Among the many effects of the U.S. economic crisis is one that may not immediately come to mind: an increase in computer virus attacks. As economic conditions have worsened, cybercriminals have become increasingly aggressive and have explored new tactics for accessing or damaging information, or simply wreaking havoc. The last three months of 2008 saw a boom in various types of cyberthreats, which include viruses, spam and other forms of disruptive or damaging programs. Hackers are also increasingly targeting data storehouses by writing malicious programs that infiltrate databases and steal or damage important information.
These threats are increasingly alarming to school districts, since more computers continue to appear in schools because of one-to-one computing initiatives, more students do more work online every day, and the number of district management functions going entirely online is ever increasing. As a result, a number of network security firms are targeting the education market with new products that can help protect vital district information. Some solutions protect individual computers, some guard the perimeter of a districtwide network, and some monitor within a network to prevent viruses that have entered from causing damage. Here are just a few of the many security software options on the market to consider using in your district.
Norton 360 2.0, $79.99
The Norton 360 anti-virus program can protect single computers against a wide array of threats, with features including automatic backup and restore, PC tuneup, and network monitoring. This newest version now includes Symantec’s Browser Protection technology, which defends against drive-by downloads and other new or unknown threats that exploit vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. With advanced anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion protection, and powerful SONAR behavioral detection technology, Norton 360 users are protected on multiple fronts. www.symantec.com
Marshal Security Software,Pricing varies based on installation
Marshal8e6 offers a variety of software products that protect district networks from viruses or other malicious programs, particularly those that enter a network via e-mail. MailMarshal, for example, is an e-mail gateway security solution that unifi es threat protection, content security, policy enforcement, compliance, and data leakage prevention by filtering all incoming and outgoing e-mail at the network perimeter. WebMarshal is a secure Web gateway solution that provides comprehensive Web access control and management, complete threat protection, and data leakage prevention. www.marshal8e6.com
Enterprise Security and Control, Subscription pricing varies based on installation
Sophos’ Enterprise Security and Control subscription-based software provides protection for large district enterprise networks over the Internet. A suite of security solutions defends every entry point in an enterprise network on a wide range of platforms (each solution can also be purchased separately). Email Security and Control, for example, blocks spam, phishing attacks, viruses and spyware, and monitors message content and attachments. Additional solutions in the suite include Web Security and Control and Network Access Control. www.sophos.com
Security for E-mail Servers, Pricing varies based on installation
McAfee’s Security for E-mail Servers provides comprehensive content security for e-mail storage servers, providing a second layer of security behind the perimeter security of a network. The program blocks viruses and other e-mail threats from incoming and outgoing mail and prevents them from being stored. It also allows users to enforce e-mail usage policies by filtering offensive content and preventing sensitive data leakage. An optional anti-spam module blocks unwanted e-mail, and McAfee’s management tools enable control over an entire network from a central computer. www.mcafee.com