Do Nation States Pose a Threat to Computer and Network Security?

The simple answer to the above question is “Yes”.

Most people visualize computer hackers as being grubby techno-geeks who consume multiple cans of caffeine-laced energy drinks while working on their computers. That notion may be true. But are these people the largest group of malicious people on the Internet?

Nation states or countries are, also, major players in the tug of war between those who seek to protect computer networks and those who perpetrate breaches, steal valuable information, and damage critical infrastructure.

The Russian Government, for example, is implicated in squashing the dispute that arose between Russia and Georgia in the Province of South Ossetiain 2008. Computer networks were “hacked” into and critical Georgian computing infrastructure was effectively shut down as Russian tanks rolled across the border and asserted Russian authority. Georgian government computer networks and the Internet itself was overwhelmed and disabled until Georgian leaders capitulated.

Reportedly, the Iranian nuclear processing components at Natanz were seriously damaged due to a breach of network security with an attack described in the media as the Stuxnet worm. The level of sophistication of the attack and the extent to which damage was caused suggests that only a nation or group of nations could have produced and supported such an attack against sensitive industrial controls.

The People’s Republic of China is documented as having cultivated a network of civilian crackers who engage in ‘informatics warfare’ on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army. For its part, the government of the People’s Republic of China supports information warfare battalions that are schooled in how to crack into networks and infrastructure during the day-time and attack the computing infrastructure of other countries for homework. The losses were recently reported as exceeding the money being made in the international drug trade.

Official Chinese government doctrine embraces the concept of unrestricted warfare that includes fighting a war of informatics to obtain strategic and tactical military advantage. The United States, also, demonstrated its overt interest in information warfare by establishing a “Cyber Command”.

Nation states do, indeed, pose a threat to computer and network security of the digital infrastructure. Various nation states are known to have engaged in cyber crime and information warfare. The biggest threats that come from other countries focus upon critical national infrastructures, as well as economic and defense-related espionage rather than just traditional malware like viruses and Trojans.

Businesses, organizations and individuals have confidential information related to their products, research and development and infrastructure that must be protected. International cyber thieves routinely target digital assets and want to enlist the computing resources of others to assist in distributed attacks. On the other end of the scale, nation states and their intelligence services target other nations, individuals, legitimate businesses and research facilities that contain sensitive business data, the loss of which can do harm to another country’s national security interests.

Your personal information and ability to do business, as well as national security, are at risk. Crackers and cyber criminals are interested in stealing your computing resources that can be used to increase the intensity of attacks against other systems or to use your Internet presence as a “cover”. Cyber criminals would steal proprietary information, your identity and confidential customer information.

Nation states, however, seek to attain strategic and tactical advantages in a global struggle of causes ranging from Marxism and the Islamic Caliphate to anarchy, progressive socialism and liaise faire capitalism.

Peaceful and civilized societies have a great deal to fear from attacks against interdependent cyber resources. A well thought out EMP attack can bring a nation’s critical national infrastructure to a halt.

Secure Your Computer and Network With Free Software

These days you can find practically anything on the internet, some things for a price, and the rest of them for free. This holds true to Antivirus software, firewalls, and adware/spyware blockers. These programs keep our computers malware free and running in tip top shape without the slowdown of trojans and spybots sending all of our personal information back to their creators. If you’re like a lot of people out there you can shell out lots of cash for programs that are supposed to keep your computer clean and running optimally like Norton and McAffee. These programs are fine and dandy if you don’t mind that they’re pretty expensive ($39 a year at McAfee and Norton for basic anti-virus software, the security internet suites can easily run an upwards of $70) and slow your computer down to turtle speed with all the extra addons and ‘intrusion-detecting-virus-scanning-database-blocking-popup-alerts-that-annoy-
the-hell-out-of-you-and-show-up-for-no-reason’ , or you can use free software and achieve some of the best protection you can get for less headache and less cost.

