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Quick Tips To Help You Secure Your Computer or Network

Quick tips categorized by operating system to illustrate or demonstrate short, simple tasks you can do to secure and protect your computer or network.

What Should Your Network Password Policy Be?
Have you been tasked to come up with a network password policy for your users. If you need help developing a network password policy then you've come to the right place.

Voicemail Hacking Explained
Learn how hackers break into voicemail boxes and find out how you can prevent your own voicemail from getting hacked.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication. A brief overview to answer the question 'what is two--factor authentication' and help reader's understand this security mechanism.

Prepare Your PC for BitLocker
BitLocker is a great tool for encrypting and protecting data, particularly on notebook computers. However, BitLocker requires a specific hard drive configuration that most people won't have by default. The BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool automates the repartitioning process to get the computer ready for BitLocker encryption.

What is ASLR?
What is ASLR? This brief article will answer that question and explain the advantages of Address Space Layout Randomization

What Is UAC?
UAC is the most controversial and maligned feature of the Windows Vista operating system. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Learn what UAC is and what it isn't so you can understand why it works the way it works.

Change Default SSID
The SSID is one of the pieces of information needed for a wireless device to attach to your wireless network. You should change the default SSID to something unique, but not something identifiable like your last name. This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to do that on a Linksys wireless router.

Change Your Wi-Fi Router or Access Point Default Username and Password
To secure your wireless access point or router you need to change the default username and password used to access the administration screen and change the configuration settings

Clear Your Page File
A quick tip illustrating how to configure Windows XP to automatically erase the page file when Windows shuts down to remove any sensitive information

Configure Account Lockout Policies
Given enough time and potential to try multiple username and password combinations an attacker might eventually succeed in compromising the security of a server or other computer. Account lockout policies allow you to set thresholds to automatically shut down an account if too many incorrect username and password combinations are attempted in order to protect the machine.

Configure and Maintain AutoComplete
Microsoft Internet Explorer offers the AutoComplete feature to remember past entries and automatically pre-populate fields as you type to save you some time and effort. You may find it quite convenient, but having AutoComplete remember username or password information can pose a security risk.

Configuring Unix / Linux File and Directory Access Rights
A brief overview of file and directory access rights in Unix and Linux operating systems and using the chmod command to alter or modify file and directory permissions.

Disable AutoComplete Password Storage
The Internet Explorer AutoComplete feature can remember your username and password for various sites. This may seem convenient, but it is also a huge security concern. Anyone who sits down at your computer is able to access your personal sites and information. This Quick Tip will show you how to turn off the AutoComplete feature, or at least disable the storage of usernames and passwords

Disable DHCP and Use Static IP Addresses To Protect Your Wireless Network
Most home routers, wireless or wired, provide some form of DHCP which automatically assigns IP addresses to devices as they connect. To reduce the possibility of an unauthorized party accessing your network, you can disable DHCP and manually assign static IP addresses to your devices

Disable Enumeration of SID's
One way for an attacker to scope out a target system and, particularly, to identify the Administrator account so they can focus their efforts on the account with the most privileges is to list, or enumerate, the SID's (serial identifiers) on a Windows machine.

Disable SSID Broadcasting To Protect Your Wireless Network
Wireless network equipment generally has a beacon which broadcasts information, part of which usually includes the SSID, about the wireless network every few milliseconds. Disable the SSID broadcast so that random wireless devices won't have it announced to them.

Do Not Save Encrypted Web Pages
Internet Explorer saves a lot of web site information and data in temporary files for faster retrieval in the future. For most web sites that isn't a problem, but saving encrypted web pages that should be secure to a temp file on your disk can pose a security risk. This tip will show you how to disable the saving of encrypted web pages.

Enable Security Event Logging
Installing an alarm system on your home or car can be an effective way of at least being alerted when some sort of intrusion has been attempted. Of course, they don't work very well when they aren't enabled. Windows XP comes with the means to detect and log security events so that you can monitor and respond to intrusions or attempted security breaches, however it is not enabled by default.

Enable WEP or WPA Encryption To Protect Your Wireless Network
It is great to be able to transmit data back and forth from your wireless device to your wireless router or access point, but what if someone else intercepts those airwaves as well? You can protect your wireless data by enabling encryption.

Filter MAC Addresses To Secure Your Wireless Network
One way to protect your wireless network is to establish MAC address filtering. By only allowing the devices with the MAC addresses you identify to connect to your network you greatly reduce the ability for an attacker to gain unauthorized access.

Find It Fast With Desktop Search Tools
Hard drive space has gotten cheaper and the size of the drives has grown to enormous proportions. That is great for saving data, but makes it increasingly difficult to find what you're looking for when you need it. Enter the desktop search tools to help solve that problem.

Google Yourself To Identify Security Holes
Google is very good at what it does. It automatically and systematically catalogues every document, image, web site or other data that is web accessible so that it can be quickly retrieved using the Google search engine. That includes potentially sensitive or confidential data that wasn't intended to be shared publicly. Google your own network or sites to identify possible security holes.

