**Post Your Security Methods For All To See**

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realneil Geeked [8-|] Posted: Sun, Jan 24 2010 12:02 PM

I just posted this in another thread but realized that it makes a good topic all by itself. Computer security is an ongoing battle that we all have to deal with at least some of the time. After allot of trial and error most of us find that delicate software balance of security verses functionality that we can live with. This thread will discuss your methods used for your computer security. New ideas are welcome for everyone's review as well. I anticipate many good ideas and solutions that can be adopted by Forum members for the overall good.                        

Solutions regarding other Operating Systems are also welcome here.                        

Here's Mine:

I use an intelligent DNS server, http://www.opendns.com/  and I set it for blocking porn and Phishing sites. My router is set to use this resource so every computer within my sphere of influence is channeled through Open DNS. It is a great first step to consider.                                         

Also, I use the latest version of AVAST Home Free 5.0 (just released) and it's quite capable of significant protection.                    

I have AdAware's latest free offering, SpyBot Search And Destroy's latest, and Microsoft Security Essentials all running together without conflict and without noticeable slowdown on all three of my computers.                                    

Without proactive measures, you're just a babe in the woods when running Microsoft OS software while connected to the internet.          Especially if you use Internet Explorer instead of Chrome or Firefox.                     

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Despite the fact that many consider Norton AV a resource hog and not necessarily the most thorough, I've been using it for years as a stand alone solution with no problems. I've done system testing with and without it to see if it affects performance and I concluded that if it does, it's not noticable in any of my particular usage scenarios. Over the years I've only gotten 1... maybe 2 viruses that I'm aware of and Norton was able to quarantine 1 of them without further trouble. The bottom line is that with Norton or any other AV for that matter YMMV IMHO.

BTW: IE has always been my browser of choice and I've tried them all. Some are good, but IE does what I need it to.

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 3:02 PM

I did PC repair when I lived in Southern California for 15 years. I had allot of Cops, Lawyers, and Realtors as customers. The few people that seemed to always be back allot to have me clean up their systems were the Realtors. (I don't know why) They were a Husband and wife team and they did well for themselves. They did all of the right things that you have to do to make it in that profession. They depended on their PC's to do their job too. (cold calls, advertising in many ways, outgoing everywhere they went, etc.)

But the guy was addicted to porn. His weakness was Asian Ladies. As a result his computer was blasted regularly by viruses because he was always onto porn sites. (I never understood why his wife didn't kick his ass for it)

He swore by his Norton Internet Security for years, even though I told him that it wasn't working if he was getting infected every other month. One day his wife brought the PC to me to fix. She asked me what to do to stop the constant infections on the PC. I told her to install AVAST onto the PC and to uninstall Norton. We did that and never even told her husband.

The PC stayed virus free for three years after that. (I moved out of state since then) 

All of my solutions are also FREE.

I always found using IE comparable to being slowly pecked to death by chickens.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Lol, what's wrong with a little porn? Rather that than cheating I suppose.

I've heard great things about AVAST. I'm currently using Symantec that I got from my school and it works fine for the most part. ESET is another great anti-virus that many swear by. Also have Spybot to monitor any registry changes.

I also use Firefox and use the add-on "No-script" when I'm visiting suspicious websites. No IE unless I absolutely have to.

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I always get blasted for using Norton and IE. A friend of mine has tried AVAST, AVG and some others after claiming Norton sucked and ended up switching to ESET NOD 32 which works for him(he also loves his porn). Oddly enough I challenged him to take my Norton protected PC for a spin and he said he knew sites that would deffinately infect my system... he was dumbfounded when Norton actually worked and blocked a number of intrussion attempts without blinking. Go figure. As I said YMMV.

I find it strange that people dislike IE so much, I had more problems in 1 day with any other given browser than I've EVER had with IE in years. Sometimes I feel like I can go out in a storm and dodge rain drops! lol

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HomeRcide replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 4:10 PM

Personally I always tell everyone to only use IE on a need to basis such as when other browsers can't load certain media such as active X plugins or something, I recommend they use Firefox as there primary browser.

On my own systems I prefer Chrome.

Also systems I configure I always set the DNS to OpenDNS for additional basic protection, as far as AV software the more behaved people get MSE Microsoft Security Essentials, So far no infections, no slowdowns and no problems.

The other ones who are naughty on the net or have kids using the PC I always recommend Kaspersky AV or Internet security if they can afford it, if not I do recommend they pick up a some flavor of a comercial product for the added protection.

Kids are such a pain when trying to keep a PC clean.