Antivirus Programs

The two antivirus programs I recommend is avast! antivirus v4.7 and AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition . They’re both fully compatible with Windows 98 and onwards, yep that includes Vista too.

avast! antivirus features:

  • Standard shield providing real-time protection
  • IM shield for instant messenger protection
  • P2P shield for P2P protection
  • Internet mail for email protection
  • Microsoft Outlook/Exchange Protection
  • Web shield for HTTP protection
  • Network shield that protects against well known network worms
  • Audible alarms
  • Boot-time scan
  • Also a completely skinnable GUI

Surprisingly avast! is not a system resource hog, the only windows that popup is a small one above the icon on the task that tells you that a new update has been installed. Avast! regularly receives updates practically daily so you can be sure your virus database is always up to date. It’s also compatible with According to AV-Comparitives (An independent site that rigorously tests antivirus software on scanning and virus detecting abilities) avast! detected 95% of the viruses tested and got the ‘Advanced’ designation in their tests which is the second highest ranking.

A downside to avast! is that even though it’s free after 60 days you have to register via their website and you’ll receive a one year renewable registration key in your email. Avast! is overall a genuinely good free antivirus software solution that’s easy to use and update, all while offering superb protection with it’s many different scanners.

AVG Anti-Virus Free features:

  • Periodic scans
  • Email scans
  • Ability to Heal some infected files
  • Virus vault to hold infected files

AVG is also hardly a resource hog with it’s minimum system requirements only at 16MB of RAM and 20MB of hard drive. The scan time is average compared to other antivirus software, and even while scanning AVG does not use that many system resources. And according to AV Comparitives AVG Anti-Virus did even better than AVG detecting 97% of the possible viruses in it’s test scan received the highest ranking of ‘Advanced+’.

Spyware/Adware Removers

For antispyware protection and removers you can look to Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware 2007 Free and Microsoft Windows Defender 1.1. They both offer optimum spyware and malware detection and are pretty easy to use.

Ad-Aware 2007 features:

  • Windows Vista Compatible
  • Customizable themes
  • Repairs damage left by malware
  • Erases internet surfing tracks
  • Free software updates and support from worldwide security volunteer network

Ad-Aware 2007 has been downloaded over a quarter of a billion times, scored a 4 out of 5 stars on a Download.com Editor’s Review and it only takes 3 minutes to run a smart scan on my system.

Windows Defender features:

  • Extremely easy to use with a simple interface
  • Updates downloaded and installed automatically
  • Very little system resources used, able to do things normally while scanning
  • Real-Time Protection so your protected while surfing the web

Microsoft Windows Defender is a strong spyware detector and what make it even better is the real-time protection that is offered with the free software. Most free softwares leave that out of the free version and only include it if you pay. The only downside is that it only works on Windows, duh.

Firewalls

The two good firewalls that I can recommend are ZoneAlarm Firewal and Comodo Firewall Pro. I find ZoneAlarm easier to install and use, but Comodo has all the options a power user would need for administering his network and monitoring his firewalls.

Comodo features:

  • Host Intrusion Prevention System to lock down access to critical files and block malware before it installs
  • Advanced Network Firewall Engine to prevent programs from connecting to the internet
  • Application Behavior Analysis to detect suspicious application activity
  • A white list for almost one million trusted applications

Comodo Firewall is good for those who want the most out of their firewall and want to be able to use all of their options and settings for an extreme network monitoring application. According to PC World Australia Comodo Firewall even does better than most paid-for competitors.

ZoneAlarm features:

  • Inbound intrusion detection system
  • Ability to which programs create outbound connections
  • Compatible with Windows Vista

Zonealarm is very easy to use and install, and when it’s in use you won’t notice it unless there’s something crazy going on in your firewall. When a new program is trying to access the internet a pop up window from the taskbar shows up and asks for permission, after accepting or denying access you can select a check box to prevent it from asking again.

Each one of these programs can be used to help make your computer system and network safer from hackers, intruders, viruses, trojans, and spyware. Also each one has different features available to it’s users and offer slightly different levels and kinds of protection so be sure to do some more analytical research before making a final decision. Also don’t double up on firewalls or antivirus programs, because those can cause a multitude of conflicts with each other as a general rule is only one firewall or antivirus software program on a machine. With the spyware detectors and removers, you’ll be better off grabbing more than at least one, because they all detect different spywares so to have complete protection you’ll want to make sure you have a few good programs for that task.

Computer and Network Support Software

When you integrate new software solutions for your help desk it is important to make sure the software provides computer support and network support. You need to be sure that the software meets all of your needs.

Software for computer support should provide options related to the software you use throughout the company. It should include the operating systems too. When a ticket is created through the help desk system the support team should be able to select the different types of software that they need to open a ticket about. In addition, you might have certain people throughout the company that are experts on different software packages. These should be assignable through the software and provide notifications to these people also.