Map Your Network For Better Protection and Incident Response
It is difficult to protect devices that you don't even know exist. In larger enterprises it is very easy to lose track of the asset inventory which leads to complacency about rogue devices. In order to effectively protect the network and to respond to incidents efficiently, an updated asset inventory and network map should always be handy.

Point at URL BEFORE You Click
Many spam offers and phishing scams trick users into going to a web site that has nothing to do with what the URL appears to link to. Before you click, take a look at the true URL behind the link.

Prepare Your Hard Drive For Disposal
Deleting data, or even formatting a hard drive before selling or disposing of it is not good enough. The data can still be recovered. This Quick Tip describes the steps you need to take before getting rid of a hard drive

Protect Wireless Access Using MAC Address Filters
Wireless networks add a significant level of convenience for many users. The ability to roam at will and access the network without adding wires is quite useful. But, you need to do so securely. There are a number of basic steps you should take to protect your wireless network and filtering MAC addresses is one more way to secure it.

Remove Administrative Shares
Windows creates hidden Administrative Shares at the root of each drive and to the system root folder to allow administrators to remotely access the data. If a server or workstation will not be administered remotely or has no need for the Administrative Shares though, they should be removed so that they don't provide a potential attack vector for a hacker or malware to enter the system.

Remove Hidden Data
Microsoft Office retains a lot of data in the background hidden as metadata. The hidden data includes field comments, deleted data and other information which could be embarrassing or outright damaging if passed on to other people. This Quick Tip will show you how you can remove the hidden data from Microsoft Office files

Remove or Administer Saved Passwords
Windows XP offers the ability to save passwords for web sites and network resources. This can be very convenient as opposed to remembering and entering the username and password each time you need access, but it poses a security risk because anyone who has physical access to your computer would also be able to log into those sites using your saved credentials.

Remove Patch Uninstall Folders
Hard drives are cheap and people typically have more space than they know what to do with these days. But, that is no reason to just waste it. When you install Windows patches, hidden folders are created which contain the uninstall data. Viewing the hidden data on my computer, I found 50 or so patch uninstall folders taking up over 500 Mb of space on my drive.

Remove Unused Devices and Drivers
Device drivers for hardware you don't even have attached any more can cause conflicts and may even pose a security risk if a vulnerability is discovered in them and you don't even realize they are still on your computer. This tip shows youhow to remove unused devices and drivers.

Rename The Administrator Account
Some experts say that renaming the Administrator account is pointless. Any worthy hacker knows that the true Administrator account has a unique identifier and how to find it. But, that doesn't mean you need to make it easy for the hackers who aren't worthy. This tip that I wrote will walk you through renaming the Administrator account.

Transfer Windows XP Activation Information
I have never had any problem really with the Microsoft product activation process. The activation process usually works in a snap. But, for those who dread having to activate the product again with Microsoft just because they reinstall the software, this tip will show you how to transfer the activation data over.

Troubleshoot With Windows Network Diagnostics Tool
Windows XP includes a handy tool called Network Diagnostics which can be used to gather a variety of information which can be helpful for troubleshooting.

Undo Malware With System Restore
If antivirus, firewalls, anti-spyware and other protective measures don't work, you can simply go back in time to a point before your computer had problems by using System Restore.

Use 'Run As' To Execute Programs As Administrator
Most security experts recommend that you log into your computer system as a regular user instead of Administrator. By using the 'Run As' option in Microsoft Windows, you can still execute programs with Administrator privileges even when you are logged in as a regular user.

Use 'Run As' To Protect The Registry
Members of the Administrators group typically have full control to modify registry keys. Unwittingly executing a malware-infected or other questionable program with Administrator privileges can result in registry additions or edits which may adversely affect the system. To safeguard the registry without logging out you can use this trick.

Use Shortcuts to Navigate Explorer Folders
Windows Explorer is a fairly functional tool for browsing files and folders and finding what you are looking for. But, depending on how large and how organized your hard drive is, it may take some time to sift through to the folder you really want. Using command line parameters, you can create desktop shortcuts that take you quickly to your most-used folders.

Use The NTFS File System
While Windows XP is capable of using FAT, FAT32 or NTFS as the file system on hard drives, only NTFS natively supports encryption, compression and superior security such as the ability to protect individual files and folders. If you aren't already using NTFS you should be and this tip will show you how.

Using Windows EFS (Encrypted File System)
Windows EFS (Encrypted File System) can help you add extra security and protection for your files to make sure that unauthorized users are unable to view or use them.

Wireless Networking Basics
A short tip describing the basic components and technology required for wireless networking.

Wireless Networking Hardware
A short tip explaining the hardware components used in creating a wireless network.

Wireless Networking Protocols
A brief tip describing the difference between the commonly used wireless networking protocols.

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