Mountain View company fights back against hackers with 'Cyber War Games'

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KTVU) - Cyber security experts say health care is the new frontier for hackers.

Symantec, headquartered in Mountain View, says it's fighting back by arming its employees with new knowledge in the form of cyber war games to give them the battlefield advantage against hackers.

This is the fourth year the company is running what it calls "Cyber War Games," a competition among employees to try to prevent hackers from stealing.

Forty workers from 10 countries, including those from Europe and Asia, armed themselves with skills to fight hacking.

"It is very exciting to play those competitions... there's adrenalin rush," said Candid Wuest, a cyber-investigator with Symantec.

While employees say it's challenging and fun learning to think and act like a hacker, it's about the business of protecting businesses.

Symantec says this contest theme of protecting the health care industry was planned months before the breach at Anthem.

"This will definitely help me do security testing for mobile applications," said Nikita Rathod, a software quality engineer.

Symantec says hackers are now targeting health care because stolen

medical records can be sold on the black market for 10 times more than credit card numbers.

Each person's medical information can sell anywhere from $300 up to thousands of dollars.

"Somebody may want plastic surgery for example, using your identity and using your insurance to conduct and pay for that," said Samir Kapuria, Symantec's VP of cyber security.

KTVU asked Kapuria if the health care industry isn't so quick to detect fraud to which he replied, "Financial services is an industry that has grown up protecting against fraud and criminals."

But not so for the health care industry - making them more vulnerable.

The cyber war games allow the employees to get into the mindset of a hacker to understand motive. Symantec says most often it's monetary gain but also sabotage and terrorism.

Kapuria pointed to a screen to demonstrate the company's monitoring of real time hacking attacking around the world for its clients.

For employee Candid Wuest who has competed every year, the challenge is always about staying ahead of hackers and protecting potential victims, "If you make a hospital not function anymore or if you get a power grid that can really hurt someone."

Symantec says it's always easier to hack into a system than to protect against hackers