Computer support also includes hardware issues that might be causing problems for employees. This list includes but is not limited to computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, keyboards, mice, phones, and more.

Network support is also important for software you integrate with your help desk. Network support is often regarded as more important because when network issues occur they often take out more than just one user. It is important for trouble tickets to be able to be created that include issues like routers, switches, servers, phone lines, data lines, and more.

When software is used through a help desk to create trouble tickets for computer support and network support, they are often prioritized by the amount of users that are affected. If there is a work around the issue is not considered an emergency and the IT support may have a week timeframe to fix it.

The software should have everything integrated within it so trouble tickets can be created properly for computers or networks. These tickets will be what the technicians work off of in order to help the internal and external employees.

Find Computer and Networking Problems Answered With Specialist Computer Services

The PC centered times of today are putting us face to face with huge technical improvements.

While these advancements hold their positive aspects, they’re also accompanied by some setbacks and drawbacks, that the expert computer services organizations deal with efficiently. They are highly equipped and possess all the skills needed for controlling your PC and IT associated issues.

Computers have evolved to realize the position of being an irremovable section of our lifetimes.
So unimaginable are our everyday life without them that just in case any of them falls out of function, we find our way of life coming to a pause. Therefore, the necessity of computer services which are expert is felt, to ensure that you can have the problems with these devices solved and have them again in the working order.

The good thing would be that the consumers who approach them can be ensured of a long lasting connection to these businesses for the upkeep of their computers. There is a large number of services supplied by these computer services companies:

Computer Support and Repair Services: There may be quite a few needs challenged for computer help, repair and also other such services for people or organizations are looked after by these computer services.

You can approach these companies by means of online methods or telephone and have all the demands related to computer support achieved easily.

IT Security, Management and IT Consulting Services: The various computer services extend a hand for the customers who would like to have their IT and networking issues managed.

These are typically highly equipped and trained to manage the IT consulting and safety needs associated with social networking. The services may be availed at extremely inexpensive costs and may be acquired onsite or at remote situations.

Installation related Services: As there is a rise in the technologies and company needs, the requirements for updating the PC systems is also on a rise. The various variety of highly professional computer services are able of providing answers to all these issues. The latest equipment and software belonging to them has the possibility to set up all sorts of servers in the several types of computer systems.

Virus Removal Solutions and Data Backup Services: Probably the most frequent issues with computers and networks are virus and bugs. The extremely professional computer services have packaged services that are inclined to ensure all types of malware to be removed from the PC systems. Along with, one is also assured of having to lose nothing of the valuable data that the person.

These all issues for computers find a comprehensive solution in the form of Arch Computer Services, LA. The clients can have all their personal and business requirements associated with their computers fulfilled with the services of this professional computer services company.

The organization is responsible for the tasks it performs and gives the guarantee to hand back the systems in their functional form. What comes in return is complete assurance of quality along with ample of time to devote to the other tasks of the customer or his/her organization!

How Your Business Can Benefit From a Quality Service Contract for Your Computers and Network

Few of us ever stop to realize that in this day and age, our business does not actually reside in the brick-and-mortar building that we enter every day. Rather, the business itself resides directly on our computers. Think about it… All of our financial information, our customer contact information, our vendor contact information, our email, and our critical business documents are all solely located in that little black box that quietly hums along on or under your desk.

Today, the office that we enter every morning is little more than a building that keeps the rain out and keeps us warm. There are no more Rolodexes, no more ledger books. Every single aspect of your business literally resides in those computers.

Given that fact, doesn’t it make sense that we ensure that our computers and our network is afforded a place of utmost priority and care? Your computers and your network literally ARE your entire business in the truest sense.

We all know how it is with computers. We are in awe when we take it out of the box and put it through its paces. We notice that it opens up documents in the wink of an eye, surfing the Internet is much more enjoyable because of the speed, and things generally work great. But over time, the computer starts slowing down so gradually that we barely notice it. Finally at a certain point we realize that we are struggling every day with a computer that is running at perhaps 20% of its former efficiency. Files start taking longer and longer to open. The Internet starts to crawl and our financial software (the very backbone of your business) becomes agonizingly slow.

A common practice is to struggle with this scenario for a long period of time until a catastrophic event causes the computer to stop functioning or data is lost, resulting in a huge amount of downtime and a very expensive service call from your local tech.

