|CyberCrime - Cyber crime is any criminal activity which uses network access to
commit a criminal act. With the exponential growth of Internet
connection, the opportunities for the exploitation of any weaknesses in
Information Security are multiplying. |
Cyber crime may be internal or external, with the former easier to perpetrate.
The term has evolved over the past few years since the adoption of Internet connection on a global scale with hundreds of millions of users. Cybercrime refers to the act of performing a criminal act using cyberspace (the Internet network), as the communications vehicle. Some would argue that a Cybercrime is not a crime as it is a crime against software and not against a person's person or property.
However, while the legal systems around the world scramble to introduce laws to combat Cybercriminals, two types of attack are prevalent :-
|Techno-crime . A pre-meditated act against a system or systems, with the express intent to copy, steal, prevent access, corrupt or otherwise deface or damage parts or all of a computer system. The 24x7 connection to the Internet makes this type of Cybercrime a real possibility to engineer from anywhere in the world; leaving few if any, 'finger prints'.|
|Techno-vandalism . These acts of 'brainless' defacement of Websites, and/or other activities such as copying files and publicising their contents publicly, are usually opportunistic in nature. Tight internal security, allied to strong technical safeguards should prevent the vast majority of such incidents.|
|Computer Viruses Computer Viruses are pieces of programming code which have been purposely written to inflict an unexpected result upon an innocent victim. There are now approximately 50,000 viruses and their variants for which known cures of 'vaccines' are available. Viruses are transmitted within other (seemingly) legitimate files or programs, the opening, or execution of which, causes the virus to run and to replicate itself within your computer system, as well as performing some sort of action. Such actions can be as harmless as causing characters to 'fall off' the screen (early DOS based Virus in the 1980s), to the most malicious viruses which destroy data files and replicate themselves to everyone in your e-mail directory. It is essential to guard against virus attacks by a combination of cautious, guarded, awareness, together with a modern anti-virus package and regular updates - every two weeks is recommended. There are many Internet sites providing updates on Viruses; here are some examples www.sophos.com or www.symantec/avcenter.|
A cracker is either a piece of software (program) whose purpose is to
'crack' the code to, say, a password; or 'cracker' refers to a person
who attempts to gain unauthorised access to a computer system. Such
persons are usually ill intentioned and perform malicious acts of
techno-crime and vandalism. |
|Code breaking software . A piece of software designed to decipher a code, but used most often to 'crack a password. Crackers operate quite simply by testing large numbers of possible passwords much faster than a human being could hope to perform. Passwords can be extraordinarily complex, but, given sufficient time, and sufficient computer power, ANY password can be broken - even one of 64 case-sensitive characters. Companies are well advised to ensure that, to prevent system penetration by a Cracker, there is a limit on the number of password tries permitted before the system locks and notifies the Security Officer and/or Network Administrator. Three attempts is fairly standard; other systems may be less strict, while some high security installations will permit only one attempt before locking and generating security alert messages.|
|Illegal entry into a computer system . These individuals often have malicious intent and can have multiple tools for breaking into a system. The term was adopted circa 1985 by hackers in defence against journalistic misuse of 'hacker'. Contrary to widespread myth, cracking does not usually involve some mysterious leap of intuition or brilliance, but rather the persistent repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks that exploit common weaknesses in the security of target systems. Accordingly, most crackers are only mediocre hackers. Crackers tend to gather in small, tight-knit, very secretive groups that have little overlap with the huge, open hacker poly-culture; though crackers often like to describe themselves as hackers, most true hackers consider crackers a separate and lower form of life, little better than virus writers.|
|Trojan Term coined by hacker, turned spook, Dan Edwards. A Trojan Horse is a malicious, security-breaking program that is disguised as something benign, such as a directory lister, archiver, game or, in one notorious 1990 case on the Apple Macintosh, a program to search and destroy viruses! A Trojan is a type of virus which normally requires a user to perform some action before the payload can be activated. Famous examples include the latest (May 2000) attack by a virus known as 'Resume' in which an E-mail is received with an attachment which purports to be the CV of a lady seeking employment. A CV is actually attached, but embedded within it is a macro-virus which activates the Trojan program as soon as the document is opened for viewing. If the attachment is not opened, the virus cannot deliver the payload and no damage is done. A basic defence against all viruses is a strict organisation policy that E-mail attachments should not be opened until they have been checked by an anti-virus scanner and then only if they originate from a known, reliable, source (even other known users may be infected). Any attachment which does not meet these criteria should be saved to a floppy disk and passed to your anti virus software vendor's investigation team to investigate. Meanwhile the original E-mail message with its attachment must be deleted from the user's system.|
|Troll An E-mail message, Usenet posting, or other electronic communication, which is intentionally incorrect, but - unlike flame bait - not overtly controversial. Trolling aims to elicit an emotional reaction from those with a hair-trigger on the Reply To... key. A really subtle troll makes some people lose their minds. Not a good idea for organisation e-mail addresses to be associated with Trolls.|
|Trolling Baiting readers on Usenet newsgroups with a post designed to incite a large volume of angry responses. Posts such as those that scream out racist epithets are common trolls. This activity is not normally a problem for companies - unless the person trolling happens to be using a organisation machine when the likely result may well be mail-bombing or other denial of service activity.|
|Intrusion Detection System IDS Intrusion Detection Systems are complex software applications, which monitor network activity using various techniques, such as 'intelligent agents'. Many current applications will not only detect misuse but also identify a known pattern of attack, or attack scenario. The IDS can then automatically terminate the offending session and send an alert to the Systems Administrator.|
PCWorld.com - Microsoft, VeriSign Warn of Security Hole
Windows users risk infection if fooled by bogus digital certificates . ... I'd trust a level 3 VeriSign certificate saying it's from Microsoft." ...