The Buzz - 19


Corporate ghosts haunt networks

"Corporate ghosts"—contract workers or employees who can roam a corporate network virtually undetected—are among the key challenges facing enterprises looking for better LAN security, according to a survey released Jan. 22.

The survey, conducted by LoudHouse Research at the request of IT security company ConSentry Networks, indicated that the growing diversity of network users is making this an increasingly important issue.

According to the survey, 87 percent of respondents said they have a high presence of multiple-level user access, and 82 percent are seeing moderate to high levels of nonpermanent workers having access to the network. About 95 percent said there is a need for identity-based controls.

About 65 percent said that network access is becoming more diverse and difficult to manage, according to the survey.

Another 62 percent of respondents said they saw temporary workers as threats to the network, while 54 percent and 51 percent said guest users and contractors, respectively, also posed dangers.

Hackers hide behind European winter storms

Hackers continue to get more sophisticated in their attacks, and a recent incident highlighted that they can get those attacks out in a timely manner.

As winter storms whipped through Europe this month, virus writers on Jan. 19 began attacking thousands of computers around the world with e-mails that had in their subject line "230 dead as storm batters Europe," according to officials at Finnish data security company F-Secure.

Attached to the e-mail is malware or a Trojan—which researchers dubbed Storm Worm—that can exploit the systems to steal personal data or use them as launching pads for large-scale spam and phishing attacks.


Carriers struggling to survive IP wave

The surge in IP technology is making life increasingly difficult for telecommunications carriers, and that isnt going to change over the next three years, according to research company Gartner.

In a report released Jan. 11, Gartner said that telecom carriers will spend billions of dollars over the next few years trying to create new lines of business to compete in the growing IP world. However, the risk is that the companies will end up hurting themselves building noncore telecom businesses and investing in technology that has not yet matured, Gartner said, predicting that half of such new business ventures by top-tier carriers will fail by 2010.

Ultimately, telecoms will have to figure out how to be profitable on lower spending margins. Gartner expects total telecom service revenues to rise only modestly over the next four years, from $1.3 trillion in 2006 to $1.5 trillion in 2010.