Security experts have warned that overseas offices are being targeted by cybercriminals looking for weak links in IT security policies.
Crackers are increasingly attacking US or European companies by defacing the websites of their satellite offices. Experts warn that this pattern may be repeated in industrial espionage aimed at compromising general network security.
Richard Barber, technical adviser at consultant Articom-Integralis, said: "Large businesses may not have a clear view of satellite offices. They may need mobile security teams who can visit overseas offices to audit security there.
"It's not unheard of in cases of industrial espionage in the UK for companies to find a modem has been added to one of their servers. It would be easier to repeat this procedure in satellite offices where security may not be as tight."
He added: "Not having a global security policy is like not checking all the doors on your house are locked at night."
Security is considered less of an issue internationally, to the extent that a report issued on Friday found that only nine of 52 countries examined have extended their criminal laws to cover cybercrimes. Recent attacks by hackers have highlighted that overseas websites are vulnerable.
In December alone, websites of car manufacturers BMW (France), Renault (South Africa), Chevrolet (India and Argentina), Opel (India) have all been defaced, along with the Brazilian website of security firm Network Associates.
Chris McNabb, network security analyst at MIS Corporate Defence Solutions, told vnunet.com: "More than anything, it's about protecting your brand. When a company suffers this kind of hack it shows they don't have a unified policy. Not having such a policy creates weak links in the chain, which hackers then use to try and gain access to a company's more sensitive areas.
"It's massively important that companies do have a global security policy, especially if they have a strong brand to protect. Too many companies are practising security through obscurity, which doesn't work."
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