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‘March Madness’ Poses Security Threat

The NCAA March Madness tournament is to start in just two weeks' time. Meanwhile there is a warning for IT managers to prepare for the riskiest period of 2007.

A series of the tournament games that are held during the weekdays mean tough time for the networks and worse for IT managers who monitor them. The NCAA March Madness game represents a difficult situation even more than the Super Bowl or the World Series, says Steve Kelley, a senior director at Websense. Information Week published Kelley's statement in news on March 2, 2007.

March Madness is the most attractive event for college hops, fans and particularly for mid-sized companies, which are constrained in IT resources and bandwidth, Kelley noted. It is therefore extremely necessary to have appropriate Internet use policies together with default Web and security filtering products to keep a balance between work and fun for employees. This means they should be able to enjoy the game while still remaining productive during office hours.

According to security experts the much-awaited tournament causes more problems than a fair amount of productivity loss. It stifles company bandwidth and exposes networks to large numbers of malware threats.

The games generate lot of excitement both on the Internet and off it. The games being played during normal working days add immensely to the fun because numerous sports enthusiasts get together to watch the games' scores and standings on their computer and laptop screens. There are probably also betting on the online gaming sites. This last issue at least is most notoriously malware infected.

The problem is more frightening than time drain, says Kelley. He cites the recent tendency of hackers to abuse sporting events by sending out masses of spam, malware and targeting users with phishing attacks. In July 2006, for example hackers put up a fake FIFA World Cup site that hosted a Trojan horse to lure and infect visitors.

Such considerations are far more important than productivity. Organizations not wanting to dampen their employees' sports enthusiasm must put the right solution in place. For, that makes true sense to block security risks out there.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

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