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A Refresher Course on Common IT Security Threats: Chapter 1

Well, it’s that time again. IT security threats are on the rise. We have seen some spoofing going on with telephone lines, which are when spam telephone calls are made disguised as legitimate phone numbers belonging to legitimate businesses.  There has also been an increase in spoofing email messages — same concept.  Spoofed email messages are messages that are sent with a legitimate email address in the header, but it is merely using that address to hide the real address.

So, that brought to mind that maybe we all need a little refresher on IT security threats in general so we don’t get lazy, thereby opening ourselves up to “bad stuff” as it were.

So let’s review some basic IT security threats and a couple of things we can do about them. Because there are several to review, we will go over them one by one in the next series of blogs throughout the next several weeks.  Hopefully you will leave your comments that will help all of us deal with each issue.

Since we started off this week’s blog by talking about IT security threats that deal with spoofing, let’s start off our series by addressing DNS Spoofing.

Do you remember what DNS is?  No, I’m not trying to insult your IT expertise, but one never knows.  DNS stands for Domain Name System.  This is the protocol by which our domain names are translated into IP addresses.  Think about it.  If we didn’t have domain names we would have to memorize all those IP addresses we visit, and in dynamic environments where IP addresses may change, that might become a real headache.  So, we can type in, for example, (just a little plug — you understand), instead of some number like 130.88.505.49. (This number doesn’t exactly follow the proper sequence, but this is for example purposes only.)  You can see how unlikely it would be that we could remember these IP addresses, but how simple it is to remember the domain name.

So, just as telephone spoofing hides behind legitimate phone numbers and email spoofing hides behind legitimate email addresses, DNS spoofing hides behind what appears to be legitimate domain names.  That is why it has been, is currently, and will always be, a best practice to avoid clicking on any links in any email that you didn’t expect to receive, or that you don’t recognize, or that warn you with a statement of urgency that failure to click will ruin your computer system somehow.

And, of course, that link could contain a very, very, bad virus or bug that will infect your computer, your network, your whole company, mobile devices and laptops connected to the network, and on and on and on….okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it could happen.

So be wary, be skeptical, and defend yourself against IT security threats.


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