// zone labs
How do you show home PC users how risky Internet use really is?
You create an experiment and let 305,955 attacks speak for themselves.
How long would it take your home PC, unprotected by a firewall, to come under attack from hackers or viruses? Would you believe just four minutes?
In 2004, most Americans didn’t know this alarming fact. More importantly to firewall manufacturer ZoneLabs, Americans didn’t know how to protect themselves.
Avantgarde came up with a plan to change both these things. Inspired by his background in biology, Marcus Columbano came up with a “Time to Live on the Network” experiment, that would show how long an unprotected species (PCs) could live in its ecosystem (the digital world). Conducted in partnership with security consultant and reformed hacker Kevin Mitnick, the project tested a series of platforms on an open Internet connection over a two-week period. In addition to unprotected systems, Avantgarde tested PCs running ZoneAlarm Pro or Norton AntiVirus software.
What happened? Automated “bots” overtook PCs without firewalls within 4 minutes. In total, over 300,000 attacks were leveled in the two-week study. The good news? The Windows XP machines protected by the ZoneAlarm third-party firewall were virtually invisible on the network and received relatively few attempted attacks.
On November 30, 2004, USA TODAY led its cover page with an exclusive report about the study. ZoneLabs sales spiked 50% the day the story broke. And Americans learned four crucial facts they will likely never forget: no machine is immune from attack; security breaches can happen in as little time as it takes to turn on and log into your machine; OS patches are not enough; and every machine on the Internet needs a firewall and virus protection.