The New Media Institute (NMI) is a research and fact finding organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of issues surrounding the Internet and other forms new media communications. NMI works directly with the news media, researchers, academics, government and industry professionals and serves as a primary resource of facts, statistics and analysis.

Dr. Robert Schmid

Content Posted by Dr. Robert Schmid

RATs in Your Computer

Remote Access Trojans have been around a long time. They have been a serious problem since the 1990s and were one of the first Trojans developed to penetrate, invade, and take over your computer. RATs give the hacker complete physical control over your computer, including everything from the keyboard, mouse and monitor to the DVD drives and other external ports. They hide in the background and can be difficult to detect. And to the hacker’s advantage, they allow someone else to masquerade as you, to send email, use your files, browse the internet, and access other accounts as if they were you.

Layered Security for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Small businesses have become some of the most attractive targets today for enterprising cyber thieves. They are among the easiest targets for cybercriminals looking to exploit unprotected customer information, intellectual property, unprotected credit card and social security numbers or simply computing power. The sophistication and technical expertise of “hackers” to recursively scan the internet for unsecured small-business computers to take over and pillage has grown exponentially.

Ransomware - Cyber Security Threat

Cryptolocker and a variety of other versions of what is now termed “ransomware” are endemic on the web. Basically, these are viruses that lock your computer files until a ransom payment is made. This is occurring more often than you think. The process has been named “cryptoviral extortion,” and usually propagates like a Trojan, opportunistically infecting computers. The threat is designed to extort money in return for “releasing” your computer. The fact is that money can be paid and your computer is still not released. Never pay ransomware extortion!

What is cloud computing?

The latest trend in information technology is Cloud computing, the use of applications for word processing, accounting, music downloading, and other IT needs through a web browser. Essentially, the “cloud” application resides on the web and you access them through your browser.  Documents, data, reports, music, video and the like can be printed locally or stored on the web. This allows the use of “thin clients” (any device that runs a web browser is sufficient to run applications) because the processing is done in the cloud (using broadband, consequently the “cloud”) and not on your workstation. 

Virtualization: Desktop Access from Anywhere via the Internet

The most pressing issue for many offices today is workplace virtualization, the creation of a virtual office environment available in cyberspace from any location using almost any computing platform at any time. Virtualization is not getting email and the web on your phone! It is not being able to sign on AOL, Yahoo, and even that touchstone of the current cyber age Google! It is also not getting text in Timbuktu or tweets from the New York Times in Tomsk. Being connected may be a necessity but it is not virtualization!

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