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How to fight Cyberterrorism

Written By: Godfrey Heron

Information Technology is the lifeline of most
organizations today, and as such a disrupted information
system can cause your company to lose market share and
eventually bring it to its knees. 94% of companies without
a tested crisis plan go out of business after a severe loss
of service for two weeks or more. We are so bound as a global
community that a disaster in a single major city results in
significant ripple effects around the world.

Cyberterrorism, weather direct or indirect, is an issue all
businesses should anticipate and arrange for backup plans.
Depending on the size of the company, backups of the
backup plan may need to be considered.

Politically charged events frequently unleash a nest of
virus’, worms and Trojan horses on the Internet, and with
increasing intensity. In one day, the current Nimda virus
generated one hundred times the traffic that the code
red virus took three days to do.

A group setup by the federal government to counter
Cyberterrorism released a report stating that “A personal
computer and a simple telephone connection to an Internet
service provider anywhere in the world are enough to
cause a great deal of harm. The right command sent over a
network to a power generating station’s control computer
could be just as effective as a backpack full of
explosives, and the perpetrator would be harder to
identify and apprehend.”

To protect your business in the event of a disaster you need
to identify the mission critical information streams that
need to be protected. This may include both print material
and computer hardware and software.

BACKUP YOUR DATA

Minimizing the loss of valuable documents or data can be
accomplished quite easily by performing regularly
scheduled backups. It is absolutely essential that OFF-SITE
copies of backups be kept. This will assure quick recovery
from disasters.

Backups may be done using a variety of medias, such as, floppy disks ,
zip disks, re-writeable cd’s, and removable hard drives.
The type of media you use will depend on the
quantity of data being stored.

Larger companies may also consider installing “mirror”
servers, which allow the same real time information being
kept in different locations. Consideration should also be
given to outsourcing applications to ASPs (Application
Service Providers) which have mirrored data centers.

Any paper documents which are considered critical should
also be backed up with the help of a scanner and stored
off-site. Myriads of paper documents were strewn all over
New York following the WTC disaster. Many of the
organizations and companies affected have no idea of what
they have lost or even how to recover missing files.
Some of which have irreplaceable information and signatures.

ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE

A good anti-virus software is essential in your counter
terrorism arsenal. It will offer continuous protection and
automatically scans all file inputs, outputs, downloads,
program executions, and other system-related activities
to help prevent virus penetration. If a virus is discovered,
you will have the option to clean or delete the infected file.

FIREWALLS / DETECTION NETWORKS

Firewalls screen all communications to a system, including
e-mail messages, which may carry logic bombs. The term
“firewall” is a relatively generic term for methods of
filtering access to a network. They may come in the form
of a computer, router or other communications device, or in
the form of a network configuration.

The services and access that are permitted to each user
are defined by firewalls. One method is to screen user
requests to check if they come from a previously defined
domain or Internet Protocol (IP) address. Another method
is to prohibit Telnet access into the system.

Here are a few key things to remember in order to protect
yourself from Cyberterrorism:

i. All accounts should have passwords and the passwords
should be unusual, difficult to guess, and alphanumeric
where possible.

ii. Change the network configuration when defects become
known.

iii. Check with venders for upgrades and patches.

iv. Audit systems and check logs to help in detecting
and tracing an intruder.

v. If you are ever unsure about the safety of a site, or
receive suspicious email from an unknown address,
don’t access it. It could be trouble.

TRACING SOFTWARE

There are software companies that create products designed
to trace exactly where anyone connecting to your network
is coming from. Giving you detailed information on the
registered owner’s name, address, etc.
Greater possibility of detection always reduces the
incidence of crime.

PROTECTION SUITES

Click here:http://www.irieisle-online.com/cyberterrorism
for a suite of online services which combine a number
of protection strategies.

Today’s commercial off-the-shelf software is riddled with
holes. Microsoft products in particular, seem to be
targeted. A recent Gartner Group report strongly
suggests that changing from Microsoft’s Internet Server
would be a positive step. Software makers should design
more secure products, which should be shipped to consumers
pre-configured with high security settings. Such efforts
will probably mean higher costs and slower progress in the
short term but will pay off in the long term.

There are no foolproof ways to protect a system, as
completely secure system can never be accessed by
anyone. Your organization’s classified information can be
kept on machines with no outside (internet/intranet)
connection, as a form of prevention of Cyberterrorism.
In the end, the onus of fighting Cyberterrorism is really
on each company or organization. The cost to protect your
data will be a small fraction of what will be lost if your
information systems are attacked or accidentally damaged.

About the Author

Godfrey Heron is the Website Manager of Irieisle Online
a leading webhosting and design company. www.irieisle-online.com
Visit our website now, to start profiting from the internet.
Visit our archives at www.irieisle-online.com/archive/articles.htm

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