By : Jim Pinto,
By : Jim Pinto,
Internet vulnerabilities will force ever-greater countermeasures. My suggestion is to stick with the major anti-virus software standards.
Automation World, September 2003
For several years, the growth of the Internet seemed unlimited—an almost free resource that provided vast benefits. But that expansion is now being choked, and security is threatened by the twin plagues of spam and viruses.
More than 13 billion unwanted e-mail messages swamp the Internet every day, worldwide. This time-wasting junk is a $10 billion annual drag on worker productivity in the United States alone. In a perverse analogy to Moore’s Law, the number of spam messages is doubling roughly every 18 months. It has risen from 8 percent of all e-mail in 2000 to more than 40 percent by the end of 2002, and is now more than 50 percent. Conceivably, spam could soon represent 90 percent of all e-mail.
Complicating the issue is the virus problem—unwanted emails that cause serious damage to individual computers, or complete networks. 2003 was only about a month old when there was yet another major computer virus attack (the SQL virus) that shut down a lot of major banking and business systems worldwide. Malicious code attacks are continuing to run rampant, with the problem getting ever worse. New virus versions are still emerging, trying to outsmart all of the latest antivirus software.
One of every 200 e-mails sent last year contained a computer virus, and one in three e-mails was unsolicited spam. The most worrisome trend is spam e-mails combined with viruses, making spam more difficult to detect and more dangerous. Also, the virus-to-e-mail ratio is growing worse, mainly because many users and resource managers don’t keep their security up to date.
CountermeasuresInternet vulnerabilities will force ever-greater countermeasures in coming years. On a personal level, my suggestion is to stick with the major anti-virus software standards: Norton or MacAfee. Get regular upgrades and automatic daily updates to assure that the best possible protection is always installed.
Until recently, there didn’t seem to be a foolproof way to eliminate spam. As quickly as systems managers added filters (catching specific words), spammers came up with new ways to bypass those filters. But smarter filtering techniques are yielding good results.
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