Wednesday 29 August 2012

Is Security on your PC REALLY that important?

So let me give you a real scenario.

You find a server has a Trojan virus, and has been sending out multiple email spam. Hardly dangerous, but it's infected and you need to get it cleaned.

You wonder how it got infected in the first place as it's a machine that's hardly sat on.. so you start investigating.

So you discover that it has "remote desktop" switched on. Enabling you to remotely connect to it to fix any issues that occur.  Nothing major there. But then you discover that a few users on the network are using simple passwords. Fred's password is "fred" hmm.

So you start probing the firewall, to discover that the remote desktop port is being probed from all sorts of incoming IP Addresses because somebody is trying to log into that server, using an easy log in.

So that's how it was done, but how could it be prevented? After all, you need the remote session available in case the server needs to be connected to.

So the answer was as follows:-

Leave the remote port available, but set up the firewall so that only certain IP addresses can access that port.  Program in the IP addresses that require access.

Increase the level of security on the server, ensuring that nobody uses "simple" passwords. Most servers have this feature available ensuring that users include numbers and Capital letters in their passwords.

Remove users that no longer exist.

Lower the level of all but a few users to "computer user only" which should stop installation of programs unless they have an administrator password.

Security on a PC is vital. After all, would you display your personal bank details in the front window of your house?

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Clear Out The Cobwebs

So many things in life are about change, and moving on.. and it's no different with a computer.

How often have you gone through your hard drive and noticed a word document for a shopping list you created in 1998. Or a photo of a random item you were shopping for when your child was 5?

I noticed a while ago, that I had emails dating back to 2001! Simple, no longer useful emails containing a conversation with a friend about cinema and meal arrangements.. Hardly important now.

So, like clearing out the cupboards, sorting out the loft, it's always good to have a clean up on your computer.

Organisation is always the key, so set yourself a folder for things you might want to keep and things you definitely want to delete.  Don't immediately delete things if you're not sure, but once you've finished your task, double check your folder of "things to delete" before committing it to destruction. And don't just throw it in the recycle bin, delete it permanently and be done with it.

It's the same with emails - do you have thousands of emails in your "deleted items" folder?  If there are emails you need to save in there, then pull them out and put them in another folder to sort out later, then clear down your delete items once and for all.

Like the extra space you acquire from sorting out your loft, your computer will also benefit from clearing down old files.  Make sure you compress or defrag your drive after to make good use of all that re-acquired space.

We'll discuss clearing out the physical cobwebs from your computer tower in another article!