Network & internet security :

There are many benefits we gain from our inter-connected computing environment, and in many ways, we would find both our work and home lives difficult without our access to millions of computers throughout the world. The benefits we gain are tremendous, but we must remain clear about the threats we face.

Viruses

Our initial concerns were viruses, these have now been around for many years, and most computer users are aware of the need to protect themselves. There are many companies providing anti-virus products, most of them performing well and keeping us safe. Where can things go wrong with anti-virus products?

As new viruses are being released, security software companies analyse them, define how to remove them, then deliver fixes for these latest attacks to their subscribed user base.
It is vitally important that the software you have installed to protect your network is always updated with the latest virus definition files.

Too many companies choose the 'set it and forget it' approach and assume that the updates are happening correctly. Check your firewall to ensure that it is allowing anti-virus updates, and make sure that all of your network clients, including servers and workstations have the latest definition files.

Spyware

Spyware may be downloaded unknowingly by your users. Spyware will monitor your browsing habits, sometimes capture keystrokes, read your email addresses and send this information back to its host. Software is available which will scan your workstations for spyware, but it is better to stop this malware before it gets to the machine. This can be achieved by the installation of a spyware blocker which will protect users from browsing websites that install malware and scan network traffic to block spyware before users can install it.

Phishing

Identity thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated with email and website spoofs that are nearly impossible to discern from the real thing. If your identity is stolen, it can cause havoc in your business.
APACS, the UK Payment Association reported in 2008 :-  "APACS, the UK payments association, has today (15 April 2008) advised about the increasing numbers of phishing attacks in the UK and reminded consumers of the tips to help them avoid falling victim to such crimes. Phishing has become far more frequent in recent months with the latest APACS data showing more than 10,000 reported phishing incidents in the first quarter of 2008 – up over 200 per cent from the same period last year."
The installation of a phishing blocker will help to repel many of the web or email based attacks, but we must still be mindful that phishing attacks are sometimes delivered by telephone.