How your cold explains network intrusion

July 2, 2008 – 6:02 AM

With the cold an flu season most definitely upon us, there is much that the common cold can show us about network intrusion and what can happen once a single compromise has taken place.

As you sniffle and blink your way through this article, think of how your computer responds to malware or directed attack. If the system is healthy and well protected, much as a healthy person is protected by their immune system, then an attack has a much reduced chance of succeeding (and you have a much reduced chance of getting a cold). You and your system can happily perform at pretty much your full levels of performance.

This will hold true up to a point. If you constantly leave yourself exposed to conditions that encourage development of a cold, and if you constantly leave your systems exposed to risk of compromise, then sooner or later you will have a cold and a compromised system. Active defenses will help keep you and your systems from getting sick and they are valid measures to delay or completely avoid the onset of a cold/compromise.

If your computer system is not as well protected, it is like a person with a weakened immune system – both are more likely to contract infection when faced with the same risks that a healthy system and person will not succumb to.


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