For the last two months, IT Computer Support of New York has conducted Software Asset Management presentations at the Dell Solutions center in New York City. As part of the presentations, we have provided free evaluation software to all of the attending companies. On the base level, these evaluations provide information about a business’s licensure usage, but they also have the added benefit of spotting problems that are persistent among a large number of small and medium businesses.
Insufficient Software Distribution
One of the most common problems that our evaluations picked up on is that, while many businesses have access to antivirus and antimalware software, it is not always distributed properly. In numerous sample tests, we found networked systems that either did not have antivirus software installed, or it was installed, but not kept up to date. Additionally, our evaluations picked up on multiple instances where software versions were inconsistent from one machine to the next.
The free evaluation software identifies suspicious applications that hackers utilize to break into networks as well as applications that create non-business network traffic. The existence of these applications highlights suspicious activity on business networks. This activity is directly attributable to bandwidth theft and active security breaches.
In a number of cases, our techs discovered instances of torrent activity within the networks. Torrents (BitTorrent, uTorrent, etc.) are file sharing platforms that are used to distribute files and programs among a large number of users. While there are legitimate uses for torrents, they are more commonly used to illegally download software, movies, music and can potentially introduce malware ridden downloads into a network.
When introduced into a business network, torrents have an additional liability; they can slow down the internet speeds of the entire company. Torrents work as both a download and upload stream and in some cases, these steams are uncapped. This means that one torrent user on a business network could be seeding thousands of megabytes of data to people outside the business at the expense of internal bandwidth.
One useful facet of the FPS evaluation software is that is gives a real-time list of all applications currently running on a business network. When viewed as a whole, this list makes it easy to spot software that doesn’t belong on the network. In a handful of test cases our techs discovered applications on business networks that were blatant malware. Software in this category often has names or descriptions that are written in a foreign langue or contain other identifiers that don’t even try to mask its fraudulent nature. These malignant programs can steal account numbers, passwords and other important information. In most cases this software had been ignored by the company owners because they didn’t know what it is, and so didn’t want to take a chance of deleting an important file.
Rogue software is a fairly common problem among larger businesses that don’t have sufficient security measures in place or education for its employees. Among our evaluations we found multiple instances of rogue software among employee systems, masquerading as legitimate programs.
Rogue software often takes the form of security applications, update notices or browser attachments that will deceive a user into activating the program. Once installed and activated, the rogue software will often simulate a malware attack or disables system functionality in order to encourage the user to pay money to “fix” whatever problem it caused. Worst still, rogue software will often claim a user has performed illegal activity, or viewed pornography on the computer, in an effort to shame the user from informing a superior. In this way, the rogue software will be allowed to sit unresolved on an infected machine and create worse problems down the line.
These are just a few of the problem areas we have encountered with our evaluations. The participating businesses are often shocked with the results, but there is no reason to be embarrassed as long as you take action to correct the problems.
IT Computer Support of New York will host additional events on our Fixed Price Solution and licensure strategies on October 21st and November 20th at the Dell Solutions center in New York City. If your business would like to attend, contact us at 212-242-2949 or visit our signup page to reserve your seat.