Frequently Asked Questions
Everyone is at risk. Many people think that cyber terrorism is directed only at military institutions, power plants, air traffic control centers, banks, and telecommunication networks. In truth, any computer that is part of a "network" is a potential target. Everyone, from small business owners to government institutions to private citizens, is at risk.
Yes. Seventy-two percent of Florida businesses have fewer than 10 employees. This means that many businesses lack dedicated computer support staff. Consequently, small businesses are a more vulnerable target for network intrusion.
A virus is a computer program that is designed to perform some activity that you are not aware of and that you probably don't want. It attaches itself to other disks and files, and—just like a real virus—it replicates itself and attempts to spread. Some viruses attach to program files, so when the infected file runs, the virus also runs. Other viruses sit in a computer's memory and infect files as the computer opens or modifies them. Viruses can also create new files. The term "virus" is commonly misused to include Trojan horses, and worms. See our website for more information on viruses.
A Trojan horse is a destructive program that initially purports to be harmless. The purpose of most Trojan horses is to get access to your computer from another location. Trojan horses are often found attached to programs you receive in e-mail or download from the Internet. Trojan horses are not viruses since they do not replicate, but the programs can be just as destructive.
Worms are similar to viruses in that they are programs that replicate themselves and usually affect the function of your computer. The difference is that worms are stand-alone programs; they do not attach themselves to other files or programs. A worm can spread itself automatically over the network from one computer to the next, by taking advantage of automatic file sending and receiving features found on many computers.
I have heard that a lot of virus scares are actually hoaxes; how can I tell what is real and what is not?
A firewall prevents computers on your network from communicating directly with external computer systems or networks. A firewall can be either software, hardware, or a combination of the two. It analyzes information and rejects it if it does not conform to pre-configured rules. See our website for more information on firewalls.
No, we are not trying to sell anything. Secure Florida does not endorse any product specifically. Our goal is to increase awareness of computer security issues within the state of Florida.
Potential intruders may be interested in more than simply stealing your information or creating havoc within your computer. Often they want to gain control of your computer so that they can use it to launch attacks on other systems, making you appear to be the guilty party. Investigation would show that the attack came from your computer, and you would be left to answer some very serious questions.
Yes, if an intruder were able to penetrate your computer network, they would be able to read any e-mail messages transferred within that network.
This term refers to an electronic or paper log that is created when a computer or computer network is used. An audit trail may record attempts to gain unauthorized access to your system. If you notify law enforcement of an intrusion, they will want to see your audit trail.
Encryption is the 'scrambling' of data (putting it in code) so it becomes difficult to organize and interpret. Viruses are often encrypted in order to avoid detection from anti-virus software. See our website for more information on encryption.
A network intrusion involves an unauthorized user hacking into a computer network. Some of these intrusions are not malicious in nature, but are intrusions nonetheless, and the possible dangers are endless. An intruder may erase your payroll records, alter your accounting information, gather your customer information, or any other kind of costly, time-consuming vandalism.
Cyber terrorism refers to the use of computers and computer resources to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population in order to further a specific political agenda.
Possibly. Many anti-virus vendors use a behavior-based analysis of computer programs to identify a potential virus, known as a heuristic scan. This function looks for programs that behave the way a virus might. Anti-virus software that is up to date will be more efficient in detecting new viruses on your computer system.
At its most basic, a network is a group of two or more computers linked together. It could be as simple as linking the computer in your front office with the computer in your shipping department. Or, it could be as complicated as the network of a multi-national company, which has thousands of computers linked with each other, with their customers and vendors, and with the Internet.
Yes, an intruder could potentially deface or otherwise alter your company's website. Although defacing a website may involve only a small monetary loss, it demonstrates a significant weakness within your computer network. Plus, it can severely damage your reputation with your customers, and cause you significant loss of revenue.
Most major anti-virus programs are not free. There are, however, some freeware versions of anti-virus programs available. Check out www.grisoft.com, www.my-etrust.com or www.tucows.com for a list of free virus protection programs.
A sniffer is a software program that monitors network traffic. Hackers use sniffers to capture data transmitted within your network.
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