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TODAY'S TOPIC: CYBER ATTACK PROTECTION
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More evidence keeps coming in that China is behind a massive, global system of cyber attacks: http://www.neurope.eu/articles/Is-China-behind-cyber-attacks/107827.php. This cyber attack system has penetrated 72 organizations, including the U.S. government, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency and many other organizations, including high-tech companies and defense contractors. The security firm McAfee discovered this network of attacks, and has named it "Operation Shady RAT" - an acronym for "Remote Access Tool." Dmitri Alperovitch at McAfee says it's possible that another state actor such as Russia could be behind the attacks, but most signs point to China. These attacks have been going on for months, and in some cases for years, before being discovered.

Several other articles have reported on these cyber attacks: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/0803/Massive-global-cyberattack-hits-US-hard-Who-could-have-done-it and http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/08/03/massive-global-cyberattack-targeting-us-un-discovered-experts-blame-china/ are just a couple of them. The main method used was "spear phishing" - sending emails with attachments to strategic persons and "spoofing" the sender's name to that of a work associate, so that the recipient would trust the message and open the attachment: this would trigger the infection. Then the malware would begin sending terabytes - that's trillions of bytes - of top-secret or proprietary information to servers on the other side of the world. The question arises: how did all these governments and companies leave themselves so open to attack, and how can they - and we - protect against it in the future?


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. - Mitchell Kapor


As you've read over and over in our e-newsletters, we need to pay as much attention to computer security as we do to our own physical safety. Most people, in my experience, don't regularly run special scans on their computers for malware, don't backup their files, and don't inspect email attachments. How do you inspect an email attachment? Instead of opening it in your email program and unleashing a possible infection, save the attachment to your hard drive and scan it for malware. If any email message in your inbox looks suspicious, do something similar: save the message to your hard drive and browse it with a plain text file reader or text editor such as Windows Notepad, looking for links to strange websites. You should also be running a program such as AVG Link Scanner that checks out website links before your browser lets you open the links. This has saved my computer from infection several times!

What can governments and companies do to prevent malware infections? Military networks take the precaution of not being connected at all to the regular Internet, so servicemen can't send or receive regular email messages while on duty. Governments and companies can do something similar: keep the computers that contain confidential or proprietary info physically and electronically separate from the Internet. If any such info absolutely must be transmitted over the Internet, it should be encrypted. Passwords must not be sent over the Internet. If you don't have an extra computer that you can isolate from the Internet, you can still use free encryption programs to secure your files by going to my "AA 12 Step Plan" and downloading "SafeHouse" and/or "AxCrypt." These will keep your files private even if you have to give your administrator password to a computer technician so he can repair your computer.


Click on Online PC Support for our worldwide help   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

Also, click on the above Offsite Backups link to get an program, "IDrive," that provides a free 5Gb account. Five gigabytes - that's enough for most people's photos, documents and many other files. I've already installed it on several of my clients' computers... once after a client's hard drive crashed and required expensive efforts to recover the client's personal files: important documents and photos. So don't put it off, thinking - "It'll never happen to me." Do it now!


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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