The reputation of an Internet Service Provider is determined by the quality of the service that they offer their customers. Security is one quality that is often overlooked by an ISP, as the costs of good security are perceived to be high and the benefits are rarely actually seen. The results of bad security, on the other hand, can be very obvious, and can result in damage to reputation, increased costs, and ultimately loss of customers.
Once the individuals gain access to a system they can create their own privileged accounts and cover their tracks before leaving. Early in Cable’s short history their System Administrators believed that their systems were clean — they were not. The “hackers” came and brought with them “tool kits” that allowed them to –
- install Trojan horse ‘login’ and ‘telnet’ programs to capture loginid and passwords which were stored in a file on the system for latter perusal;
- hide existence of their presence on the system – both while they were there and after they had left;
- modify common system binaries such as ‘vi’ to created backdoors when run by legitimate users of the system.
Needless to say, an attack of this kind is extremely disruptive.
Precautions to Take
Whether you access the Internet by cable or phone lines, there are certain precautions that should always be taken for added security. Your computer’s security is your responsibility.
- Install firewall software on your computer connected to the cable modem. Examples of these are ZoneAlarm, Lockdown or BlackICE Defender.
- Make sure that your file and print sharing remains disabled (by default, disabled with most operating systems).
- Do not open any e-mail attachments or downloaded files without first virus scanning them.
- Ensure that you have a virus scanner with the most up-to-date virus lists loaded into your virus scanner and check often for updates.
- Effectively detect spyware, adware, and even some trojans with AdWare or SpyBot
- Test your system’s vulnerability to hackers – free test, free firewall protection with Shields Up!
- Perform regular backups of all important files as safeguard against data loss. Remember – your data is only as safe as the last backup.