And of course I throw on a copy of Spybot.

If you haven't tried it yet I always include in builds CCleaner by Piriform, I set it to clean all the cookies, cache folders and files on boot, I have been using it for years on all flavors of Windows and all major browsers with zero problems, I do believe it is the single best piece of free software out there.

Keep up the good work,  there are many good security recommendations in this forum.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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Almost forgot about CCleaner... gotta go DL the latest version.

BTW: Welcome to HH HomeRcide, stick around and enjoy!

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HomeRcide replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 4:34 PM

Thanks, hey as a follow up after posting last response I did recall a question I wanted to get people's opinion on.

On new installs for people what do you recommend about the Administrator password, I would guess the average user is not aware that a safemode boot will allow them to login as Administrator with no password.

Not having a password set for admin must be a huge security hole considering people using IE or maybe even all browsers with probably a ton of exploits out in the wild, I would assume some of the bot exploits use that flaw?

What is a recommended plan of action for it?

Do you set a password for it, do you write down the password for the user to save if needed?

Leaving it blank just doesn't seem like a safe thing.

Thanks again.

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I've never set a password, but it may be a good idea for some.

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 5:37 PM

There is a great selection of free software programs available on www.ninite.com.

You goto the page, select the programs that you want to install, and download an installer.

Once you run the installer, everything is done automatically for you in record speed. It saves me a ton of time setting up a new box.   (all extra toolbars and opt-ins are defeated during each install too)

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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HomeRcide replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 6:03 PM

Wow, that looks very handy, going to try this out.

Thanks

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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 6:07 PM

I used to use avast, but they had stopped updating their software for a time, so I switched to AVG.

I generally don't switch software unless they don't perform or somehow let me down.

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 6:13 PM

I use the same pass for all of my computers. It's a strong password and easy for me to remember. My wife and kids know it too.

I have another one for customers. I'll use it when they can't or won't give me one to use on their computers. 

When a hacker has physical control of a computer, there is no way to keep him out of it without spending a crapload of money on software. Passwords do not work.

Booting to UBUNTU CD's lay a PC's data wide open for exploitation,........and encrypted data just slows them down a little.

Transferring a drive to a new owner requires a wipe of your data using the Gutmann 35 Pass method. I do this two times.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 6:33 PM

Soupstyle: If your AVAST stopped updating, it was because the subscription ran out most likely. I've used it for years without any updating problems. Subscribing is free for home use for anybody and is good for one year. 

This brand new version of AVAST, (5.0) is even better than what I had. Nicer interface, ease of use, higher levels of protection too.

I found that AVG had far less effective resident protection (actually, none at all)  than AVAST when I evaluated it. So I quit using it altogether. I have not looked at it again.

Recoveringknowitall: You say that you always get blasted for using Norton and IE, but I wouldn't let it bother me. If you're happy with them and how they work then more power to you.

As Ricky Nelson said: "You Know You Can't Please Everyone,...So You Got To Please Yourself!"

 

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Okay, couple of updates.

I installed AVAST and ran a scan and it found two infections previously undetected by Symantec, one was running memory and I had to run a boot-time scan to catch it. So thank you for everyone who suggested it.

Secondly, I've installed IE 8 recently and it's much, much better than the previous version. Much faster and much cleaner to look at.

Recoveringknowitall: It's all about what you get used to. I know many PC users who wouldn't touch a Mac with a 10-foot pole because it seems too alien to them. It took me a while to get used to Chrome, but the more I use it, the more I like it.

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realneil replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 11:53 AM

I'm glad it helped you out gibbersome.

IE-8 is their best browser yet. But don't forget that it's already had to be security-patched at least once. The Chinese hack on Google's servers relied on IE's flaws. Microsoft denied that it had affected it's newer browsers at first (they said only IE-6 was exploited) while quietly issuing a browser patch for all versions at the same time.

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I use Norton 360 3.0 and am very happy with it

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

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realneil:
You say that you always get blasted for using Norton and IE, but I wouldn't let it bother me.

TBH it makes me lol!

I don't let peoples comments or oppinions irk me... EVER, but thanks for the valid insight.

 

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acarzt replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 9:16 PM

I use common sense lol I also use windows firewall, and I disabled all unnecessary services to further limit chances of an exploit.

I don't use any virus protection because I don't go anywhere I can get a virus.

I occassionally download some AV software to do a scan and then remove it. It has always come back with no viruses detected.

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realneil replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 10:10 PM

If that works for you then that's cool.

