.COMmentary: Digital crime–alive and kicking

.COMmentary: Digital crime–alive and kicking

By Mike Lotz

Digital crime–alive and kicking

By Mike Lotz

Like any metropolis, the Internet hosts a diverse crime world — every day, there are countless acts of thievery, fraud, breaking and entering and the plain old young punk mischief.

The days of the Net, when you might have left your virtual front door unlocked, are long gone. Today, “hactivism,” the sport of vandalizing web sites to promote a political cause, has become a catchphrase among security experts. Denial-of-service attacks are a daily occurrence, and e-mail virus epidemics make the evening news.

But the incidents you hear on the news are only a small percentage: In the last 12 months, 64 percent of organizations have experienced unauthorized use of computer systems, according to the spring 2001 survey by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI.

To counter the growing threat, corporations are bulking up on their data security war chest. A recent Gartner report said businesses today budget an average of 0.4 percent of their annual revenue to security initiatives — a figure expected to increase tenfold by 2011, when security expenditures will account for 4 percent of annual revenue.

Businesses understand they must dedicate significant resources to securing their networks or face the consequences. And it’s no longer enough to just seal up the holes; you need someone watching 24/7 just in case they begin to leak — or in case someone tries to punch a hole through the wall. Information technology manager cannot afford to do less.

So how prepared are companies to handle this invasion? Not very, according to the security experts. In reality, it’s worse than most people think. Senior management would be surprised at how fragile the infrastructure is that they’re working on.

Now that you’re thinking doom and gloom, there is a solution out there. Network security companies can audit your company inside and out and show your problem and give the solutions. One of these network security companies is here in Rockford — Securewerk (http://www.securewerks.com), SecureWerks can audit the security of your organization. The audit allows a good understanding of the threats your organization is exposed to. These threats are delivered in a weighted fashion, so management decisions can be made to best manage your risk while not wasting money.

This is a real problem that is not going away. Don’t be the company that knows they’re exposed and put your head in the sand. Take this seriously and protect yourself.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at questions@iwebwerks.com.

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