We all know about the bugs and worms that invade our computers when we don’t take proper precautions, but the buzzing noise coming from my PC recently sounded more like giant bumblebees. quick trip to the repair shop revealed fan that had succumbed to dust invasion and after quick oil and grease things were humming, or rather not humming, once again.
The computer shop file clean up revealed something little more disturbing, however. It seemed that around 2500 so-called “cookies” had invited themselves to camp out on my increasingly overworked hard drive.
A cookie is information sent by web server to user’s browser – such as login or registration identification, user preferences, and online ‘shopping cart’ information. The browser saves the information, and sends it back to the web server whenever the browser returns to the website. The web server may use the cookie to customise the display it sends to the user, or it may keep track of different pages within the site that the user accesses. Browsers may be configured to alert the user when cookie is being sent, or to refuse to accept cookies. Some sites, however, cannot be accessed unless the browser accepts cookies!
So now my computer is equipped with Ad-Aware software – program designed to search and destroy those gatecrashers – job that my anti-virus (AV) software wasn’t up to doing. This whole experience tells me that you can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your computer files, and you certainly need to carry out regular system maintenance to purge the ‘nasties’. If you’re not confident of doing it yourself – call in an expert.
Such security measures are just as important, at the business level. Today both wired and unwired laptops and the latest generation handheld devices are increasing businesses’ exposure to security risks. In fact, number of recent threats have specifically involved remote users.
Blended threats (more complex worms and viruses) target laptops outside firewalls in order to gain network access during an ISP connection. The answer doesn’t lie just in AV software, or even one perimeter firewall – rather, the solution must include intrusion detection technology, which has the ability to examine packets of data entering computer in order to identify and stop attacks.
Perhaps even more vulnerable to security breaches are the 20 million or so handheld computers that have been sold in the past five years. Disturbingly, industry experts estimate that only one percent of these devices have virus protection. If yours is one of the other 99 percent, you could be placing your business at risk.
The proliferation of wireless networks also poses security concerns. Security experts recommend that you outline very specific procedures for the use of wireless devices – such as, what the devices can and cannot be used for, what can be stored on them, and what security technology should be installed to protect data from being compromised if it is stolen.
Remember, all it takes is powerful antenna and hacking software to eavesdrop on wireless network. If you’re planning to go wireless get expert help. Make sure you use the latest WPA (WiFi Protected Access) encryption technology; and that you control the broadcast area and lock each access point. new wireless standard (802.11i) is expected to be available by the middle of this year. It uses new encryption technique that offers greater security than formulas used in earlier WiFi standards.
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