Saturday, May 22, 2004

PC Security Secrets Mini-Course - Day 1


The 7 PC Security Secrets Hackers DON'T Want
You To Know But I'm Going To Tell You Anyway.

A 7 Day Mini Course

Greg Reynolds

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Day 1

Secure Your Operating System

It amazes me the response I get from my clients
when I ask them the question, "So you have all your most
important information on your PC, when did you last apply
Microsoft's security patches on your computer?" Usually
I get a blank stare and sometimes I get the response, "I
didn't know there were any security patches."

Understanding not just security patches but the entire
set of online defenses is crucial to any serious computer
user. Most people realize that they should be doing some
type of security measures, but they don't know where to
begin and that can cost you BIG TIME!

Before you ever risk all the data on your computer
again, you need to know exactly where to begin locking
everything down or you are risking some serious

Hackers and virus writers are getting increasingly
sophisticated every day. At the same time, people are
storing more and more confidential information on their

Ever buy anything online? That credit card number is
still on your computer, stored in an unerasable file
easily accessed by anyone that knows how to search for a
16-digit string of numbers.

Do your taxes on your PC? Your social security number
and your entire identity are exposed.

Think you're safe from every virus, trojan, keystroke
logger, and remote probe that's out there? Today's virus
writers create programs that infect one computer and use
it top probe the IP address of 100,000 other computers
per hour.

Think this stuff is science fiction? A good hacker
can enter an unguarded PC through your browser, download
scripts automatically that find desirable data, and send
it to websites setup for anonymous data capture.

Think nobody really knows how to do this? The scripts
are so readily available that they're even sold on eBay
for next to nothing.

Don't believe me? Search eBay for "hacking tools".
$20 gets you a fresh CD loaded with hacking tools for
"script kiddies" - too young to drive, but capable of
stealing your information and selling it.

So what should you do? Take my advice and secure
all the potential entry points on your PC today.

Windows Security Patches

The Microsoft Windows Update site provides critical
updates, security fixes, software downloads, and other
relevant security info.

Simply click the Scan for Updates button. Browse the
results list and check off the ones you want to install.

Critical updates will always be in a small group at the
top of the results page. Always install those first.

When the download finishes, each update automatically
installs itself.

Online Security Tip: - Windows Update will automatically
track your security updates. When new patches are online,
you'll be directed to the Windows Update page for a new
security scan.

Note: If you use Microsoft Office products such as Word
and Excel, click the top button labeled "Office Update"
to install those security updates as well.

That's all for today. See you tomorrow with more good stuff.

Greg Reynolds

Tomorrow's Topic:

Locking Down Internet Explorer

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