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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Your computer security at stake: act right

How many of us now remember Robert Morris, Junior? This tenured MIT professor, while creating the first worm in the history of computer and networking, purely wanted to fix system loopholes. Objective was academic.
Very few of today’s hackers believe in academic philanthropy. Cyber crime is an industry now. In a 2011 report, Symantec assumed that global net worth of cyber crime industry could be anywhere around US$114 billion. Major revenue sources are – spying, stealing, and sabotage. Both of business and home users are equally at risk.

Threats to computer and network security

Computer and network Security are mainly vulnerable to hardware and cyber threats. Often these two are quite intertwined, creating lot of grey areas. Security breaches might start from direct physical access to computers or it might be set off from cyber dome. Either way they bring in lot of problems. Main causes are – administrative lapse and cyber security lapse.

Administrative lapse –

It’s the failure to sterilize or protect system and network from unauthorized and unwanted physical accesses. This might also happen due to improper dumping of discarded media (like, tape, disks etc.) and documents containing sensitive data. These are like gifting clues to your enemy.

Cyber security lapse –

This is more common. Technology behind computer security systems are mostly logic driven. Software designers set down certain security policies for any system or network of systems; and define trustworthiness in terms of those policy parameters. Weakness in logic simply makes the whole security vulnerable. Until you realize, you might be sleeping with enemy and remain content with a fake sense of security.
Most common types of computer security threats are,
1. Trojan horse and viral attacks
2. Worms
3. Zombie systems
4. Phishing
5. Unsecured or weakly secured system end points
6. Social engineering
7. Spywares

What you can do?

In the US, companies roughly spent $75 billion in FY2011 to find the answer to this question. Every business must maintain a computer and network security compliance structure with a basic check list. We have an example.
1. Ensure multiple layers of security in terms of access to systems and networks.
2. Define responsibility as clearly as possible to bring in accountability.
3. Keep a vigilant eye on the computer security.
For home users, basic advices are,
1. Arm system with computer security software (not the free ones).
2. Don’t venture into unknown territories, might get caught with pants down (no pun intended).
3. Stay away from sharing sensitive information in open forum.
Secure your computer, make life safer

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