[AI] Insulating endpoints from attacks

Renuka Warrier erenuka at gmail.com
Sun Jun 27 02:34:04 EDT 2010


The Hindu : Sci-Tech / Technology : Insulating endpoints from attacks
TECHNOLOGY 
HYDERABAD, June 27, 2010 


ABHIJIT DEV KUMAR 
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The evolution of smart phones into being the next major computing platform has employees using them more like PCs than a phone.
The HinduThe evolution of smart phones into being the next major computing platform has employees using them more like PCs than a phone. 

These devices are constantly at the risk of malicious attacks by hackers

Addressing virtual attacks and keeping their computers and mobile devices protected is one of the major concerns of Indian companies today. 

Until a few years ago, a majority of computers were wired to the corporate network, but now, with the entry of laptops and smart devices, the scene is different.
These wireless devices, technically known as 'endpoints,' are constantly at the risk of malicious attacks by hackers.

According to a recent study by the International Data Corporation, the number of endpoints will reach one billion by 2011, with the Asia Pacific region
accounting for a majority. 

Traditionally, the protection of these endpoints was limited to installing anti-virus, anti-spyware, desktop firewall, intrusion prevention and device control
technology. However, with corporate boundaries melting, the increasing number of Indians working on the move has made the traditional approach to securing
data insufficient.

"The recently released Symantec 2010 Enterprise Security Report on Millennial Mobile Workforce and Data Loss showed that employees are using their own personal
devices for corporate purposes, either at workplace or while working remotely," says Vishal Dhupar, MD, Symantec, India. 

"Moreover, 59 per cent of Indian enterprises feel employee-owned endpoints compromise on security. Also, with mobile devices becoming more sophisticated,
they provide greater access and store more data and become a higher target for theft," he says.

The evolution of smart phones into being the next major computing platform has employees using them more like PCs than a phone. However, smart phones too
are prone to malicious attacks and instances of 'Bluejacking' and 'Bluesnarfing,' which involve sending malicious data through Bluetooth and copying contents
of mobile device, are also on the rise.

According to Symantec's report, organisations expressed concerns at the vulnerability of employee-owned mobile devices. The risk of smart phones being attacked
was 62 per cent, followed by Windows-based laptops at 55 per cent, PDAs at 44 per cent and Mac-based laptops at 33 per cent.

"Smart phones are usually attacked by hackers through Bluetooth and MMS. They can also be affected by emails, instant messaging, Wi-Fi and Internet downloads.
Another notable threat is from snoopware which compromises the device's functionality by disabling applications or sending text messages without the user's
knowledge," Mr. Dhupar says.

According to industry reports, more than 43 million Indians used mobile banking facilities for making and checking transactions, and as more people use
such facilities, the financial incentives for virus writers and mobile hackers too increase.

New software

"Companies should go a step ahead from the conventional methods of countermeasures such as firewalls, anti-virus and intrusion detection and prevention.
We have also worked on these issues and come up with software such as Symantec Endpoint Protection Mobile Edition 6.0 and Symantec Mobile Management 7.0,"
he says.

Companies should also make sure that their software is up-to-date, adopt a password policy, keep security product subscription updated and finally, have
a comprehensive heuristic file protection, intrusion prevention system and behavioural monitoring. 


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