secure than copper cables wasn't justified, and that new and inexpensive technologies have now made data theft easily possible for hackers without detection.

Organisations that carry sensitive information across fibre-optic cables are potentially vulnerable from criminal threats, as much of the cabling is easily accessible and not well protected. Fouchereau said that hacks on optical networks could be achieved simply by extracting light from ultra-thin fibres.

Once a successful tap has been achieved, software that records, monitors and analyses the data (called packet sniffers), can capture the data.

"Organisations in the financial, insurance, healthcare, and government sectors deliver sensitive information across fibre-optic cables around the world," Fouchereau said in the report.

"Hence, capturing or eavesdropping on this data serves not only military purposes. Industrial espionage in these sectors is worth billions of dollars."

The report also includes some past incidents of optical fibre networks being hacked, such as credit card breaches, government eavesdropping, and the criminal monitoring of big pharmaceutical companies in the UK.

Fouchereau said that as it was impossible to monitor the entire optical fibre network, the only solution to prevent it currently available is through encryption which would render the data useless to hackers.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system
cyber security

Nigerian cyber criminals target Texas unemployment system

27 May 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022
Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers
Careers & training

Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers

17 May 2022