Threats to IT Assets
Information technology systems work to transmit, store, receive, and manipulate data. These systems are vital to everyday life and are often underrated and underappreciated. However, with every upside there are ways in which theses systems are threatened every day. With IT systems there are numerous threats involved. These threats are classified into two categories as either intentional or unintentional. Many of them can be prevented and treated in order to keep these systems and assets running up to par. The biggest and most widely known threat to organizations would have to be viruses. These viruses have the power to completely dismantle a system and break it down, sometimes with little chance of repair. The Microsoft website defines a computer virus as “a small software program that spreads from one computer to another and interferes with computer operation”. The thing that makes these viruses so deadly is that they can be transferred easily without notice through functions even as simple as email use. They can hide in downloadable files as well as pirated software. They can also spread from sharing music, files or photos with other users, visiting an infected Web site, opening attachments, and installing mainstream software applications without fully reading license agreements. Fortunately there are ways to deal with viruses threatening an IT system. By installing reliable anti-virus software and anti-spyware/malware programs companies and organizations can prevent these viruses from accessing private data and doing damage to one’s machine. Installing a firewall helps greatly also. A firewall is a program that screens incoming Internet and network traffic. Along with a virus program, it can help prevent unauthorized access to a system.
Sometimes it also comes down to basic computer knowledge and knowing what to look for. Even as a casual computer user, people should have an idea of how their machine operates, what normal pop up windows look like and what popular viruses are out there, that way, when a computer begins exhibiting tell tale signs, they will know. Individuals can help prevent computer viruses by staying updated and educated. One of the biggest threats that utilize viruses is cybercriminals. Malicious software is written by cybercriminals with the purpose of making money illegally. It’s called crime ware and may take the form of viruses, worms, Trojans or other malicious programs. Crime ware is malicious software that is covertly installed on computers. Also, most crime ware programs are in fact Trojans. Another deadly threat to IT systems and assets are hackers. In relation to computer security a hacker is a person who seeks and exploits the weaknesses found in a computer network and/or system. Webroot goes into further detail on how hackers operate: “Anyone who uses a computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to the threats that computer hackers and predators pose. These online villains typically use phishing scams, spam email or instant messages and bogus Web sites to deliver dangerous malware to your computer and compromise your computer security.”(Webroot and Computer Hackers and Predators, 2013). By using these methods to access personal information they can hijack usernames and passwords, steal money and open credit card and bank accounts in someone’s name, ruin credit, request new account Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or additional credit cards and make purchases. With the consequences of letting a hacker gain access to one’s information it is no question why this threat can be just as, or even deadlier, than a virus. The same preventative measures that need to be taken to prevent viruses should be taken to prevent hackers from infiltrating a computer system. By continually check the accuracy of personal accounts, limiting the personal information posted on Web sites,