Batten Down The Hatches

This month our focus is one of the scariest topics on the Internet – Security. If you’ve ever been “hacked” into, you’ll certainly agree that while security may be a scary topic to most, a lack of it may cost you dearly. Perhaps the most common way for a hacker to invade your system is through “backdoor” software exploits. What?? A software exploit is essentially a bug in the program that allows a user to enter a system virtually undetected. Once inside, this user is able to steal sensitive information [credit card numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.] or simply erase your hard drive. Not good.

The easiest way to prevent hackers from penetrating your system is to install a firewall between you and the Internet which masks your true identity – if they can’t see you, they can’t get inside – outgoing traffic only. However, if you run a web-server firewalls are tricky – you must install a proxy server to handle the requests sent to and from the Internet – two way traffic…..could get messy. Instead, just make sure your software is all up to date and that you are not using software that contains known exploits. WU-FTP, for instance, has a known exploit which allows a user to gain shell access to that system. Red Hat Linux has a kernel exploit for any kernel version 2.2.15 or older – update your software! As a further precaution you should confirm that all your network services, FTP, Telnet, Finger, Netstat, etc. are highly restricted or disabled all together.

If you believe your system to be secure I challenge you to visit here and take the “Shields Up” test……review the results and see how secure you really
are. You may be surprised. No matter how you look at it, system security is highly essential and should not be taken lightly. With a little effort you can protect yourself from uninvited intrusion and rest easy knowing your systems are as
safe as you can make them to date.