Sunday, May 15, 2005

Computer users must take advantage of all the online security available

Industry and government are still debating the best ways to combat identity theft. This should be a wake-up call for consumers to take their online security into their own hands. Computer users have an array of options at their disposal to fight the problem themselves.

On May 4 ran an article [link no longer available] by The Gazette's Alison MacGregor. The report quoted McAfee Inc.'s chief security officer, Ted Barlow, providing advice for computer users to protect their systems.

So many computer users operate their systems with little or no security against hackers, identity thieves, phishers, and other online crooks. We need education. Executives everywhere must follow Barlow's lead and publicize solutions to computer security woes.

Computer users are susceptible to a litany of threats. Webmobs, organized online theft rings, collude to steal identities en masse. Geeks create viruses to wreak havoc for no reason other than fun.

Hackers can even turn a home's computer, unbeknownst to its owner, into one of countless nameservers like it to run illegal Botnets. These networks then fuel phishing activities, also known as online scams, which perpetuate indefinitely and elude law enforcement by utilizing constantly moving nameservers that authorities cannot pinpoint.

Companies offering security technologies must be ahead of the curve for us even to have a prayer in turning back the tide of online crime. The speed and pace of the conveniences of technology have far outpaced the security necessary to keep users secure. However, there are a variety of tools available for free or for a small fee to maintain a relatively secure system.

Some computer users are savvier than others. Companies such as Netcraft have developed solutions that let users across the spectrum of proficiency pool knowledge to surf the Internet more safely, avoiding phishing sites and the like.

Security is a journey, not a destination. It needs constant attention and a never ending implementation of available combative resources. An online security solution that pools the expertise of advanced users to protect the less savvy remionds me of an Internet neighborhood watch. I like this idea.

The sophistication of online crime is mind-boggling. The response from the high-tech security industry must be the same.


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