Essentials of PC Security: Central Library Tech Center Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

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1 Essentials of PC Security: Central Library Tech Center Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

2 Why should you be concerned? There are over 1 million known computer viruses. An unprotected computer on the Internet can be infected within minutes of logging on. Phishing scams have cost Americans over 1 billion dollars in just the past few years. An unsecured computer can be more easily infected with viruses. Spyware can report your computer usage to strangers. Having your computer slowed down or out of commission is, at best, an annoying hassle. At worst it can damage or destroy your PC.

3 Internet Security The three most common ways to connect to the Internet are Dial-up, DSL, and Cable service. Dial-up connects through a modem to the telephone line and is only on when that phone number is dialed. DSL and Cable are brought in through dedicated wiring and are always on. All of these connections expose your computer to the Internet. This makes it possible for other computers to communicate with your system. To make certain that your computer can only be accessed by computers that have permission from you, security measures are required.

4 Install a Router Routers provide several benefits in an always on connection. They often include a firewall, a switch and a wireless access point. They provide protection from IP address based attacks through the implementation of NAT (Network Address Translation)

5 Secure Your Router Routers are vulnerable to pharming attacks. Pharming works by changing the IP address that domain names resolve to. This type of attack is very difficult to detect. Attackers should be kept from accessing your router.

6 Secure Your Router Pharming is just one example of problems that can occur if your router is not locked down Your router s access password should be secure so that outside users cannot access it. (See Secure Password Sheet) Do not use the default password supplied with your router.

7 Firewalls

8 Firewalls Explained Hardware firewalls block traffic based on the port used by network traffic. Each network protocol has a designated port that it uses to communicate with your computer Some traffic types (protocols) are not typically needed in a home network and can be safely disallowed. This provides security from outside threats that use these protocols

9 Examples of Ports HTTP Web pages on the Internet Port 80 DNS Domain name resolution Port 53 FTP File transfer protocol Ports 20, 21 Telnet Remote computer access Port 23

10 Wireless Access Points Wireless Access Points or WAP s are used to access the Internet with a wireless network interface card (NIC) They are most commonly used by laptops The main security issue is that unauthorized users can log onto the Internet through them as well

11 Securing your WAP Make sure to change your network name (SSID) preference to not broadcast Set up encryption on both your computer and the WAP Wired Equivalency Protocol (WEP) is good WEP can be snooped over time Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is better

12 Securing your WAP (Advanced) Some WAP s allow you to limit the users based on the unique Media Access Control (MAC) address permanently embedded in your NIC If you are using DHCP on the WAP, limiting the number of available IP addresses can keep unwanted users off of you connection

13 Network Address Translation Network Address Translation (NAT) disguises your IP address so that any attempt to locate/attack you computer ends at the router. It does so by modifying the traffic to show the router address as the point of origin.

14

15 User or Administrator? Windows Vista is set up to only elevate to administrator privileges when needed. Windows XP has two user types User Administrator

16 Microsoft Windows Security Administrator Can create and delete user accounts on the computer. Can create account passwords for other user accounts on the computer. Can change other people's account names, pictures, passwords, and account types. User Cannot install software or hardware, but can access programs that have already been installed on the computer. Can change his or her account picture and can also create, change, or delete his or her password. Cannot change his or her account name or account type. A user with a computer administrator account must make these kinds of changes.

17 Administrator or User? Programs and viruses running in an administrator account have all the privileges of an administrator. User accounts should be used for day to day computing. Administrative accounts are only used when their powers are absolutely necessary. (Windows XP users, see handout)

18 Install a Software Firewall Hardware firewalls block ports in an absolute fashion Software firewalls work by blocking access to ports based on the application making the request Spyware and viruses will often try to call home or allow access into your system, this helps prevent them from doing so

19 Software Firewalls Windows Vista firewall does a good job of protecting computers by default Windows XP firewall is a good starting point Focuses on outside threats Does little against inside threats

20 Software Firewalls Good third-party firewalls include: Norton Personal Firewall ZoneAlarm Pro 6.5 These offer good protection, but remember 1. Remove Windows Firewall first to avoid conflicts 2. These products do cost extra

21 Use Auto Update Threats to your computer are constantly evolving Windows source code is extremely complex and errors are sometimes found years later Activate automatic update to ensure your computer has the most current patches (See Automatic Update Handout)

22 Anti-Virus Software Viruses are programs designed to harm your computer. They take many forms and are constantly increasing in number and complexity. Anti-virus software detects and removes these malicious programs from your computer. There are many Anti-virus programs to choose from. Two of the most popular ones are: Norton Anti-Virus AVG Anti-Virus

23 Anti-Spyware Software Spyware compiles information about your computer such as what files are on your hard drive or where you have been on the Internet and sends it back to the programmer/user that put it on your system. These programs can be used to create pop-up ads on your computer, gather statistical information for companies, or they can be used for spying on you in general for whatever purpose the programmer sees fit. Even the programs that reputable companies use can slow down your computer because they are using your computer s resources to run their program. There are many anti-spyware programs but two popular ones are: Ad-aware Spybot

24 Safety Tips When you don t know who the sender is don t open the . Even if the is from someone you trust, be careful of suspicious links and attachments in the message. The sender may be unaware that the links are harmful. The sender may not be who they appear to be. Some computer viruses will mail themselves to everyone on the infected computer s mailing list!

25 Phishing Phishing is a type of fraud particular to computing. Through or a website you are presented with a link that appears to be credible, but is actually only very close to the real company s web address. By asking for personal information or installing malicious software the fraudulent site hopes to gain access to credit cards or other identity information to get your money.

26 Avoiding Phishing Attacks An easy way to see if the website is valid is to go to: and type in the company s name. The real website should appear in the results. The fake website should not. If the website wants personal information, call the real business phone number from the phone book and ask if they need any information. Unless you are certain you are dealing with a reputable business, do not give out personal information. The website: cups.cs.cmu.edu/antiphishing_phil/ has an instructional game to help you spot phishing attacks.

27 Secure Submission If a company is genuine, you should be careful to only submit your personal information, especially credit card numbers, through a secure website. Secure websites will be identified by an icon in the status bar. Internet Explorer will show a closed yellow padlock in the upper right or lower right section of the screen depending on its version.

28 Summary The Internet is a useful tool Don t get scared by threats. Just stay informed Common sense is still the best tool Remember the main goal is get the most use out of your computer possible.

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