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Chapter 7. SOHO Network Security > Network Security Threats

Network Security Threats

Security threats come in a variety of forms for a SOHO LAN. These threats vary from simple unauthorized access on the PC hosts; to virus and malevolent software attacks on PC hosts; to spyware observing, collecting, and reporting on user activity; and finally to direct attacks by hackers from the Internet.

The most common threat is from malevolent software sent as a package or attachment to e-mail; e-mail itself is basically text messages. Such malevolent software is commonly labeled virus software. By strict definition a virus is a program that hides itself as part of another program. In this book we use the term virus in both senses, as a general identifier of malevolent software and in its purer form as a program that hides in other programs. Text messages alone cannot pass malevolent software. No program code or scripts are contained in simple text messages. However, any file that can contain program instructions like keystroke macro commands (macros), executable programs, batch file commands, and other programmable code may be attached to a simple, seemingly harmless or innocuous e-mail message. If that file is opened by the e-mail recipient, then his or her system becomes infected with the malevolent code and disaster strikes. The malevolent software or program code often first finds other addresses to which to mail itself. In this manner it continues its propagation to other hapless Internet victims. Figure 7.1 illustrates this process.


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