Internet access is crucial to most businesses and the security threats that can be introduced by it are notorious. Emerging Internet threats include spyware and adware technologies, which have the ability to install themselves on machines without users’ knowledge. These types of programs can collect and transmit information, such as key-strokes and Web-surfing behavior, but more importantly can reveal passwords and other sensitive information.
Inappropriate content is a controversial and worrying threat to today’s enterprise. Through the Internet or peer-to-peer file-sharing, employees have the ability to download or share pornographic content. Not only can these cause detrimental effects on company reputation, but could leave the organisation liable to legal action. Both scenarios could result in financial losses.
A major Internet security risk, in which a user could unknowingly incur substanial cost to the organization, is the downloading or introduction of unlicensed software to machines inside the network.
At War with the Law
Software piracy continues to grow.
"More than one third of the software installed on the world’s computers is pirated" according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA). UK copyright laws (penalties include unlimited fines and up to two years imprisonment) serve to deter unlicensed software being introduced onto company machines, but the issue is, how do organizations monitor, let alone, combat unlicensed software being introduced onto corporate systems by their users, via Internet downloads or removable media?
A BSA reward of £10,000 for revealing companies who use unlicensed software has also made it an attractive proposition for some to turn in their organisations to the authorities. After all, it is the company Directors who pay the price not the employee!
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