Some of  the people that I end up helping out don't have ultimate control of their computer systems. There are Teen age kids in their houses and the 'raging hormone' factor says that they need better protection than the average household computer does. These same kids usually end up disabling the computer's protections anyway. Sigh!

Some of them have a horny husband checking out porn sites on the sly. (not knowing that they're infecting his computer while he's cruising chicks)

I try, with my cocktail of programs, to keep them from being digitally victimized when I can. It usually works if it's not turned off by a user.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 2:08 AM

Yeah Realneil I use Avast as well, it has been good for me. I also use other tools like spyware checkers etc.

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I would have to agree with Gibbersome, Eset's software works really well, expecially their Nod 32 and their Corp. versions.

Also;

Call me insane if you must but here's a peek at my networks configuration. I will also not go into so much detail about my network on a public site, as this compromises security. We can't be giving out our secrets to the whole world.

There is a firewall that is between my ISP router and my Web server. There's a router between my Private Domain and the Public Server (Domain).

There are firewall programs installed on all of the servers and all of the Virtual Machines.

I run hardened Domain Controllers.

I use Eset Nod 32 on all machines and Eset Enterprise security on all of the servers.

Speaking of security, I do not like being unable to gain access to my own servers so there is 2 connections per physical server on different sub-nets configured in a Hub and spoke pattern from 2 switches with a router configured in between.

Most of my servers exist in a virtual Environment and the virtual LAN's are completely separated from each other on different sub-nets with the main Cloud server. This way I can server access to these machines Via VPN and not allow uses to see every other machine. Also there is a separate Active directory for the Virtual Machines to follow and is virtually cutoff from the physical domain controller.

Shares on the network are very strictly controlled. Users can only see what they are meant  to see Via Active Directory. All users are required to be members of their corresponding domain. All domain transactions are logged, IE Failed login attempts, Successful Login attempts, etc.(Yes, Logs are checked!)

Servers have several different forms of security installed that go beyond Antivirus.  I have a Security account that automatically logs on, sets the programs I want to run (security programs included) and then locks the Servers down. This is a fail safe in the event of one of our frequent power outages in my county, when the outages exceed the life of a battery backup and the servers have to shut down. The servers will come back on when the power is back up for a set period of time and this account will automatically run.

Well peeks over....

~Ec7

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realneil replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 4:16 PM

What was that master password?

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EnigmaCypher7:

Call me insane if you must but here's a peek at my networks configuration. I will also not go into so much detail about my network on a public site, as this compromises security. We can't be giving out our secrets to the whole world.

There is a firewall that is between my ISP router and my Web server. There's a router between my Private Domain and the Public Server (Domain).

There are firewall programs installed on all of the servers and all of the Virtual Machines.

I run hardened Domain Controllers.

I use Eset Nod 32 on all machines and Eset Enterprise security on all of the servers.

Speaking of security, I do not like being unable to gain access to my own servers so there is 2 connections per physical server on different sub-nets configured in a Hub and spoke pattern from 2 switches with a router configured in between.

Most of my servers exist in a virtual Environment and the virtual LAN's are completely separated from each other on different sub-nets with the main Cloud server. This way I can server access to these machines Via VPN and not allow uses to see every other machine. Also there is a separate Active directory for the Virtual Machines to follow and is virtually cutoff from the physical domain controller.

Shares on the network are very strictly controlled. Users can only see what they are meant  to see Via Active Directory. All users are required to be members of their corresponding domain. All domain transactions are logged, IE Failed login attempts, Successful Login attempts, etc.(Yes, Logs are checked!)

Servers have several different forms of security installed that go beyond Antivirus.  I have a Security account that automatically logs on, sets the programs I want to run (security programs included) and then locks the Servers down. This is a fail safe in the event of one of our frequent power outages in my county, when the outages exceed the life of a battery backup and the servers have to shut down. The servers will come back on when the power is back up for a set period of time and this account will automatically run.

Well peeks over....

~Ec7

Wow....you're insane...do you work for the Department of Defense?

 

realneil:

What was that master password?

123456

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I have finally after years with both Linux and Windows found a way to get the best of both worlds. I'm a big gamer so I run Windows 7 all the time with Ubuntu running in seamless mode. So I have the Windows toolbar at the bottom and the Ubuntu one at the top of my screen. I play a little team fortress 2 then open up firefox inside a wonderful little sandboxed VM. Can't get much more secure than that. On my laptop I run Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

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That sounds awesome, I'd love to try that. How did you set that up?

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 8:14 AM

bob_on_the_cob:
I have finally after years with both Linux and Windows found a way to get the best of both worlds.

