Although blended threats have existed since 1988, their sudden reappearance today is of great concern. In the past, the usage of networking and the Internet was limited to governments and university research. Today, Internet usage is mainstream and essential to many aspects of business.
Blended threats can spread faster and farther than classic virus threats. The best line of protection remains vigilance in applying critical patches. Host- and network-based vulnerability assessment tools can help to identify outdated systems with security holes inside the internal networks more quickly, so security patches can be delivered faster. Furthermore, vulnerability assessment tools can help to ensure that passwords are set up in accordance with corporate requirements; these tools can identify unneeded and insecure system services that should be uninstalled. Enterprise and personal firewall software can help to fight inbound and outbound attacks. Preventing technologies need to be installed on the workstations, servers, and gateways. Part II, "Strategies of the Defender," especially Chapters 13 and 14, discusses promising protection techniques against this kind of attack.
Today and in the near future, attacks will be composed of blended threatsand their damage is still unseen. A downed mail server is the least of our worries when threats can now effectively shut down Internet backbones.