The Network Poltergeist
by Jonathan Mepsted - Regional Director, Fortinet - Wednesday, 2 March 2005.
Toolbar Trackers - installed to modify the computer's existing toolbar features. These programs can be used to monitor web habits, send information back to the developer, or change the functionality of the host.

Downloaders - installed to allow other software to be downloaded and installed without the user's knowledge. These applications are usually run during the startup process and can be used to install advertising, dial software, or other malicious code. They can also disable existing desktop-based anti-virus programs, leaving the computer immediately prone to infection – often by duping the user into unwittingly switching it off.

The most imperative step against this family of threats is user education, starting with established policies that prohibit downloading and installing applications that are not approved by the company.

The really nasty applications however, will always be deceptive and try to stay well hidden to prevent disinfection and removal. In addition to strengthening settings on browsers and email programs, administrators should install anti-Grayware detection at the network ingress rather than risk the ‘user switch-off’ vulnerabilities of a desktop solution. For additional mobile workers operating outside of the environment, a resilient VPN client with personal firewall, anti-virus and Grayware detection will help ensure that all users are protected against all threats.

Back at the dinner party, who’d have thought Grayware could be the subject of some coffee and mints chit-chat? If you’ve ever enjoyed scaring the wits out of someone with tales of hackers, bugs and viruses – try Grayware on for size. Discussing it in the context of scary movies again, make sure you catch this year’s big Christmas blockbuster: “I Know What You Did Last Summer, Where You Went, Who You Went With, How Much You Paid & With Which of Your Passwords.”


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