Computers

Cyber security policy for small business

The internet has opened up a whole new market for all businesses. Unfortunately, one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the country is that of the so-called "Cyber-Security" industry.

Every day, we hear about the latest threat to your network's security, the latest improvement to software that helps to fend off attacks, the latest anti-virus database that helps you keep your system clean, and countless other technologies that help your business operate more securely and efficiently.

However, as with most technologies, there are major flaws and drawbacks to any technology that helps to keep your computer safe from outside attacks and attempts to "attack" your system. The benefits of such technologies are clear - but the risks are often ignored or not well understood by developers and product vendors.

An example of such a technology that has gained popularity among computer professionals is file and disk encryption. This technology helps to protect data from being resent through normal routine using encryption software.

Encryption is a simple but very powerful technology. It can be used to protect documents and files from being read by unauthorized sources, or it can be used to protect data is being sent across the Internet or to protect the privacy of the information being transmitted.

However, encryption is a potentially very dangerous tool, since it is possible to reverse engineer encryption systems.

Electronic Frontier Foundation is an example of a non-commercial organization that seeks to defend your privacy online and against mass surveillance. They provide encryption technology to enable secure communication over the Internet, and in general support for user privacy.

But, almost without exception, the main concern about such software is whether or not it is "exportable". The fact that the government or any organization seeks to gain backdoor access to any of your business or personal information is, without doubt, something to be avoided.

Perhaps, but is that really true? The growth of Internet use has been accompanied by unprecedented surveillance and data gathering activities by government agencies, as well as by major firms and private individuals. Those people and firms who exhausted all possibilities of legal recourse will find it difficult to complain because they will be forced to acknowledge - falsely, it seems - that they never actually exceeded the rules of the game.

If you think that the idea of keeping your tracks hidden might be a personal and private matter that only you can deal with, you would be right. If, on the other hand, you consider that the needs of people and firms alike require that they be free to exchange goods and services without unwanted intrusion, then you would find support for your position.

Things would not be quite so black and white if people and firms alike were granted anonymity on the Internet. This is where anonymity has actually been slowly implemented by law enforcement and government agencies, in order to battle the perpetrators of electronic crime. This is not to say that people and firms alike consider it a sole, or even partial, solution to possible fraud or abuse. As recently as 2006, E-mail anonymity was still coveted by some users of the Internet for its ease of use.

Some people opt to hide their IP address in order to protect their computer or online identity. Others want to remain anonymous while writing emails, and even while chatting online forums. Either way, people should be willing to sacrifice a little time, effort, and money in order to achieve this. In exchange for this freedom, however, they ask for a small amount of privacy. Is it really worth sacrificing your privacy just to protect a few millionths of your total online freedom?

You have spent hours, days, months and years developing, promoting and communicating your unique brand of digital information. You have a unique address, phone number, and many other identifiers. The unique address of your computer is also easily visible to anyone who knows how to search for it.