There is a solution to this. By implementing a service contract (sometimes called a “Managed Services” agreement or a “Total Care” package, you can enjoy your computers running at peak efficiency 24/7. Some of the advantages of a monthly service agreement are as follows:

  • All your computer service costs are predictable and budgeted for. For a veryeasonable monthly fee, you enjoy the peace-of-mind of knowing that all service calls are covered under the agreement. Unexpected huge bills are completely eliminated.
  • At least once per month your technician will remote in at night and clean up your computer, removing all the temp files and other garbage that slows your computers down and brings them to their knees. Everything is checked and maintained. AntiVirus and AntiMalware definitions are checked, and scans are performed. System logs are checked in order to see if any invisible issues need to be attended to. Security updates are checked and the updates are performed if needed. Backup integrity is checked.
  • Instead of constantly dealing with your computers becoming slower and more finicky over time, they actually run at peak efficiency throughout the year because they are remotely maintained at least once per month. This makes a huge difference in your day-to-day operations.
  • Every single aspect of repair and maintenance is covered. Even a hard drive crash is completely covered. All the customer is responsible for is the cost of parts, which are hardly ever needed. The labor is all included in their monthly fee.
  • Downtime is greatly reduced because most problems are caught and repaired well before they become visible to the user.
  • On the rare occasion there is an actual service call, most issues can be resolved remotely very quickly without the technician even needing to set foot on the premises. This results in uptime that was previously unheard of.

Let us always keep in mind that our computers are our livelihood, and that your business literally resides in the computers themselves. There are ways to protect yourself, and wise is the business owner who protects their hard-earned business with a simple service agreement. You have invested all of yourself into your business, and that investment needs to be protected. Fortunately, in this day and age it is very easy to acquire that peace-of-mind for a very reasonable cost. I recommend speaking with your computer repair service today about how they can help you to achieve the level of safety that you need.

Computer And Network Security Companies to Combat Hackers

Computer and network security is concerned with the protection of information from theft and hackers, calamities, and corruption of data. The significance of this branch of computer technology becomes paramount in the light of the value and importance of information, especially those which are vital and classified in nature. For this reason, there are computer and network security companies, which deal specifically with this sensitive issue.

Computer and Network Security: A Sensitive Issue

The fact that our lives are heavily dependent of computers and computer networks is known to many. The majority of industries will be affected should vital computer networks be compromised. It is not just a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) concern. Can you imagine non-functional cellular phone systems? What about traffic systems going haywire? The results could be disastrous.

Even on a personal computing level, worms and viruses impact our system such that vital personal information is accessed and used without our consent. Another scenario is computer security breach, which causes system software and hardware failures. In a network setting the magnitude of the problem is increased further, and this already warrants approaching computer and network security companies for assistance.

User Education to Combat Computer and Network Security Risks

Although firewall settings and anti-virus software will go a long way in reducing computer and network security risks, the knowledge of users on the implications of security breaches and prevention techniques also play an important role.

Oftentimes, virus infestation and security problems are the result of user ignorance. They simply are unaware of acceptable SOP’s in the prevention of viral attacks and security breaches. Of course, intentional hacking may not be totally prevented, but judicious use of computer systems may prevent or at least minimize the damage.

Some people are of the impression that the degree of security risk is dependent on the operating system, at least on the personal computing level. Specifically, they are saying that the Windows OS is more prone to viruses as compared to Linux or Mac OS. But the vulnerability of a computer system is not OS dependent. The fact is that regardless of your OS, you are at risk.

The Role of Computer and Network Security Companies

If you have a fairly large organization with an in-house IT group, chances are security measures have already been set-up to protect your computer system and data base.

Small to medium size enterprises are also in need of this service, but oftentimes a permanent, in-house arrangement is not economical. For this reason, network support,computer tech support & security companies exist. They offer a more cost effective approach to computer security. Rather than maintaining a permanent organization to address the issue, these groups can set up the necessary security protocol and do security check and upgrades on a periodic basis.

But if network security is key to your business, then a permanent, in-house group constantly monitoring your system for infestation and breaches on a 24/7 basis is in order. In this case, efficiency is the key even if there are significant cost implications.

If you find it necessary to contract the service of a computer and network security company, there are internet sites which provide lists of reliable 3rd party providers. Quotes may even be had online.