Computer Security: Your 5-Step Survival Guide

    Date17 May 2006
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    It's a dangerous world. Every day, thousands of attacks that threaten to corrupt key systems, steal customer data, and otherwise abuse information-technology assets assault U.S. businesses. The SANS Institute, which provides computer security education and training, estimates that the average Internet network address experiences an attack every 24 minutes. In most cases, it's an unscrupulous hacker trying to infect corporate computers with viruses, worms and Trojans-commonly dubbed "malware."

    But Matthew Speare, group vice president and corporate information security officer at M&T Bank, says that in the trenches it's really not any single type of attack that poses the greatest challenge, but rather "keeping up with the sheer volume" of attempted attacks, which "continue to grow at about 25% to 30% a year." Full-blown incidents reported to the CERT Coordination Center soared to 137,529 in 2003 from just six in 1988. Since 2003, the center, part of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, has simply stopped counting, reasoning that attacks have become so common that tallying them no longer tells us anything significant about their scope and impact.

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