Safe personal computing

Safe Personal Computing

I am regularly asked what average Internet users can do to ensure their security. My first answer is usually, “Nothing — you’re screwed.” But that’s not true, and the reality is more complicated. You’re screwed if you do nothing to protect yourself, but there are many things you can do to increase your security on the Internet.

Bruce Schneier has a great checklist up on how to increase personal computing security, written in terms most everyone can easily understand. Those few things that might not be understood by everyone (eg, NAT devices, changing Windows file associations) still serve as a good jumping off point for asking questions to someone more familiar with them.

The only thing I partially disagree with is his recommendation for Windows users to delete cmd.exe. While on the face of it, this might not be a bad idea, it’s absence is bound to be an irritation for anyone investigating networking problems on the computer in question. That might be a good file to include in Windows troubleshooting toolkits.

Bruce Schneier is a respected authority in the information security field. If people won’t listen to me, maybe they’ll listen to him? I don’t follow all of this advice myself, but I already do most of it and I believe that I understand the risks involved and am able to make informed decisions about them. I recommend that everyone read this, even people familiar with these issues. I think I’ll include it in my Xmas cards this year.

Comments

kchrist says:

… if I were sending any.