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8 Layers of Security Every Computer Should Have

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The 8 Keys to Security

Check out Sue's eight essentials for protecting the computers on your network.

Every time you connect to the Internet, you are putting your computer -- and the information stored there -- at risk. As Roger Thompson, chief security officer with AVG Technologies told me:

 

The single most important thing to understand is that 99% of all attacks now originate from the Web. When you start a web browser, it starts from a trusted place .... _inside_ the firewall, so that creates a trusted tunnel thru the firewall, and if a victim visits a website of hostile intent, the attack code is able to go right through the firewall, and has a chance of executing on the pc.

So what do we need on our computers to protect our data? Thompson says the best way to set up computer security is through layering. Even if one area of protection is only 75 percent effective, the increasing layers will close all the holes. Those layers should include the following:

  • Firewalls. Firewalls protect the computer from outside intruders. According to Microsoft, there are multiple options for firewall: hardware, software and wireless router firewalls.
  • A traditional scanner, such as antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware software. This protects computers from viruses, Trojans, worms, rootkits and similar attacks. Today, these programs are usually bundled into one. Because there are thousands of malware variants released daily, it is hard for the software companies to keep up. A lot of users feel safer with multiple scanner programs, finding that what one program may miss, another may catch.
  • A specialized Web-scanning layer to block most of the attacks immediately. The Web application scanner tests Web servers for dangerous files and other problems.
  • A behavior-monitoring layer. According to Thompson, a behavior monitor watches for malicious behavior. For example, a new program that installs itself so that it survives a reboot, and also starts monitoring keystrokes, is very suspicious to a behavior monitor.
  • Newest version of your favorite browser. IE8 might not be perfect, but it is a lot safer than IE6, which is still the browser of choice on many computer systems.
  • Network-based restrictions and user management software. One infected computer can destroy the network, so better safe than sorry when it comes to the Web sites your employees can visit while on the conpany's server.
  • Data encryption software. Keep your data safe by encrypting it.
  • Online backup system. This gives you access to your data in case of theft or computer malfunctions.

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