Virus and Spyware Information and Solutions
Within even the most secure networks, Spyware/Viruses cost time and money in every type of corporation. IS Consulting Services dedicates itself to not only correct infected networks, but also empower our clients with knowledge to better protect themselves with preventive best practices. This article will outline some best practices IS Consulting Services uses internally and recommends to our clients. Each company implements different methods based on costs and administrative time, but this article will educate on many tactics.
First we need a quick background on what are Spyware and Viruses. Over the past year, they have become very similar as far as infecting a laptop/desktop/server. The real difference comes when you look into their ability to infect other computers. Infections include; sending out SPAM emails, key logging, screen grabbing, Instant Messenger monitoring, and many other possibilities. Spyware does not directly infect other computers. It usually installs itself when opening an attachment or going to an infected website. The spyware then may open security in the operating system to allow viruses to install, but they directly are not Viruses (according to anti-virus companies that do not protect against them). Viruses tend to spread to other computers on their own and do not need user intervention to do so. The latest example would be the worm type viruses that causes havoc in company networks. They spread quickly and usually install more spyware/viruses that just worsen the situation.
What can companies do to prevent the outbreak of these spyware and viruses? IS Consulting Services have seen no guaranteed method, but we implement highly reliable practices. The methods use client and server solutions to create a multi-tiered barricade:
Server side solutions include Antivirus (Symantec or McAfee) and Spyware (Spy Sweeper, Spybot or Adaware) removal software. It is suggested to have a corporate centrally managed version to ease the administration. If email is managed in-house, then an Antivirus software version for email should be purchased to scan mail before it is delivered to the local user. Since most of the spyware/viruses have been getting through to users attached within emails, putting a anti-spam server in front of your email server will not only save the time of sifting through all the junk emails, it will prevent the infected emails from coming through.
Correctly configured firewalls serve as the front barrier to your company. High speed internet access allows quick access for your users to the internet, but also allows quick access for hackers into your network. Spyware/Viruses are just some of the tools used by hackers to access into a company═s network and users═ home network. Hackers will also try to relay email through your email server so when traced it looks as if you sent it. Depending on the access obtained, hackers can gain access to all your files. The more you can restrict inbound to your network, the better. To further secure your network, you can implement VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections to your remote/mobile users. VPNs increase security by encrypting the data to and from your network to the user through the public internet. Corporate firewalls vary in price depending on the required functionality, but provide better security, flexibility and logging then home models. Major brands are Cisco and Sonicwall. Home firewalls typically cost under $100. Major brands are Linksys and Dlink.
Much can be done on the client side to assist in fortifying the network. A client antivirus and anti-spyware application can be installed. Using the corporate versions will greatly facilitate the administration of maintaining the software. Ensure you have the latest Microsoft OS and application updates/service packs. The most difficult part but very effective is training your users on good email practices. Listed below are the most effective practices.
It is possible to restrict more on the client side, but applications may be infected. If your company requires the utmost security, IS Consulting Services can work with you to meet your goals.
If you need further information on implementing these best practices
or have other concerns, let us at IS Consulting Services know. IS
Consulting Services is always available to answer any questions.
We hope this helps you better support your organization.