Security Corner

Sep 5 2009   3:03PM GMT

Good PC Security Begins With a Baseline



Posted by: Ken Harthun
Tags:
Anti-malware
Anti-virus
Browsers
Critical update
Firewalls
Malware
Microsoft Windows
NAT
Patch management
Routers
Security

I received some good feedback on my “14 Golden Rules of Computer Security” list, in particular, this comment from Michael: “…you encourage people to go through all the effort of running Virtual Machines to protect themselves from malware, but you don’t actually encourage them to run Anti-Virus software. Which basically, unfortunately, means you’re violating rule #1 and much more likely to run into rule #12.” This lead to a review of past articles I’ve posted on the subject and my finding that though I’ve covered all of the bases, my writing is a bit fragmented. So, you can go back to “Nine Steps to System Security – 2008", “The Lazy Man’s Way to System Security”, and “14 Golden Rules of Computer Security” and put them all together for a complete PC security package, but that’s a lot for the average user to digest.

As of today, I’m embarking on a major pre-release revision of the eBook, 14 Golden Rules of Computer Security to make sure all of the bases are covered in a logical combination and sequence. In essence, the book will begin with the concept of a security baseline—the bare security essentials—for a normal home PC setup and will branch from there.

What’s a good PC security baseline? In “The Lazy Man’s Way to System Security,” I proposed these four bare security essentials: “…a NAT router; a good antivirus program; a good anti-malware program; and, a good software firewall.” That was good enough at the time, but these days antivirus, antimalware and a software firewall are usually combined into a single suite. I choose to align with Windows Secrets’  Security Baseline page: “…a hardware firewall that’s built into your [NAT] router, security software that guards against all types of malware threats, a software-update service to ensure that your applications are patched against the latest exploits, and a secure browser.”

There are many possibilities for implementing those four basic items and that will be well covered in the book.

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