Making protection work

WHEN connected to the Internet, regardless of whether you are using dial-up or broadband, the following tips should be considered.

p Back-up your essential data frequently to a safe location. Make sure the data being backed up has been virus and integrity checked first.

p Purchase a good quality firewall. The cheaper option is a software firewall such as ZoneAlarm ( Hardware firewalls, such as those embedded in some routers, are expensive, but add another layer of good security.

p Purchase file integrity checking software. These keep track of the state of your files and can detect if and when they have been altered. The Languard File Integrity Checker ( is popular.

p Purchase vulnerability identification software. These scan your network systems and identify security vulnerabilities. The GFiLanguard Network Security Scanner ( is popular.

p Check for operating system and application software updates regularly. These fix a range of software problems including security vulnerabilities.

p Purchase anti-virus software and update it regularly. It should always be active and running in the background.

p Subscribe to a security alert notification service. The CERT Coordination Center ( is excellent.

p Do not open e-mail attachments unless they are expected. Delete them and then empty the ‘deleted items’ folder.

p Get to know what is normal behaviour for your computer network. This will increase the probability of hacking activity being noticed.

p Post a clear and unambiguous policy regarding the use of the Internet within your organisation. Prohibit activities than incur unnecessary cost or put the company at risk in any way.

Although not a guarantee that your systems will be completely safe, these measures will help reduce the likelihood of external attack and internal misuse.

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