What is spyware?
Written and distributed for illicit financial gain, spyware poses a real and growing threat to your data, business continuity, reputation, and legal standing. Web browsing is the most common means of infection. Simply visiting a website can trigger the download of a hidden application onto an endpoint machine.
Spyware is designed to steal trade secrets or valuable customer and personal information. For example, keyloggers record keystrokes in order to capture user ID, password, or bank account information. Browser hijackers redirect users to other websites. Trojans hide other malicious programs, such as those used to establish botnets.
How can you keep your network spyware-free?
Since spyware enters the organization through the gateway and runs on endpoint computers, a complete solution requires protection of the entire network. Sophos recommends three points of protection to make your network spyware-free.
Point 1: Secure the gateway
Stop threats before they infiltrate your network. Use a web security solution that blocks access to malicious websites and scans inbound content quickly and thoroughly to keep new spyware and other malware out. An email security solution can detect and block emails containing links to malicious spyware-hosting URLs, and block emails from known malware writers and spammers.
Point 2: Secure endpoint computers
Endpoint computers can become infected in many ways - not just from employees bringing USBs, CDs, and PDAs in to the office, but also through laptops connecting to the internet from home and then coming back to your network. Make sure your anti-malware solution is frequently updated whether on or off the network, and includes central monitoring to avoid lapses in protection.
Point 3: Secure network access
Acceptable computer-use policies and disabling local administrator privileges can only go so far. However good your best practice, visitors to your company will not be aware of internal policy. Using Network Access Control (NAC) will prevent lapses in employee policy compliance, and stop visitors with inadequate client security from logging on.