In the United States, unauthorized access to a computer is a crime that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The U.S. Computer Statute of Limitations which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, made unauthorized access to computers and networks federal crimes.
Unauthorized access to a computer is a big problem in offices, even if it isn’t considered a severe threat, because it may be challenging to prove that an employee did not break into the system on his or her own. There are no repercussions for employees who report loss or theft of the information.
The often overlapping and confusing terms “cyber-crime” and “cyber-threat” apply this concept to computer networks. The former refers to stealing information from a computer and from exposing or damaging computers; the latter covers malicious or harmful intrusions into computer systems, from 3rd parties, or corrupted software.
This doesn’t mean that all computer crimes are cyber-related, nor that all computer threats are malicious. There is a considerable amount of stolen information, and many businesses suffer due to malicious attacks.
Cyber-attacks that target computers are becoming universal. Dealing with all the different threats, the goal of most cybersecurity professionals is to develop security measures that can be implemented to protect networks and computers from attacks.
At the same time, keeping computers and networks secure takes place, and a lot of the protections are implemented are driven by sensitive data. Companies and government agencies spend a lot of time and money to protect network ports and systems that handle sensitive data. Still, little time and effort are spent watching the data that comes through the Internet from being corrupted.
Data that is seen as potentially harmful is quickly discarded, erased, or undetectable if stored in a disabled computer. However, it is relatively easy to destroy whole networks of computers and disable features that make computers work, such as the computers that run a software or maintenance program.
This makes it challenging to have whole systems shut down, and many computers will remain vulnerable to attack while semi-independent systems are run permanently by individuals.
Law enforcement is also aware of many of these attacks but is powerless to do much about it unless someone comes forward to report the crime.
These attackers, however, are well-organized. They launch their attacks during regular periods and move from one victim to another, their activity not interrupted by breaks in the attacks.
Threat means different things to different people. But, no matter what the means of an attack, it is dangerous to go without the protection that a firewall provides.
Firewalls are relatively easy to implement. Standard methods include the use of software that is installed on individual computers. Or programs that are installed on networks – even accidentally. Firewalls are essential because they make it possible to stay protected in a world where viruses, worms, and trojans are evolving and becoming more complex.
If your computer is connected to a network and you do not have a firewall, you ask for trouble. On the other hand, if your computer is not connected to a network and you do have a firewall, you are also inviting attackers to target your network.
The problem with not having a firewall is that your computer will be vulnerable to hackers who are, for the most part, good and would like to take advantage of your system. Without a firewall, you play a waiting game, hoping that your computer is not infected when the bad guys come calling.
Having your firewall turned on will make things easier for you, your staff, and your company. And it will make your business more secure.