Seven security basics
- By John K. Waters
Everyone knows the basics of network security, but a little review never hurt
anyone. Whether you install a high-powered intrusion tracker, sign on for extensive
services or do something else, these seven practices are the absolute minimum
for a secure network.
1. Use strong passwords. Choose passwords that are difficult or impossible
to guess. Give different passwords to all accounts.
2. Make regular backups of critical data. Backups must be made at least
once each day. Larger organizations should perform a full backup weekly and
do incremental backups every day. At least once a month, the backup media should
3. Use virus protection software. This means having it on your computer
in the first place, checking daily for new virus signature updates, and then
actually scanning all the files on your computer periodically.
4. Use a firewall as a gatekeeper between your computer and the Internet.
Firewalls are usually software products. They are essential for those who keep
their computers online through DSL and cable modem connections, but they are
also valuable for those who still dial in.
5. Do not keep computers online when they are not in use. Either shut
them off or physically disconnect them from Internet connections.
6. Do not open e-mail attachments from strangers, regardless of how enticing
the subject line or attachment may be. Be suspicious of any unexpected e-mail
attachment from someone you do know because it may have been sent without that
person's knowledge from an infected machine.
7. Regularly download security patches from your software vendors.
Source: Consult the National Infrastructure Protection Center Web site
at www.nipc.gov for more information.
For more information, see the related article 'Can the hackers be
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached