Security 101: Security Basics (Part 2 of 3)

Technology Trends & Culture - May 2nd, 2003
tokyoweekender_Pocketop

by Nichiai

This is the second article in a three-part series, giving you some food for thought regarding home and corporate PC/network security.

Some Pretty Sсary Stuff…

Last month we touched on who the “bad guys” were and briefly covered why they would target you. This month we’ll go into more detail on what they want from you, why, and what they could use it for.

Here are some answers:

❖Hackers want your comput­ing resources. They can make use of your computing resources, such as processor speed and memory, for high profile mischief.

❖Hackers want your Internet connection bandwidth. In con­junction with your computing resources, they can use your bandwidth in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks using your PC, and many others, in a combined attack to flood the Internet with traffic, overloading it to cause stalls in connectivity and host crashes.

❖Some of you may recall the recent high profile DDoS attack on several e-commerce and search engine sites called the “Slammer Worm.” As in that case, many home and business PCs were unknowingly used as launch points for the attacks. The scary part of this is that the evidence pointing to the source of the attack will lead to you.

❖Hackers want your PC/net­work identity. They aim to use your machine as a relay, a stepping stone from which to search for security holes in other networks.

❖ Hackers want your per­sonal/corporate identity infor­mation. They may want credit card numbers or personal infor­mation for the simple purpose of being a nuisance. They may also have real criminal inten­tions, perhaps pretending to be you while collecting confidential information about you, your cus­tomers, your order history, account numbers and more.

Hackers and potential hack­ers require a place to practice. Their reputations rely on “owning” sites, especially prestigious corporate sites. You could unwit­tingly be helping hackers, by being the testing ground for attacks.

The potential for damage to you or your company is real (no scaremongering) and could be quite substantial. Perhaps, even more so, because you are not a large entity with tight security solutions implemented, making you an easy target. Loss of trust, potential damage to reputation, and financial loss are definitely not issues that should be approached with a laissez-faire mindset.

In next month’s column we’ll explore some of the measures you can take to reduce the risks you or your company may be fac­ing.

Gadget Spotlight: Pocketop™ Portable Keyboard

Do you own a PDA? Ever get tired using your finger or the stylus pen to enter text? We’re happy to tell you that there is now an affordable and easy to use solution for you. It is a Pocketop™ Portable Keyboard.

The Pocketop'” Keyboard is the smallest keyboard that offers the user the traditional touch, feel and functionality of a laptop keyboard. Despite the size, clumsy fingers can use it with ease (author’s view). It connects to your PDA via wireless IR (infrared) technology, which gives the Pocketop™ Keyboard the added advantage of universal compatibility with most Palm OS, PocketPCs and PDAs. The keyboard folds in half, clicks shut for storing and can fit in your breast pocket making it easy to carry.

Although not yet available in Japan (that we could find), you can purchase it online at www.pocketop.net for only US$89 .

The Pocketop™ Keyboard has also won numerous awards, such as PDA Keyboard of the Year 2002 from Computer Shopper magazine; Best Travel Gadgets; and Top Hardware Accessories award from PocketPC magazine, 2003 Buyer’s Guide.