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July 5, 2012

The Evolution of Online Security

Throughout the evolution of the internet, there have been malicious programs which negatively affect how a computer runs.

In fact, long before the internet became mainstream, computer programmers would create and install applications that crashed their colleagues’ computers as a prank. However, it is fair to say that the world of cyber crime has advanced significantly since the days when malware was only used for harmless tomfoolery.

Fast forward to 2012 and there are now legions of organized gangs that aim to exploit undefended computer networks for their own personal gain. Considering the importance of computer networks, internet access and e-commerce to many businesses in the present day, it is arguably more important than ever to protect a computer from the malicious software lurking online.

Early Warning Signs

A number of experts have cited the development of the Vienna virus in 1987 as a major milestone in the world of cyber crime. The source code of this virus was made publicly available and it is thought that this did a lot to help the formulation of computer viruses to become a popular pastime.

The notion of creating viruses for profit didn’t really take off until the early 2000s, shortly after the notorious ILOVEYOU email virus affected nearly 45 million computers across the globe.

The ILOVEYOU virus was widely credited with introducing people to the idea of profit-motivated malware. As the century went on, hackers began to create and spread malware with the motivation of a potentially huge financial reward. It soon became common practice to spread viruses across websites in order to infect thousands of visitors to that domain in one hit.

Protecting Computer Networks

Thankfully, the online world has grown wiser to scams like the ILOVEYOU virus. It is now common practice to have anti-virus software installed on computers and there are plenty of tools available to protect websites from having malware attacks. These include vulnerability scans, detection software and managed firewalls.

Those utilizing web hosting services at a data center may find the supplier of the service offers these services as standard; however this is something companies should double check. i.e.: watch video showing the security services at http://www.peer1hosting.co.uk/infrastructure/green-data-centre

Other Cyber Crime

Unfortunately, malicious software is no longer the only problem that internet users and website owners have to worry about. The early 2000s also saw the proliferation of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and phishing scams.

Any business website host worth its salt should now provide its customers with web monitoring software to spot a potential DDoS
attack on their website – as well as an SSL certificate, which can help customers feel safer when shopping on their domain.

Even for the businesses who aren’t selling products online, SSL certificates are key to providing a secure intranet that can’t be intruded by hackers.

Online Security in 2012

Although basic online security measures are far more advanced in the present day than they were when cyber crime first became rife, there is no doubt that computer hackers have become more intelligent too.

A host of high-profile companies, including Sony, Citibank and even MI6 have had important files stolen from them in 2011; leaving their reputations significantly damaged as a result. As well as the growing importance of e-commerce, this is one of the main reasons why online businesses should make e-security one of their key investments of 2012.


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