Recently, thousands of employees at the Iowa racing and gamingcommission had records with their names, birth dates and socialsecurity numbers compromised when a hacker broke into thecommission's server.

According to early reports, the breach was caused by changes inconfiguration. Michael Maloof, chief technology officer at TriGeoNetwork Security, said that this is the most common way hackers getinto systems to steal secure information.

Phil Neray, vice president of security strategy at Guardium,said that criminals now have automated tools that allow them tosearch for vulnerable Web sites. Maloof added that over the lastsix to 18 months the trend has been to target smaller companies andinstitutions.

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