Independent Research Paper-Internet Security
Using the Internet today, there are numerous ways to stay connected to other people also using the Internet. You can use e mail, chat rooms, and the most popular, Instant Messaging. The risks of using e mail have always been evident. Receiving and downloading e mails and attachments from people you do not know always carried the risk of downloading and infecting your computer with one or several viruses that could possibly destroy your computers operating system.
On a personal computer, the cost of having your computer destroyed due to a virus would be at the most several hundred to a thousand dollars, depending on whether the whole computer needed to be replaced. But on a computer connected to several or hundreds of other computers, such as a computer would be at a business or company, the potential to ruin hundreds of other computers, causing the loss or potential theft of confidential and very important business oriented information is very high.
Software vulnerabilities leave your business vulnerable to serious downtime. But patching can be time-consuming and expensive to maintain. Organizations need an effective patch management program that protects critical assets and makes business sense.
For the past couple years, e mail is a very popular way to conduct company oriented business and to distribute important information. Today, however, Instant Messaging is becoming an ever more popular way to conduct meetings and to pass information.
Monitoring of e-mail is now corporate policy for most institutions, but regulatory pressure has yet to be extended to IM conversations that happen on free, public networks. “There are about 60 published IM vulnerabilities”, according to Eric Chien, chief researcher at Symantec Security Response in Dublin. “Those range from security holes that could be used to crash IM clients in denial-of-service attacks, to those which allow attackers to install and run malicious code remotely on computers running the vulnerable IM clients.”
Although the information passed over Instant messages may not be of any importance to anyone else, when companies such as banks use this type of network to conduct important transactions, not only information, but often high amounts of money are at risk.
The sophisticated techniques of hackers that are used to infiltrate computers through e mail, are now being adapted to help hackers send virus files or Trojan Horse programs to IM users or capture a user’s list of IM buddies. These files are called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which can be purchased from major suppliers and used to create an IM worm.
Another aspect of IM worms and viruses that attracts many hackers to this type if hacking, is that it is faster, simpler, and more effective. Unlike those worms, IM worms do not need to scan the internet for the IP addresses of vulnerable systems, a process that greatly slows the spread of traditional...