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October 2004

Preventing spyware and third-party attacks

About a year ago, Ben Stein, VP of IT infrastructure at online trader OptionsXpress, concluded that spyware was more than just a nuisance--it had emerged as a significant security threat. "There was nothing huge and new; it reached a critical mass," says Stein. "These are potentially installed on machines where customer service people are logging into customer accounts using internal applications." Spyware is an umbrella term for two primary applications: annoying but legitimate adware programs, and clearly malicious tools like keystroke loggers, backdoors and sophisticated Trojans. "Basically, it's anything installed without the user's knowledge, anything with no known benefit to the user, just to a third party," Stein says. The common characteristic among these programs is that they give third parties unauthorized access to a company's PCs and, by extension, its network. Most home users would be alarmed to find a keystroke-logger like ISpyNow or a malicious Trojan like NetBus on their PC. But the same users may be indifferent ...

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Features in this issue

  • Preventing spyware and third-party attacks

    by  David Geer, Contributor

    Is your IT infrastructure prepared for spyware? In this feature, learn how to prepare your enterprise for spyware and how best to avoid these third-party attacks.

Columns in this issue

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