One of the new weak spots – virtual private networks (VPN) – is a hot button security issue for most companies these days. A VPN lets companies use the Internet as a secure pathway into their existing network. If a VPN user has an always-on Internet connection like cable or DSL, it complicates things; this system is connected to the Internet as if it is unprotected (no firewall) and becomes an easy target. You can protect your network with a product such as CommandView Firewall from Elron, which rates supreme, thanks to its straightforward interface and high level of sophistication. For companies with larger networks, products such as Check Point Software Technologies Firewall-1 at Check Point may be the answer. Also check out Firewall Vendors under the Products/Firewalls area for a list of firewall vendors.
Off-the-shelf security software.
As numerous experts have attested, the truth is that any system is vulnerable to attack at present. However, as Simon Johnson, Director of Shake Communications Pty Ltd (Shake Communications) believes, any site is a target for crackers to break into, although it depends on the motive. “Sites that hold vast amounts of credit card data attract more attention; it ultimately depends on the level of security in the application, operating system and the Internet connection of the online casino. If they are running off-the-shelf software with the factory defaults installed then it’s only a matter of time before they are hacked,” he says.
Gaming Webmasters Beware!
One of the most important issues that will become more prominent to Webmasters in 2002 is the issue of online security. Clients are becoming more conscious of this issue and are demanding airtight security in online transactions. For example, the Nevada Gaming Regulators – in deciding on the implementation and regulation of Internet gambling – are becoming increasingly concerned about online security. The obvious fears here are that web casinos are especially vulnerable to hackers for money laundering and credit card theft. While the recent bill allowing land-based Nevada casino owners to operate web gambling sites has been approved, the problem of Internet security is still prevalent and will have to be overcome in 2002.
What the webmaster can do.
While the threat always exists, there are many things that the webmaster can do to mitigate the severity and reduce the risk of security breaches. The most obvious prevention is to be up to date with the latest vulnerabilities and patches. This will immediately reduce the risk of being hacked. However, only using an off-the-shelf security scanner and relying on a 6-month security audit isn’t good enough. A real example of the necessity of tight security can be found when reading the story about how a software consultant showed a ‘back door’ into some slot machines and asked that the company hire him to fix the flaw! This story can be viewed at SANS.
Gary Smith is a contributing writer at MedioCom.net. This well designed and easy to navigate site has quality and affordable feature stories, articles and images. You can pick and choose from a wide variety of timely and relevant topics, all easily accessed through www.mediocom.net. All services are provided in English and Spanish. Check it out today!