IT security under the gun

In what is becoming an all-too-familiar scenario, IT security managers are feeling the pinch to stay ahead of the security spending curve during uncertain economic times and an onslaught of viruses and worms.

Users last week had to keep alert for a tricky but destructive new e-mail worm as well as be reminded of the dangers of Web site hack attacks on customer credit cards.

Less than a month after enduring the hype and fast infection rate of the Anna Kournikova worm, many users were caught off guard last week by the “NakedWife” worm that spread through Microsoft Corp. Outlook. The Visual Basic Script (VBS) worm punished its victims by deleting all .INI, .LOG, .DLL, .EXE, .COM, and .BMP files — in that order — in the root Windows folder and then in the Windows System folder upon its execution, according to officials at Espoo, Finland-based F-Secure.

Meanwhile, Inc. subsidiary alerted its customers via e-mail last Monday of a “security violation” on its site that compromised credit card information found on the company’s servers from October 2000 through last month, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

In its e-mail message to customers, Seattle-based, an old and rare book e-marketplace, said it has contacted the FBI and credit card companies about the break-in.

An advisory update published last week by the U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) said the FBI has observed cases of hacker activity occurring for several months before the victims become aware of any type of intrusion.

Many small to midsize enterprises are complacent about these issues, assuming they are invisible to these threats and that larger companies are at greater risk, said Eric Hemmendinger, research director at Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc.

Often it is up to the IT department to form a solid business plan – equipped with security advisories, vendor product analyses, and cost comparisons – to convince an organization to prepare for the worst, said Tom Schrieber, senior network engineer and IT manager at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based General Magic Inc.

“That’s money [executives] see going away every year, and if they do not see anything hitting them [they ask], ‘Are we spending the money for nothing?’ ” Schrieber said.

“But in actuality, it’s saving them money by catching everything that comes in the door and saves man hours [because they don’t have to] fix these issues, not to mention that it saves frustration,” Schrieber said.

General Magic, which offers a voice gateway application, uses SonicWall Inc. for its VPN connectivity.

Some users cut corners by opting for in-house implementation and management, which is a risky move, said analyst Frank Prince at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

“In times of hard budgets, doing it yourself is even greater folly than doing it yourself when you have large budgets,” Prince said.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now