Conficker, Cut Cables Show Digital World's Fragility

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


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Worms, viruses, cyber-attacks and physical sabotage demonstrate that now is the time to secure IT assets and plan for contingencies.

In the last few days, a collection of events has spelled out how susceptible our data infrastructure really is. It all started with tales of the Conficker worm and has now come to a head with the reported sabotage of fiber-optic cables that blacked out much of Silicon Valley. Add to that the recent intrusions into the electrical grid, spam-clogged communications and the growth of scareware-based fraud and it becomes easy to see how vulnerable critical technology has become to interruption.

While current security technology has done much to protect critical data systems, it is clear that more is needed and the combination of electrical grid intrusions and suspected sabotage in Silicon Valley is sure to culminate in government intervention.

While some will wait for the government to take action, most will realize that the time for action is now! But the big question becomes what action to take and whom to turn to. Luckily, the answers are surprisingly simple, at least when it comes to protecting your business interests.

Click here to read more about the cut cables that caused a phone and Internet outage in Silicon Valley.

First off, businesses (and consumers) need to invest in security technology that prevents malware from wreaking havoc—luckily there are dozens of vendors in the market that make that simple. But installing the latest anti-virus product isn't going to be enough to protect systems. Users will need to consider incorporating anti-fraud technologies that include spam filtering, DLP (data leakage protection), content filtering and encryption.

Content and spam filtering can go a long way in preventing malware infestations in the first place, while DLP can prevent personal or business information from being leaked out to characters unknown. Encryption of critical files goes one step further by protecting any data that may be leaked out.

The concept here is not new; it's called a layered approach to protecting data, and has been employed by large businesses for some time. Even so, many small businesses and individual users are unaware of the advantages offered by a layered approach and have resisted investing in additional security technologies. For resellers, that means an opportunity to assemble security technology into packages to meet those customer needs. Those packages can consist of software-only solutions, or a combination of inexpensive security appliances and software to provide protection.

Yet, the most important element here is knowledge—users need to know that they are proactively protected from malware, intrusions, malicious Websites, data leakage and fraud. Users should expect no less from a security solution and those reselling the technology.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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