Monday, August 21, 2006

More on your home computer

Here is a link to some sound advice on securing your home computer from the folks over at CERT at Carnegie Mellon.

Sorry folks there just wasn't much more to say about this one.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Personal Firewalls

This article on Personal Firewalls does a really nice job of discussing the "long and the short of it."

Firewalls are a necessity, period (fullstop for those speaking the Queen's English). Folks in the security industry often speak of "Defense in Depth." In other words, you don't put everything you have in place, much like the French did prior to WWII with the Maginot Line. This incredible fortress was bypassed by the Germans, making it useless to the defense of France. Unfortunate for their history and disasterous for your data if you try it on your home computer or home network.

However, that is exactly what most folks do when they only use Anti-virus protection. And it some ways it is similar to using the same vendor for all phases of your defense. Many folks use the all-in-one packages (firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware) from the major vendors like McAfee or Norton, but again all of the muscle is in one product. And that puts all the work on the processor of one computer as well.

My thoughts on this are simple for those with broadband internet access. Start with a hardware firewall (perimeter firewall). It's a box that is physically between your cable/DSL modem and your computer. There are several brands such as Netgear. Now do you need all the muscle it offers? Probably not, but for about $100 why not add that extra layer of protection. With this the work of your software protection products is a little less intensive. It only needs to focus on everything that gets by the hardware firewall.

Think of it this way. You keep the front door of your house open so you can speak with your neighbor across the street. Bugs tend to fly through the door and you have to spend a bunch of time and effort with a flyswatter getting rid of them. Then you install a screen door and you only have to open your door once in awhile, so your "flyswatter time" is reduced.

It think that might be enough today.

Liquid explosives? And what it means for the rest of us...

What does all this mean for everyday life? Well, it's sort of the same situation as 9/10 syndrome. The only thing that's different between today and "yesterday" is how we perceive the situation. Liquid components for explosives have been a concept for a long time; I even knew some folks in high school that toyed with them.

The difference is that we are reacting to it now. Here's the deal on flying and I don't intend this to sound like a bunch of false bravado.

Whether or not someone sneaks a bomb onto a plane is generally out of your (and my) control. Simply stay alert and help where and when you can. If all you can do is calm others that are interfering with any response then do it. Rick Rescorla did much more than this on 9/11 and he exemplifies what the security professional, but the one thing that everyone that walked past him keeps stating in interviews was his calm and his efforts to keep everyone else calm as they evacuated.

So do what you can, when you can, but remember that very little has changed since the day before the announcement, except maybe your perception.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A short hiatus

Sorry for the break folks, I have recently moved to Washington State for a new opportunity. Just a short move across the entire U.S. from one Washington to another.

I plan on being just a tad more regular here in the near future.