Games People Play – Internet use in the workplace

The Internet is the indispensable tool for all businesses in the 21st century. It’s also absolutely great for shopping, playing games, booking a holiday, social networking, whiling away an idle moment, downloading music and pornography, and that’s just in office hours!

If you observe someone sitting at their desktop computer, you will notice a stillness and air of concentration as they gaze at their screen. They’re not chatting, wandering about or wasting time away from their desk. However, what they’re actually looking at could be very costly to your business in a number of ways.

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Losing IT – Protecting data on lost laptops with encryption

Laptops are easily lost or stolen. It’s embarrassing for the person who has left the laptop in the back of the car, or let it out of their sight at a conference or in the airport. It’s more than embarrassing for your company however. Laptop loss or theft presents a real danger of serious data breach, leading to security and compliance problems.

In March 2011, a BP employee lost a laptop while travelling. It contained the personal data of thousands of compensation claimants, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The data included names, phone numbers, addresses and social security numbers. The laptop was password protected but the information wasn’t encrypted. BP had to contact all those affected and tell them that their important personal data had been compromised.

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The Threat Within – Dealing with malware threats inside your network

Protecting your company’s bottom line from the considerable cost of malware (malicious software), including viruses, is vitally important. Firewall and GAV (gateway anti virus) products provide effective protection from external attacks. However, there is evidence to suggest that an equal if not greater threat is posed by malware attacking from inside the network. Protection from the Internet is only half the battle. There are threats closer to home.

Malware includes computer viruses, Trojan Horses, Worms and spyware. They can enter your network from many non-Internet sources. USB memory sticks, CDs, memory cards, smart phones and tablets can all deliver malware. New or guest computers can do the same. Although it is common knowledge that any data-sharing method potentially contains a virus or other malware, an object like a USB memory stick is so familiar that the threat it may represent is not often considered.

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Counting the Cost – Malware and your Company’s Bottom Line

A Medieval castle had a moat round it to keep out invaders. The only way in was over the drawbridge, controlled by a beefy guard in full armour and carrying a sword. Although he had to pay the guard, limiting access to the castle made the King’s life safer, minimising the cost of attacks and damage. Protecting your computer network from invaders isn’t quite that simple, but an effective Firewall is like the moat, and different products can take the place of the beady-eyed gatekeeper.

There have been recent reports of organisations suffering serious hacking attacks. Sony was targeted by high-profile hackers LulzSec, who took customer passwords, email and home addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. In an earlier attack, millions of credit card details were taken through the PlayStation network. The costs have been immense, and is a reminder of how damaging malicious software (malware) can be for a company’s bottom line.

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Shutting the Stable Door – Keeping out Trojan Horse Software

Recent revelations about the News of the World’s misdeeds haven’t only been about phone hacking. It is also alleged that Trojan Horse programs were used to access computers and private e mail accounts, illegally gaining information. This highlighted the threat to both individuals and companies from these programs, and should be of concern to anyone interested in maintaining security.

A Trojan program appears harmless. It quietly arrives through email, websites, non-Internet data sharing sources and social networking sites, and installs itself. Once in place it damages and disrupts computer activity. It’s done without the knowledge or permission of the computer user, who may not be aware that the computer has been infiltrated.

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