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Virus, Trojans and Malware Essay

Virus, Trojans and Malware have emerged as top most concerns amongst the IT decision and policy makers. The e-crimes are at all time high, growing on year on year basis at alarming rates.  Phishing attacks, credit card information stealth, personal data intrusion are bugging all the computer users, be it corporate or a general user sitting at home. The enormity of the problem can be judged from a incident faced by Brent Oxley, head of a leading Web hosting company called HostGator. The incident sabotaged the entire network of HostGator, infecting all the computers who used the web hosting sites with a deadly virus.  He might not be alone who faced this problem, every day millions of users complain of their laptops being slowed down because of virus, or worst still million of users are still unaware that their personal information is being stolen by Trojan and Malware residing on their computers without their knowledge.

Although Anti virus companies are coming out with new and sophisticated solutions to counter these attacks, but the results are nothing to boast about .The reasons for failure partly lie in the exponential growth of the unscrupulous elements who write deadly applications and codes that have the potential to bring supercomputers to a halt in a second and partly to the fact that Anti-virus solutions offered by companies are not cheap. While first reason is something we don’t have much control over, but the latter reason calls for some course of action. In this article we will understand why cheap or free Anti-virus Software offered by companies to home users would to a great extent make life a little easier for them.

The first fact to consider is that reputed Anti-virus companies charge a good fee from home users for downloading and maintaining a security solution .The fee ranges from anywhere like twenty dollar a year to more . Such a fee makes anti-virus solution unaffordable for general user. Resulting in million of home computers lying unprotected and at mercy of unscrupulous and malicious code. The second thing to consider is that a single computer which might not be on company’s network has potential to disrupt the entire operations of the organizations for days, resulting in loss of millions of dollars and priceless data.  This is because, there is nothing like a standalone computer. An infected computer has strength and ability to propagate itself into millions others, if this computer happens to be one of the user of company’s products, then it is not difficult to understand that in some or the other way companies precious data is stealthy being sneaked into by a malicious script.

By providing free anti-virus solution to the end user, a company not only safeguards itself against a future attack but also earns good will from many users.

Economically speaking, such a step would definitely not have negative implications on the balance sheet as the amount of goodwill and advertising it will receive out of this activity will take care of the loss of revenue, which actually never occurred as not so many people purchase the expensive anti-virus solution from the company.

By homing for free anti-virus solution ,it is not to say that such software is a freebie .The companies can offer these free for 15 days trial and then provide a purchase option after trial end . If a user doesn’t make a purchase, then product can keep on running with some basic functionality. Infact it is highly likely that a satisfied customer would rather be encouraged to purchase it from the company, boosting the sales in the end.

External attacks are not the sole threats of Organization, the internal network of Organization itself can pose serious security concerns for IT policy makers. Some of these concerns are enumerated as follows:

1. Lack of documented security policy: Organisations place little or no emphasis on formulating a secured IT policy and laying down practices and norms for employees to use while using IT products. Many a times, organizations fail to implement these policies resulting in sheer neglect of laid down rules and practices. This negligence can result in serious loss. To quote an incident , burglary in house of an employee led to data loss of 2.5 million veteran employees which was hosted on laptop of an employee which the employee was not supposed to carry home as per IT security policy. To counter such incidents, companies not only need to lay down sophisticated IT-policies but also see that it is brought into practice in every way by everyone.

2. Monitoring of Employees : Many a times , the internal staff itself ,out of either ignorance or negligence can expose precious information to unscrupulous elements . The unscrupulous element might be a visitor or a salesman with whom an employee could share confidential information without understanding the gravity or implication of such an act. To take care of this ,many companies deploy employee monitoring solutions in addition to anti-virus software’s ,firewalls and VPN’s

3. Spamming : Although spamming appears less hideous to end-users but for companies it’s a huge problem as IT administrators have to counter spam not from one account but from thousands . The amount of effort, space, time and other resources that go into tackling spam cannot be ignored.

Everybody in the organization has the part to play in maintaining the security of a firm .The IT management should formulate a fool-proof IT policy, while non-IT management should take Security aspects on priority basis and should take decisions that put a premium onto it. The employees on their part should obey the security policies and act responsibly. The end user should also own up his responsibility and should deploy adequate security measures and should understand a dollar spent on security would save him thousand of dollars in the end.

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