While there are plenty of people who use the internet and computers responsibly and honestly, there are predators and hackers out there who spoil the fun for everyone if their dirty deeds go unchecked. There are a lot of ways for these people to compromise your computer and your network. Below we will review just a few of the ways that your network can be compromised.
Two destructive network breaches fall under a category known as "destructive behavior." One involves the complete obliteration of data within your network. It is called "data destruction" and it is just what it sounds like. It happens when someone breaches your network and deletes data. If your network is business-related, this can be devastating. Experts say that it is no less destructive than a fire that destroys your computer equipment.
Some perpetrators have more than simple destruction in mind. They do something called "data diddling" which means that they alter the data in your system. They might change data in spreadsheets or other documents, or they might tamper with your accounting system. Some examples of things that have really happened involve the accounting system specifically. "Hackers" have broken into a network, accessed the accounting system, and changed the account numbers on direct deposit paychecks to go into their own accounts. Thefts like this take some time to track down - first the employee has to not get paid, investigations have to be made, and someone has to think to double-check the direct deposit account information. In some cases, companies have cut new paper checks and it has taken months to retrieve the lost funds.
Another way in which networks are vulnerable is in the realm of confidentiality. A lot of times, companies possess information that, if shared with a competitor, could be very bad for business. In this case, predators are not looking to alter or destroy data, they are merely trying to find out information they're not supposed to know. If someone were to find out financial performance information before a public release of said information it could affect the stock negatively. If a company is planning to roll out a new product and someone gets that information and gives it to a competitor, or leaks the information to the public, it could hurt the company's sales. Even more frightening is the possibility of someone breaking in to view confidential employee-related data - like home addresses, social security numbers, and bank account information.
All of these network attacks happen because outside users are able to gain unauthorized access to a network. To access information, change data, or delete data, the attacker gains access to a network and is able to execute illicit commands - either at the normal user level or at the administrator level. Both are bad, but luckily both can be avoided if you take these threats seriously and develop sound policies regarding your network security .
Lawrence Reaves works for PLANIT Technology Group, a leading provider of Richmond enterprise storage and Virginia Beach network security. PLANIT can be found online at: PLANITTech.com.
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