Hacks and Attacks

16 June 2011

Network hacks and denial of service attacks have been prominent in the news lately. The webs and networks of Sony, EVE:Online, and other companies and institutions have been attacked in various ways.

Fri­rik Sk˙lason, FRISK Software's founder and CTO, has considerable expertise in the field of computer security and has been in Icelandic media talking about the nature of these attacks.

According to Fri­rik Sk˙lason, the reasons for attacks of this nature can be one of three things:

Blackmail. The hackers ask for a 'protection fee' in exchange for not attacking again.

Politics. The hackers are driven by some sort of political agenda.

Attention. The hackers attack high profile targets simply for attention.

The attacks on EVE:Online, for example, seem to have been purely an exercise in attention-seeking.

The hackers use networks of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of computers, which they have taken over without the owners' knowledge.

Denial of service attacks, especially, can be quite difficult to defend against. Companies like Cisco offer various technological solutions, but in many cases even the industry's best practices are not enough to prevent attacks and can only mitigate the damage.

Apprehending the hackers is also problematic. Many of them are located in China or Russia and seem to operate without any interference from the local governments.

What makes tracing the perpetrators even more difficult, is the fact that they use other people's computers to perform the attacks.

Attacks such as these are now a permanent fixture of the modern internet. Every computer can be the weak link. We all have a responsibility to keep our computers secure.

Commtouch® is a leading developer of anti virus software and anti spam filtering services. Commtouch's anti virus computer software, F-PROT Antivirus, is available for a number of operating systems such as Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris, and AIX as well as the Microsoft Exchange groupware.

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