Posted by: Ed Becker | April 8, 2009

ALERT — How is Your Computer Security?

Today’s   Blog begins with a review of two facts that you may have missed followed by  a question.

Today we learn that the Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the last six months – that is more than $ 555,555 per day or $23,148 per hour, responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems. Press reports say that Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said the military is only beginning to track the costs (so the numbers above are probably not complete), which are caused by regular and continuing attacks against military networks ranging from the Pentagon to bases around the country.   Other reports say that rogue software has been found in the electrical distribution grid of the USA that the Russians and Chinese can activate to disrupt our supply of electricity.

HERE’S THE QUESTION:  If highly sophisticated and well funded enterprises like the Pentagon and the national electrical suppliers are this vulnerable, what does that say about your computer security?

Don’t think you have a problem because your organization is small and of no interest to Internet marauders?  Think again.  In my experience, when a computer is connected to the Internet, within minutes there are thousands of attacks on it.  Protect yourself!

SOME SUGGESTIONS: First be sure you have some security.  Anything is better than nothing!  At the very least, turn on the Windows firewall.  Be aware that the best security is a layered security.  If you have a connection to the Internet, a Firewall is recommended.  Anti-virus and Anti-Spy-Ware software is essential in today’s world.  If you can afford it, invest in a Spam Filter or at least set up Outlook in a way that dumps questionable email into the Junk folder.  Lastly, refrain from opening web sites and emails or attachments you do not personally know and expect and even then, DO NOT open attachments to emails unless you expected to receive it.  When in doubt, do the old fashioned thing — call the sender to confirm they sent it to you!  And above all……never, never, never open emails or attachments sent from yourself …. unless, of course, you actually sent it.   It constantly amazes me that organizations will spend a large portion of their revenue on staff and computers, but fail to take even these basic steps to protect the enterprise.

And be sure you are backing up your data AND testing t he backups every week!  It is a disaster to need the data backup to restore data only to find out that the backup is corrupted or has not been working for weeks or months.  If you are still using tape backup, dump it and implement disk to disk backup with off-site storage.

These simple and basic steps will go a very long way to limiting your risk and providing security that will assure your security.  There is much more to do to protect your computers, but at least start with these.  What are you waiting for?

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