Fears over the security of data sent over the internet, and the threat of viruses finding your computer and bringing the entire system down, are common. We look at how to protect yourself and your customers.
One big worry for traders and customers alike on the internet is the threat of viruses. Headline-grabbing monsters such as Melissa and the Love Bug brought mighty corporations grinding to a halt, generating spurious emails in such numbers that the networks collapsed. Other varieties can corrupt data files or stop computers working altogether.
Virus experts such as Symantec and MessageLabs analyse viruses the moment that they appear and can quite often have a fix ready within a matter of minutes. That can be downloaded over the internet in time to provide protection.
In practice, these devices will only work if they are updated regularly and the system’s users have an adequate understanding of the risks and a coherent policy for combating them.
Staff need to understand that attachments in emails from unknown sources should on no account be opened, since this may launch a fatal attack. In the case of ‘macro-viruses’ such as Melissa, that even applies to those contained in emails from friends or co-workers, which replicate by sending messages to names in the infected computer’s address book.