Internet security - the vital component
Computers are now an integral part of everyday life. It is hard to imagine a working environment or even your home without the quiet hum of a
computer in the background. But these bastions of technology have an Achilles heal - they are vulnerable to attack.
The flaw in the design
Because the Internet is an â€˜open' network, anyone with the will and the ability can access almost any area of the system. Malicious activity on the
Internet is a growing problem, particularly with the amount of sensitive data that the average computer stores. This can include everything from
passwords to bank account details, making it relatively easy for the determined hacker to access your data and even steal your identity.
Hackers employ various methods for gaining access to systems. In business, companies perform audits to find out where their system is open to
attack. An audit replicates the methods hackers use, looking for weak spots and vulnerability within the network. These audits are known as
â€˜penetration testing' and involve isolating mild, moderate and critical security threats and then determining the best course of action to beat the
hackers. For business users, Internet security should be a priority, and not one that is regarded as a â€˜once every so often' check but a daily routine.
A penetration test should target two key areas - preventing financial loss through fraud and also through unreliable business systems and processes.
Failing to carry out these checks regularly could mean lost business, lost profits and a lost reputation.
A more personal level
For home users, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your computer from attack. The first and most basic level is to add Internet
security in the form of effective firewalls and anti-viral software. Most operating systems (such as Windows, Apple or Linux) come with their own inbuilt
security systems. Although fairly good for basic use, it is advisable to upgrade this security on a regular basis. Updates for ope