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Expert Lisa Phifer: Network-borne attacks continue to grow in 2005

Check out what Lisa has to say about carbon-based life forms and their penchant for high-risk Internet behavior.

Whether we like it or not, network-borne attacks will probably continue to grow in 2005, spurred by increased availability of automated, easy-to-use hacking toolkits. In 2004, many IT organizations were walloped by a heavy dose of spyware and phishing, exploiting that weak link in every company's defense: carbon-based life forms and their penchant for high-risk Internet behavior.

In 2005, I expect to see admission control efforts, like Cisco NAC, Microsoft NAP, and TCG's Trusted Network Connect initiative, grow as companies seek to regain IT control over compromised remote endpoints connected to corporate networks. I expect to see traditional anti-virus products embrace spyware detection and eradication, either through product bundling or under-the-covers integration. I anticipate continued growth in anti-spam offerings from service providers as a core/built-in/free feature of e-mail services, as well as stronger-than-password authentication as a value-added e-mail option to defeat identity theft.

Finally, I believe that industry patience with patching Internet Explorer may finally be nearing exhaustion, pushing companies to do what government anti-trust forces could not: shift to using alternative Web browsers as risk mitigation strategy.

Lisa Phifer, Vice President, Core Competence Inc.
Lisa Phifer owns Core Competence, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in network security and management technology. Core Competence produces The Internet Security Conference (TISC), an annual symposium for network security professionals. Phifer has been involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of data communications, internetworking, security, and network management products for nearly 20 years. She teaches about wireless LANs and virtual private networking at industry conferences and has written extensively about network infrastructure and security technologies for numerous publications, including 802.11-Planet, ISP-Planet, Business Communications Review, Information Security,, and Areas of network expertise include remote access and wireless technologies, network security, and network management.

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