Gregston Chu doesn't look dangerous. He's a clean-cut, 28-year-old who looks much younger. But don't let his casual business attire and unassuming appearance fool you.
He's perfectly capable of breaking into your computer system.
The only thing that might give a hint to Chu's ability is that he works with a colleague, 25-year-old Brian Holyfield, whose polo shirt has printed on it: eXtreme Hacking.
Chu and Holyfield are attack and penetration specialists for consulting firm Ernst & Young LLP. Based in Houston, they are hired to hack into corporate networks and expose network vulnerabilities.
"We simulate hackerlike activities," Chu says.
"There hasn't been one company we haven't owned," he says, referring to accessing a company's central information systems from inside the corporate firewall. Even outside the firewall, Chu says his team gets full system access 50 percent to 60 percent of the time.
System security is a top IT issue. The Computer Security Institute (gocsi.com) says 80 percent of the respondents to an April survey acknowledged financial losses because of computer breaches.
Chu and Holyfield also teach hacking courses for network administrators around the country. The courses show administrators where holes exist in their systems.
The automotive industry's supply chain is rife with opportunity for such holes, says Christopher Frith. He is a certified information systems security professional for Ernst & Young's Global Automotive Center in Troy, Mich. (ey.com).