June 4, 2010

Do Pop-up Blockers Protect your Network from Spyware?


Hostway Team

By Samantha Gluck

Adware and spyware have become increasingly aggressive intruders for PCs over the past decade or more. Consumers have fought the intrusions and security breaches with free or retail protection/removal software. However, the problem of adware and spyware has now spilled over into the business community and is affecting entire networks of businesses both large and small. Allowing these programs to invade your PCs and business network not only exposes sensitive data to malicious use, but can slow down computers and entire networks to the point of rendering them useless.

Do I Need More Than a Pop-Up Blocker?

Pop-Up blockers claim to protect individual PCs from adware and spyware and some of them do a great job. Windows Defender is free to all licensed users of the Windows suite of operating systems. Other options include spyware protection and removal software available for purchase in retail outlets. When Web sites attempt to install adware or spyware on a PC equipped with this software, a message will pop up stating that the attempt was thwarted and will include other information or options for the user. While these may protect an individual PC, they do nothing to protect a business network.

Isn’t My Firewall Enough?

Digital security companies created firewalls to protect against hackers and viruses from getting in to computer networks, but do little or nothing to protect against certain types of packets let out of the network. Some firewalls offer protection against these packets, but should be considered the last line of defense and not the first against such activities. Small businesses could feasibly install quality spyware protection and removal software on each PC and make certain their perimeter firewall is up to date and configured to watch for certain types of packets attempting to leave the network. However, this still requires a lot of work on the part of whoever is in charge of IT services and may not always work. Each PC will have to be regularly updated with databases and rules — a time and labor intensive job if you have a business to run as well.

What Is My Alternative?

Until recently, businesses had to rely on the freeware and retail client-based software available to consumers for protection and removal of already installed spyware. Nothing existed to address the growing issue of spyware on business networks. Now a couple of Internet security companies have introduced enterprise level spyware protection software. One such company called, Webroot, released its affordable and easy to configure Spy Sweeper software. Spy Sweeper has a client-server architecture, which adds convenience as well as the peace of mind of total network protection. The company claims the software suitable for any business network no matter how large or small. Updates can be easily pushed out to client workstations from the server.

About the Author

Samantha Gluck has had over a decade of experience helping businesses better focus their Web sites to enhance ecommerce and Internet presence by utilizing Web analytics, relevant design elements and marketing campaigns.

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