The era of wireless viruses

Security experts often warn that you can expect to see virus writers become even more sophisticated in their attacks. Virus technology is outpacing antivirus solutions in the wireless arena. Certainly, some antivirus vendors are providing limited support for some mobile devices. Yet, the number and type of wireless devices grow enormously every year and encompass everything from handheld devices to tablet PCs to cell phones and beyond.

Be wary of what mobile devices you deploy and be certain you have a way to protect your agency. For example, you might want to route all outside wireless access to your agency through a gateway that is running antivirus technology.

Wireless network segments are also an area of concern. Using access points and wireless networking cards is a great way to free staffers from the corded world of the desktop. But they also expose the agency to receiving viruses from a machine on a wireless network segment that, in turn, could impact the entire network.

If you use wireless networking technologies, keep those network segments away from critical data and applications until you can pass wireless network traffic through an antivirus tool. Use encryption on the wireless network and only allow devices to access the network if they have specific Message Authentication Code, or MAC, addresses.

For many information technology departments, viruses are an annoying part of life. They mean additional work for administrators who must deploy tools to scan e-mail, hard drives and the like. But administrators and users must begin to treat computer viruses as a tool for dangerous terrorist attacks that have the potential to cripple infrastructures.

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