Showing posts with label Linux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Linux. Show all posts

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cyber Security for ordinary businesses

In this day and age, every thing your company does is on the company computers somewhere.  Email is forever.  First off, you need to identify the things that you need to keep secret from hackers and competitors.  Start with personnel records.  Those must be secret to keep competitors from pirating your best people.  Pay and salary is particularly sensitive because when that gets out, everyone in your company gets bad feelings about everyone who make more than they do.  And it points headhunters toward your less well paid people.  Production information; mechanical drawings, electrical schematics, parts lists, software source code, test procedures, recipes and formulas.  With this stuff someone can set up to make your product and compete with you.  That's legal in places like China.  At the very least they can make a good guess at your cost of production.  Sales and marketing; your customer lists and customer contact information.  If the competition gets to your customers and wins them over, you are hurting.  Email; there is bound to be damaging information in someone's email.
    To keep the hackers out, first consider keeping stuff OFF the hard drives.  Back it up to CD-ROM and keep the CD's in a locked room.  There is a lot of old stuff on hard drive that you don't use today, but could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands.  If the stuff is really valuable, now is the time to establish an off site backup location.
    Set up a secure network.  This is a small number of computers, kept in locked rooms,  and NOT connected to the general company network or the public internet, or the public phone network.  By not connected we means NO wires or wireless connections to anywhere.  Don't rely on "firewalls", some of them have caught fire in the past.  Snip off the wires going to the USB sockets to prevent Flash drive virus invasion.  Remove all floppy drives to prevent invasion by merely inserting a boot floppy in the "A:" drive. Keep all your sensitive stuff on the secure network.  When you do Engineering Change Orders, pull the master drawing off the secure network, give it to the engineer, and have him return the updated version to the secure network.
   Now we come to training your personnel.  Start with email.  Make sure everyone understands that email lasts forever, and will be used against you in court, and by hackers.  Tell them to never put anything in email that they would not post on the bulletin board at the local super market.  If the matter is sensitive, handle it face to face or over the phone.  And delete old emails after 30 days.
   You want to run an anti virus scan once a week on every computer in the company.  Virii can do the damnedest things, just ask the Iranians about Stuxnet.  Commercial virus scan programs are pretty good, and they get better every week.  Keep your anti virus updated.  Even if you have a deal that permits IT to run the virus scans remotely, you still want everyone to understand how important they are.
   All your creative people want to keep their stuff on their machines, just in case.  Encourage them to encrypt it, and/or back it up to CD and keep it  in a locked drawer.  And make sure the latest version is stored on the secure network as well as on their private hard drives. 
   Consider getting rid of Windows company wide.  It can be done.  Linux works, and isn't too difficult for your people to learn.  Windows is totally, but totally, insecure.  Anything stored on a Windows computer is vulnerable to small children, let alone adult hackers.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Market place winners and losers

Loser: Windows.  Only 56% of the hits on my blog were from Windows machines.  Used to be Windows had 90+% market share.  Runner up Linux!  29%.  Hard to believe.  Linux works good but the multiple suppliers haven't convinced the market that all Linux programs will run on all flavors of Linux.  The rest of the hits were  from various cell phone OS like Android.

Winner:  Firefox.  Top browser, 57% of hits here. Beat out Chrome. Internet Exploder way down at 11%.  This after some net buzz about how Firefox was all washed up. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cyber Security according to the Economist

The Economist ran a 10 page special suppliment on cyber security, mostly hand wringing about how little security we have.
   They have a point there.  Most computers run Windows and Windows is like swiss cheese, full of holes.  Any Windows computer on the internet can be hacked, from the net, and quickly.  Bill Gates has hung all our dirty laundry out to dry in the sunlight, where anyone can see it.
  For instance, those electronic medical records that Obama stuck us with.  They are all visible on the net to any competent hacker.  For instance, when you apply for a job, HR can access your medical records and put the kibosh on hiring you if they see you as a high cost patient on the company medical plan.  And there is nothing you can do about it,  your doctor puts your medical records on the computer whether you like it or not, and there you are, hung out to dry.  Note: Don't tell your doctor about suicidal feelings, mental problems, anything that might be used against you, either at trial or at a hiring decision.
  Things you can do.  Use good passwords.  Avoid passwords found in dictionaries, they have all been cracked.  Passwords like sunlight, tornado, U.S.Grant, hunter, rapids, bulldozer are all precracked.  Use long passwords, longer is better.  Use mixed case (some caps, some lower case) and digits.  For instance Torino69 is stronger than just plain torino.   ByTheRocketsRedGlare is stronger than usemgr.
   The experts will tell you to use different passwords for each thing (account) that you log into.  Good advice, but tough to follow.  No way can I remember and keep straight 20 odd passwords for the 20 odd accounts I own. I do use strong passwords and that's about it. 
  Avoid Windows.  Use Linux, or Mac or even MS-DOS.  By the way, there is a market opening here, for an OS as user friendly as Windows without Windows uncounted security holes. 
   Never click on an email attachment. Even on email from a well known friend.  The friend's machine may have been hacked, and the hackers  always take away the address book.  Attachments, ESPECIALLY .doc and .xls (Word and Excel files) can contain hostile code that infects your machine with all sorts of horrible stuff.
   Keep your machine off the internet as much as you can.  Powering down takes it off the net, and saves electricity.  Powering down at night might save you a nasty virus or invasion by a botnet.
  Run an antivirus program at least once a month. 
  Don't let anyone stick strange thumb drives in your machine.  They can contain virii or worse that will infect you machine within seconds of plugging the thumb drive into a USB port. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Firefox and Internet Explorer tie.

The two rival browsers are neck and neck with 31 % of page views here.  Chrome is coming on strong with 20 %.   Windows is still the dominant operating system, followed by Linux (12%) and Macintosh at 6%.