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26-Feb-2010The Industry that cried Wolf
Kildare, Ireland, 26-Feb-2010 / Clean Communications Ltd.,

There has always been a certain element of hype to Computer Security stories. Usually companies in the IT Security arena cling on to any piece of bad news that is going and blow it out of proportion until everyone becomes numb to talk of viruses, spam, trojans etc.. Now that numbness and the apathy it has spread amongst everyday businesses is about to come back and give everyone a good slap in the face.

In the beginning of 2010, based on statistics of over 2500 businesses, The Email Laundry have noticed a doubling of the amount of spam trying to get to their customers. This obvious real life fact, although crippling to an unprotected company, is only a symptom of a real problem. The vast majority of this spam is being sent by ordinary companies who don’t realise their computers are being used remotely by cyber criminals. That’s right, you reading this article. If I said that someone in a different country was using your computer as part of their network to break the law and, if he can be bothered, could do what they liked with any information on there, there is around a 49% probability that I would be right. That is how bad the current outbreak of viruses has become.

Our current “stop the botnet” campaign, which contacts companies that are part of these networks of infected computers, is coming across double the number of identifiable companies every day and cannot come close to alerting even a fraction of them. Even keeping your anti-virus software up to date can only partially protect you. So here are a few tips to help you keep your IT infrastructure working for you and not some cyber criminal in another country.

1. Keep your anti-virus software up to date. No matter what happens this is a good start. Even if new viruses are getting past your software for a few hours at least it may detect a virus when next updated.

2. Make sure your anti-virus software is working. As many of these viruses try and disable the updates of your anti-virus signatures, check that they are updating. If there are any problems call your supplier immediately.

3. Use your firewall. Make sure your company has a firewall in place and use it well. If your firewall is configured correctly it can prevent these viruses becoming active even if they have got on to your net work. This is a bit technical but also make sure port 25 is closed except for traffic from your mail server.(Just make sure your IT company do that for you)

4. Use an email filtering service. This has a multiple of benefits

a. Spam won’t come in so your staff are unlikely to click on any links that will cause any problems.

b. Email filtering services offer more layers of anti virus protection on your email

c. The service will also protect your outgoing email so if you are sending out spam on behalf of one of these gangs it will be stopped. This should prevent you being “Blacklisted” and you will continue to be able to send email.

5. Check your updates. Make sure your software is up to date. Often these criminals will take advantage of weaknesses in common software from vendors such as Microsoft and Adobe. These vendors will in turn offer patches and updates to their software as these problems become known. You need to use these patches and updates to keep your systems safe.

Current trends are very worrying and these criminal gangs may have more success in the future if everyone adapts Cloud Computing as they will have a limited number of environments to crack. Be certain of one thing, if one of these viruses is on your system and sending out spam, you must get rid of the virus as quickly as possible. If a criminal has remote control of your computer for one purpose there is no reason why he cannot use it for others. They can also take note of your paypal log ins, your bank login etc. If in doubt call in the professionals.

Ken Bagnall from The Email Laundry warns against letting criminals use your computer.


About Clean Communications Ltd.
Anti spam and email archiving services

For further information
Clean Communications Ltd.
Ken Bagnall
Managing Director

Ellenborough House, Dublin Road, Naas, Co. Kildare
Phone: +353 (0)45 897766
Email: click to reveal