2004: A Year
for Internet Security
Internet security was unquestionably the hottest IT topic
of 2004. It was a stellar year of technological advancement within
the Linux, open source, and proprietary industries; however, it
was also a year of Windows insecurity, phishing attacks, and impromptu
virus incidents. Unfortunately for the weak of heart in the technology
industry it is more likely than not that Internet users will continue
to endure the ongoing and various forms of Internet threats facing
corporate networks in2010.
A Year in
Microsoft loyalists found themselves in quite a predicament when
their flagship operating and Web programs were bombarded with worm
and Trojan horse attacks. Vulnerabilities found in various Microsoft
applications became an every day occurrence putting millions of
users and thousands of corporate networks in danger.
Microsoft users were not the only victims of 2004's insecurity,
however. All email users noticed an insufferable increase in unsolicited
emails offering everything from cheap medical supplies and college
degrees to low interest mortgages and spam protection (isn't
it ironic?). As a result, spam occurrences in 2004 brought the magic
number from 50% to 60%. That's right, as we speak spam accounts
for a near 60% of all email traffic, denoting that the existence
and management of unsolicited email will continue to become quite
a burden on system and user productivity.
Not only had the amount of spam increased but it also became more
sophisticated in 2004. Phishing became quite a popular technology
buzzword this year due to the large increase of this little known
threat. Phishing attacks con users into opening unsolicited emails
by making them appear to be legitimate or as if they are coming
from a known address. These types of attacks are mainly used for
the collection of confidential information for the purposes of identity
theft. Not only does it affect an unsuspecting victim, phishing
attacks also result in the diminishment of the reputation of the
trusted organization being impersonating. AOL, eBay, and the Citibank
Corporation were the most popular companies being imitated this
year leaving them with a number of untrusting and victimized customers.
Finally, probably the most disturbing trend in Internet security
this year was not necessarily the increase in Internet threats but
more their timely successes. Hackers were distributing malicious
code faster then ever and many vendors had problems issuing the
appropriate patches to their customers before those vulnerabilities
were successfully exploited. Thousands of computer users both corporate
and home were affected by an Internet attack of some nature, costing
millions of dollars in damages and recovery costs worldwide.
With the security of corporate networks becoming a foremost concern
what will users be facing in2010? Organizations, especially those
relying on the performance of their network for everyday operations,
need to be prepared for an increase in unsolicited email, virus
outbreaks, phishing attacks, and other forms of blended threats.
Hackers and spammers will continue to develop and execute clever
and inconspicuous ways of harming individual usres and corporate
The best defense is awareness. It is essential that corporations
continue to view Internet security as a top priority and budget
accordingly. Information technology evolves with every passing day,
and as such, Internet threats and ways to protect against them are
developed and distributed. It is of the utmost importance that IT
managers keep abreast of vendor advisories and accomplishments and
update their systems accordingly. Networks updated with the latest
security solutions including spam, virus, and intrusion detection
and prevention applications will provide adequate protection for
corporate networks ensuring the ongoing security of online assets
Wreski, CEO, Guardian Digital, Inc.
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Behind the Shield editors encourage their readers to submit questions.
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from the Experts
Digital is pleased to provide Behind the Shield readers with informative
expert advice on what network security really means. Each month
a new topic of interest will be chosen to supply you with useful
tips and information not offered elsewhere. This month we will have
a brief discussion on phishing prevention.
is a form of email fraud in which emails are masked to look as if
they are from a legitimate source in an effort to gather confidential
information about a user. In many cases the email will claim to
be from a bank or service provider asking for updated account information.
Often times the email will contain a link bringing the user to a
rogue website designed to look like the company they are impersonating
in an effort to try to further substantiate their claim. An unsuspecting
victim will provide the information thinking the correspondence
is legitimate and in seconds their personal information is public
Luckily prevention is simple—Never give out personal information
through email. Legitimate companies would never ask for that kind
of information via email. While there are measures being looked
into on how to prevent this type of fraud completely, it is unclear
on how to do so. The best prevention is to make sure to keep confidential
information like social security numbers and credit card and bank
information private. If, however, you are concerned the message
may have come from a valid source it is always best to call the
organization and verify the correspondence before providing any
Through national and multi-national partners like MagicTree Solutions
in the Netherlands, Guardian Digital is able to provide their productivity
and security solutions to customers worldwide.
MagicTree Solutions, a Dutch security and storage solution provider
and worldwide partner of Guardian Digital, provides cost-effective
security solutions based on Guardian Digital's award winning portfolio
of products. Writes Theo Overboom, CEO of MagicTree Solutions, "We
partnered with Guardian Digital because of the reliability and ease
of use their products deliver to our customers."
For further information on MagicTree Solutions please visit their
website at www.magictree.nl