In the News

Computing world yet to stub out spyware

Business Standard, India - Nov 30, 2006

On an average, Symantec reports two lakh malware submissions per month and anti-spyware product company Max Secure Software has identified over two lakh anti-spyware threats.

Moreover, since January 1, 2006, McAfee has recognized approximately 50,000 new security vulnerabilities and expects the number to exceed 2.25 lakh by the end of the year.

Given the current trends, McAfee expects the 300,000th threat to be identified by the end of 2007, demonstrating its growth potential. Scary, isn't it?

It's numbers like these that made the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group to declare November 30 as Computer Security Day. As India gets ready to brace a digital future, it's not malware, spyware, spam or viruses, but the dismal adoption of security measures, which are the biggest hurdle.

"Identity theft is staring in the face of corporates, government and consumers and this has manifested largely on lack of user awareness," said Raghu Raman, chief executive officer, Mahindra Special Services group. One out of 100 people is a victim of identity theft in India and one out of every 20 globally.

"Identity theft is growing at 50 per cent on par with the electronic business growth and the losses faced by the industry are already over Rs. 10 crore and could also be up to Rs 50 crore," noted Vijay Mukhi, president, Foundation of Information Security and Technology (FIST).

M N Kutty Nair, CMD, MIEL e-Security – who has dedicated the last week of November as 'Information Security Awareness Week' – agrees. "The need is to build a security culture through security awareness as IT touches every aspect of our business and life," he said.

Expectedly, Vishal Dhupar, MD, Symantec, predicts the number of threats to confidential information (enterprise as well as consumer end) are likely to hold steady or increase in the next six months. "Phishing attacks against the financial services sector are most likely to produce the greatest monetary gain for attackers," said Dhupar.

"The threats (to watch out in 2007) at an enterprise level," says Kartik Shahani, director, sales, India & Saarc, McAfee, "would be end-point security, compliance and regulatory and data loss prevention.

The task at hand would be to get the risk to management level and the way to do it is by using the risk management and assessment solutions".

A security report by Cisco Systems cautions remote workers against exposing their employers to a wide range of IT threats by using poor laptop etiquette and connecting to corporate systems using non-trusted wireless connections.

Rajendra Dhavale, consulting director, CA (India and SAARC), noted, "With financial risks associated with information theft and regulatory non-compliance escalating and IT budgets retaining their static framework, customers will be under intense pressure to do a better job of managing who gets access to what."

So if you're probably wondering why you don't have the day off (to celebrate the day), it is probably because your computer may be under attack. Watch out.

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