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August 13, 1999
Ramco seminar on e-security pitches productsM D Riti in Bangalore
Michael Angelo might once have been great, but today, it's Melissa that you need to watch out for," remarked a young man in grey trousers. "You should be able to deal with the Trojans too," replied his friend. A casual observer might have concluded he was in a room full of either historians or art critics.
The US security agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has reported a dramatic increase in information security breaches worldwide this year.
The FBI study discovered that 55 per cent of hacking actually begins within the victim organisation.
According to the International Computer Security Association, virus disasters last year caused a per attack loss of 9.4 person days, server downtime of 43 minutes and financial loss of $2,454.
"Everyday, more organisations are creating large inter-networked systems and powerful electronic commerce storefronts across the Internet," says N Shravan, business manager, network security solutions at Ramco.
"At the same time, malicious attacks against networks are increasing in frequency and sophistication. With hacking programs and utilities available freely on the Web, organisations are losing millions as a result of fraud, industrial espionage or network downtime. Traditional information security safeguards like access control, authentication and encryption are being rendered inadequate as hackers are discovering loopholes in networks, systems and applications," he explained.
A series of three free seminars held in New Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore, attempted to educate businesses on how to combat this threat.
Understandably, the information disseminated also promoted the particular combination of American network security products that Ramco is selling for network security.
"Our typical client is a large Indian corporation or a multinational," admits Shravan readily. So, RADAR, as the Ramco Group that specialises in information security solutions and services calls itself, has not explored the Indian software product market to determine whether there are any suitable packages that it can offer to its customers.
Instead, it has tied up with three American companies in this area: Check Point for firewalls, Internet Security Systems for adaptive security management solutions and Trend Micro for anti-virus and content security solutions.
With Check Point, the 1998 firewall market leader which has more than 30,000 customers with more than 70,000 installations worldwide, Ramco provides secure enterprise networking based on Check Point's policy based access control, authentication, VPN, traffic control and IP address management solutions.
With ISS, RADAR provides automated scanning and security vulnerability assessment technology for networks, systems and databases. With Trend Micro, Ramco provides centrally controlled server based virus and malicious Java and ActiveX code protection, shielding information that flows through file servers, email servers and Internet gateways and stopping viruses and other malicious code from a central point before they ever reach the desktop.
The new generation of viruses that have spread in the infotech industry over the past three months are the subject of much discussion at the seminar. While most engineers present knew how to tackle the old boot sector and macro type of viruses, the Java and ActiveX variety are still a puzzle to many, while the newest breed of Internet viruses like Melissa and the Trojans are unknown territory.
According to RADAR and their partners, these new viruses make it necessary for network administrators to control virus fighting centrally. "One should be able to block all entry points like gateways, mail servers, application servers and desktops," Frederick Hseu, overseas sales manager of Trend Micro told Rediff.
Melissa was first spotted on March 26 this year. In just three days, it struck 300 organisations across the US! This virus is feared even more widely because it can leak confidential documents without the user's knowledge.
Now, there has been a shift in approach towards computer security. Firms would like to install security systems right in the beginning, even as they set themselves up, and don't wait to be attacked before they react.
With the burgeoning interest in e-commerce the world over, and in India as well, the need for protection has suddenly come to the forefront.
As Dennis Miller said in the popular American television show Saturday Night Alive, "Remember, when you connect with another computer, you are connecting with every computer that that computer has ever been connected to."
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