Wednesday, June 29, 2005

TECH| ‘Survival Time’ must be increased!

The danger to an unprotected PC, connected to the Internet, has reached such a high degree that there's a new measure called 'Survival Time'; which is a benchmark to determine how dangerous virus and hack attacks have become.

Recently, the SANS Internet Storm Center, announced some good news. Apparently, the survival time has more than doubled since September 2004.

The ‘official’ reason is the adoption of Windows Service Pack 2, which provides a supposedly comprehensive security upgrade for Windows XP.

Experts though, also have a theory that the absence of a major virus scare, on the scale of the Sasser worm that hit in Spring 2004, has also helped.

In any case, the time gained in the 'survival time' measure is still not that large.

An unguarded Windows computer- without firewall and critical security patches- can expect to be hacked within little more than 40 minutes of going online. Imagine that!

The scale of attacks is potentially explosive, as infected PCs become 'bots', which means they can be remotely controlled by hackers and used to send viruses and Trojans to all addresses on that PC; or can be manipulated to distribute information and data across networks.

The criminal opportunities that Windows vulnerabilities, and hacker talents, have opened up are becoming a worldwide concern.

All new terms you hear like 'phishing', 'pharming', 'botting' and others refer to activities only possible on a network once it has been penetrated by hackers. Nowadays, there's so much more at stake than just data damage.

Data theft and manipulation, in an age when information is critical and computer networks rule the global transaction process, requires serious steps.
Governments and corporations have found that it’s not enough for them to protect their own networks. In a connected world, small businesses and home users must also play their part. Otherwise, threats will find their way into the networks of bigger organizations.

Now, more than ever before, computer users must take preventive measure. They must firewall and patch their systems.

They must constantly update their anti-virus software, and use anti-spyware to prevent Trojans from opening backdoors to their PCs and networks.

There are many sources on the web for all these products, some are freeware (the Microsoft patches, some anti-virus and anti-spyware), while some must be bought and are worth every penny. Norton Anti-Virus and Adaware ar among your best options in both fields.
Every one of us can make his/her tiny contribution to increasing overall survival time.

If you want your data to survive, you must take action. Find out how secure, or insecure, your PC actually is.


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