Perimeter Defense: The best way to keep hackers and
malicious computer code at bay is to set
up a perimeter defense. Keep your system
up to date, install a firewall, and use your
common sense to avoid menaces from the Internet,
especially those that arrive by email. One
thing to keep in mind: When someone else
has access to your computer, you may not have much of a perimeter defense.
A perimeter defense can't protect a vulnerable (that's not venerable) user either.
Internal Defense: Neutralize anything dangerous that does
get past your perimeter. Use antivirus software,
and keep your antivirus signatures up to
date. Traditional antivirus programs do not
do well on worms (yet), so it's good to augment
them with at least an anti-malware program.
Backups are your last-ditch defense. Make
backups of everything you consider irreplaceable,
and keep them up to date.
Analogy: Our gated perimeter at Happy Trails gives us a nice sense of
security. Unfortunately, a few residents
have learned the hard way that that's not
enough. After hearing about a few incidents,
I now keep my doors and shed locked at night
to provide some internal defense. You need to maintain some caution
here too. In fact one resident lost her life
Pick your plan
Level-1: A basic plan that offers tolerable protection
for moderate online activity -- reading email
and visiting well known Web sites. Computer
users with average experience should be able
to implement and manage this plan easily.
Beginners may need some help.
Level-2: The average user will have adequate protection
with this plan. It also adds the dimension
of privacy protection. You need a little
more than average experience or determination
to implement and manage this plan.
Level-3: For the user who wants or needs the best
security and privacy that reasonable effort
can provide. You will need intermediate-to-advanced
computing skills to implement and use this
If you're looking for solid "click-it-and-forget-it" security
you may feel let down by these plans. First
the bad news: there's no such thing. The
good news? The "Level-2" plan comes
close, but it's certainly not click-and-forget.
You will need to keep some things up to date -- your virus and malware reference files,
for example -- if your want your security
to remain effective.
Implement your defense plan
Don't be in too much of a rush.
Some of your
defense measures are going to
machine to work differently.
You won't know
what caused a problem if you
make a bunch
of changes all at once. You probably
have some measures in place already.
with the elements that are highlighted
yellow. There is no particular
is best for the other elements.
Test your defenses
There are lots of free tests online that you can use these days. It's worse
to have a defective defense than
no defense at all. With your
of security you're bound to stumble
The "Single-Layer Defense" Fallacy: A still timely discussion of multi-layer defenses.