Network security crucial

Alex Kayle
By Alex Kayle, Senior portals journalist
Johannesburg, 06 Apr 2009

In the same way a person secures their home, they should also worry about the security of their IT network, says Jason Gottschalk, manager in IT advisory for KPMG.

Gottschalk will speak at the ITWeb Security Summit 2009 at the end of May, about the growth of the anti-virus industry. He has over 13 years of IT experience within the consulting, implementation and auditing industry.

“There's too much reliance on an anti-virus platform on a desktop level. It's no better than armed response for a house; in the same way that an armed response company may not have enough armed guards, the anti-virus software may have an insufficient number of up-to-date signatures to detect for threats.”

Gottschalk says anti-virus should rather be seen by business as an integral part of an army of defence in order to properly protect a business IT environment.

Not a cure-all

“In a corporate environment, the controls are not where they should be and rely heavily on perimeter protection,” says Gottschalk. “If your security is too tight, you're going to have false positives - some files that seem to be virus-related could be legitimate. There has to be a balance by what you want to achieve.

ITWeb Security Summit 2009

More information about the ITWeb Security Summit 2009 conference, which takes place from 26 to 28 May 2009 at Vodaworld is available online here.

“Most businesses want something that will be consistent throughout. They will go with an anti-virus system that they can manage better than a virus manager that struggles to handle 10 000 machines and slows the system down. When new viruses come into the market they come in via e-mail or Web surfing, and less likely via USB drives, and companies need to be vigilant all-round.”

According to Gottschalk, malware is always on the increase. However, he says, it's become easier for cyber-criminals to develop malware because of the advancements in technology. In addition, cyber-criminals are increasingly using encryption techniques to make it difficult for perimeter devices to pick up the malicious threat.

Malware booms

A McAfee report recently published predicts the world will see more malware within the next 12 months than before. In March 2008, McAfee had identified more malware than in all of 2007. Over 1.5 million pieces of malware were identified, with an average of 3 500 new pieces a day. McAfee expects this to escalate this year. McAfee says malware is a business and that business is thriving, with 90% of malware consisting of Trojans and downloaders searching for valuable data.

“The threats are there; however, anti-virus developers are becoming more aware,” says Gottschalk. “It's not your traditional virus anymore, it's constantly evolving and anti-virus vendors need to keep up with the trends. Businesses can no longer simply rely on its virus scanner to pick up on every threat. Users need to also rely on discretion on whether to open an attachment or not and whether it comes from a credible source.”

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