It sounds as if you've done exactly that.

bob_on_the_cob:
So I have the Windows toolbar at the bottom and the Ubuntu one at the top of my screen.

And that sounds pretty elegant to me. I too, would like to know more about that.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Glad to see somebody else that is into Vm's that understand them. Anything is possible to merge together in this way.

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Fed contractor, but not really related.

This network has been around (in stages) quite a bit longer then my current job.

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No, No, No, Actually its 654321...

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gibbersome replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 10:25 AM

EnigmaCypher7:

No, No, No, Actually its 654321...

Lol, that's uncrackable. Nobody is ever going to guess the reverse!

 

realneil:

Some of  the people that I end up helping out don't have ultimate control of their computer systems. There are Teen age kids in their houses and the 'raging hormone' factor says that they need better protection than the average household computer does. These same kids usually end up disabling the computer's protections anyway. Sigh!

Some of them have a horny husband checking out porn sites on the sly. (not knowing that they're infecting his computer while he's cruising chicks)

I try, with my cocktail of programs, to keep them from being digitally victimized when I can. It usually works if it's not turned off by a user.

I don’t like teenagers. Their music is garbage, their hair is too long (and they have too much hair), they are having way, way too much fun and most irritatingly of all, I’m not one of them.

Yeah, I've had people borrow my laptop for extended periods of time before. It's when they return it to you with the browsing history deleted that you know you want to disinfect the mousepad.

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I would never let anybody touch my laptop out of my sight, especially the horny teenagers.

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caos420 replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 12:17 PM

I use avira-anti virus for about five years now and it does just fine that a long with a static ip and i also use ie8 and have never had a problem.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 3:28 PM

My setup is much like yours realneil. I use opendns on my wireless router as well. My router is using WPA2-PSK security, does not broadcast and runs in set N on the 5ghz spectrum.  I am using the new version of AVG right now, although I switch antivirus pretty regular. I also use spybot S&D ,and I run adware and security essentials when I do a check (Spybot, then adaware, the security essentials as well as a full virus scan following), which is usually about once a month. I also use several blocking tools  such as adblock and a few others of the like on firefox. One of the cool features of my router is a wireless switch I can flip on or off and it grabs wireless auto. Of course on my home server I have to log in to an unknown (my network is invisible). I also use msconfig and registry editing as well as permission etc rather frequently (permissions less so), I also love autostarts for checking at least once a month. I personally have never had a virus, although I almost got the picture virus, but spybot resident caught it several years ago.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 3:32 PM

Oh and Enigma I use several passwords which are alphanumeric as well as caps spaces no caps numbers etc. which I rotate I have 5 total, and one never stays anywhere longer than 30 days except for on totally external sites (like forums that are not personally connected).

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Well that wasn't really my password, lol, would kind of defeat everything else. I have pretty hard passwords that are too used in rotation.

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gibbersome replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 11:47 PM

rapid1:

Oh and Enigma I use several passwords which are alphanumeric as well as caps spaces no caps numbers etc. which I rotate I have 5 total, and one never stays anywhere longer than 30 days except for on totally external sites (like forums that are not personally connected).

Yeah, it's good to not only use several different passwords in rotation as enigma mentioned, but also to have different usernames for each forum.

During my younger days of visiting porn sites and warez sites regularly, I would format my drive every couple of months. Needless to say, I was careless and even had my SS# stolen once, but despite that, I count myself lucky that nothing serious happened.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 28 2010 2:40 AM

I have never had any ID stolen or gotten virus's I have gotten spyware from time to time. I have also used Spybot for a very long time to. When I used to do home network installs for consumers I would always tell them to run it and leave the boot loader on it usually catches any trojan as well as spyware, because thats how most of it comes in. It will also catch keyloggers as well9 out of 10 times.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 28 2010 2:38 PM

Rofl I remember installing high speed cable for a home once, and the reason they ordered was because there teenage boy had infected there PC with a porn auto popper or several as it turned out. I had no clue so I Installed and had all the hardware and computer set up but not logged in yet. When I opened IE it started auto popping porn site after porn site there were hundreds of images of naked women doing everything you can imagine on screen. Meanwhile I am sitting there with a husband and wife looking over my shoulder. The Mom was just po'd I think the father was the most embarrassed. Luckily I was able to get Spybot on it and shut off the internet and ran it without the network connected then told them to defrag after I had run sys cleanup. It was just quite funny and directly applies to the teen hormone topic for sure.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 31 2010 2:43 AM

So no more posts Hmmmm I was interested in seeing others security methods versus mine.

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