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Battlefield Home - Network Security
Author: Brian Anderson, CISSP
Manufacturer: N/A
Source: Bigbruin.com
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Battlefield Home - Network Security
October 08, 2006

Software:

Another area that is commonly attacked is the software that you run on the computer. One of the more common applications is Microsoft's Office suite. Their are many common attacks on these suites including macro viruses and buffer overflows. To help stop the macro viruses you can simply enable the macro security Microsoft has built in to most of their Office suites. Again, because of all the different versions, you will need to head over to the Microsoft site to help you out.

Office Updates and information links:

Office Update
Help protect yourself: Security in Office

Being that Microsoft is the world's biggest software maker, it is therefore the most attacked. There are many other vulnerabilities in many other software products. Due to the vast number of possible applications, I am unable to point you in the right direction for each one of them. The simplest thing to do is go to the program's "Help -> About" menu and there will normally be a link to the company's website. From there you can find out about any upgrades that are available. Of course if you still need help, please stop by the forums and we'll be glad to offer you any help we can.

Anti-Virus:

One of the MOST important things any computer user/owner can do is to make 100% sure they have not only an anti-virus program installed, but that it is up to date on not only the virus definitions, but the anti-virus engine as well. All of the major anti-virus makers have made it pretty easy to update the virus definitions. While many set this to be once a week, I would highly suggest once a day. Yes, you read that right. Once a day. With the rate of new viruses currently at 10 - 15 per day; if you update on a weekly basis you are vulnerable to 70-105 different viruses before you update. To put in perspective of how dangerous this is, with in 10 minutes of the launch of the infamous Slammer virus, over 75,000 machines had been infected. While that is an extreme example, it goes to show how fast these viruses can (and do) spread. And during the Klez e-mail virus attack, some anti-virus vendors were recommending updates as frequently as every hour! OUCH! But again this shows how important updating your anti-virus software is. If I seem to be going on and on about this, it is because of how important it is. It is estimated that businesses world wide lost over $55 BILLION in 2003 from viruses, and it costs consumers about 5.2 billion dollars a year to repair or replace infected computers. Even if you personally do not have a financial loss, it still affects you because businesses have to pass along these cost to consumers. So please keep your anti-virus software updated! Here is a list of popular anti-virus makers. This is not an all inclusive list by any means, so if your favorite anti-virus software isn't here please don't send me hate mail (I get enough of it from my friends and family):

Microsoft* - http://safety.live.com
Mcafee - http://www.mcafee.com
Symantec - http://www.symantec.com
TrendMicro - http://www.trendmicro.com
AVG - http://www.grisoft.com
Panda Software - http://www.pandasoftware.com
Avast - http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html

Between those 7 companies, there are products that cover just about every OS out there. They are also very good, and offer a high rate of detection and removal. Most of them either have free or trial software, and virus removal applications. From most of the reports I have seen, Microsoft and McAfee top the list of best Anti-Virus software.


* Microsoft has a new safety package that combines many of the needed functionally that you want. Not only does it have Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and a more advanced firewall, but it also offers system maintenance all in one. While I know many people may shy away from this option, I would highly suggest you take a real look into it. For one, it's Anti-Virus application continues in independent test after test to perform as good or better than any of the other Anti-Virus software out there. For example on one of the latest Internet Explorer exploits, the Microsoft Anti-Virus was the only one on the market to catch it the day the exploit was made public. Direct from Microsoft it's about $50 for 1 year service for 3 computers, and if you look around (Costco) you can find it for a little over $30.

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