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Friday, May 27, 2011

Network Security Threats: What's Out There?

Network Security is the active and continual protection of your computer network infrastructure from any and all intended threats. This would include not only the removal of all network security threats, but the constant monitoring of potential threats.

Personal and business information that is sensitive and confidential needs to be protected from a hacker’s unauthorized access. Computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, adware, crimeware and other forms of malicious software designed to target bandwidth or the performance of your computer or network are growing threats to users who wish to work and play safely online.

Imagine the damage that can be done to your computer network when you open an email that contains a program capable of replicating itself with a type of “payload code” that overloads your network’s ability to handle it by consuming bandwidth. The result is decreased performance and general havoc as the worm swims throughout your network, deleting some of your critical files along the way and encrypting other files in order to deny you access to your own information.

Viruses are mild in comparison to this type of threat, because they only corrupt and devour files, whereas computer worms literally take over your computer network, turning your once useful source of information technology into a zombie that will only obey the commands of your enemy, the worm. Imagine the horror when the worm suddenly decides to display images, such as child pornography on your computer screen.

Trojan horses are malicious types of software that appear to be beneficial programs, but once installed, allows any unethical hacker out there to access privileged information such as passwords, security codes or even your credit card or bank account information. Hackers will even be able to upload or download any file they wish and they will have the ability to alter existing files in your computer.

Rootkits are programs that are designed to hide their presence as they take over the operating system of the targeted computer. These types of malicious software will install back doors or files that allow intruders to access your system without the use of log-in information or passwords, thus giving them control to install other software like worms or viruses.

Spyware and adware work together in a desperate attempt to get your business, sort of like the door to door salesman that sticks his foot in your door and won’t leave. Spyware has the capability of spying on you while you browse online to see what types of websites you frequently visit or what your general interests are. Then adware will force onto the screen massive amounts of advertisements to hopefully sell you their products.

Sometimes designers of these programs guarantee results to potential advertisers with the words, “unblockable pop-up advertising”. Crimeware is designed to specifically get into your bank account or other financial institution in the form of identity theft to basically steal money or other goods from you.

If all of this information is scaring you, I’m sorry. The world of crime is not for the faint of heart. However, the best way to avoid ever having to face these types of network security threats is by hiring a Network Security specialist.

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