Elements of Networking Security: Passwords

Password Mechanisms
Passwords are a way to identify and authenticate users as they access the computer system. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which a password can be compromised. For Example, someone wanting to gain access can listen for a username password as an authorized user gains access over a public network. In addition, a potential intruder can mount an attack on the access gateway, entering an entire dictionary of words (or license plates or any other list) against a password field. Users may loan their password to a co-worker or inadvertently leave out a list of system passwords. Fortunately, there are password technologies and tools to help make your network more secure. Useful in ad hoc remote access situations, one-time password generation assumes that a password will be compromised. Before leaving the Computer Security, a list of passwords that will work only one time against a given username is generated. When logging into the system remotely, a password is used once and then will no longer be valid.
Password Aging and Policy Enforcement
Password aging is a feature that requires users to create new passwords every so often. Good password policy dictates that passwords must be a minimum number of characters and a mix of letters and numbers. Smart cards provide extremely secure password protection. Unique passwords, based on a challenge-response scheme, are created on a small credit-card device. The password is then entered as part of the log-on process and validated against a password server, which logs all access to the system. As might be expected, these systems can be expensive to implement.
Single sign-on overcomes what can only be the ultimate irony in system security: as a user gains more passwords, these passwords become less secure, not more, and the system opens itself up for unauthorized access. Many enterprise computer networks are designed to require users to have different passwords to access different parts of the system. As users acquire more passwords some people have more than 50 they cannot help but write them down or create easy-to-remember passwords. A single sign-on system is essentially a centralized access control list which determines who is authorized to access different areas of the computer network and a mechanism for providing the expected password. A user need only remember a single password to sign onto the system.
Good password procedures include the following:
Do not use your login name in any form (as is, reversed, capitalized, doubled, etc.).
Do not use your first, middle, or last name in any form or use your spouse???s or children???s names.
Do not use other information easily obtained about you. This includes license plate numbers, telephone numbers, social security numbers, the make of your automobile, the name of the street you live on, etc.
Do not use a password of all digits or all in the same letter.
Do not use a word contained in English or foreign language dictionaries, spelling lists, or other lists of words.
Do not use a password shorter than six characters.
Do use a password with mixed-case alphabetic.
Do use a password with non-alphabetic characters (digits or punctuation).
Do use a password that is easy to remember, so you don???t have to write it down.

Elements of Networking Security: Encryption, Authentication, and Integrity

A firewall system is a hardware/software configuration that sits at perimeter between a company's network and the Computer Security, controlling access into and out of the network. Encryption can be understood as follows:
the coding of data through an algorithm or transform table into apparently unintelligible garbage
used on both data stored on a server or as data is communicated through a network
a method of ensuring privacy of data and that only intended users may view the information
Encryption mechanisms rely on keys or passwords. The longer the password, the more difficult the encryption is to break. DES relies on a 56-bit key length, and some mechanisms have keys that are hundreds of bits long. There are two kinds of encryption mechanisms used private key and public key. Private-key encryption uses the same key to encode and decode the data. Public-key encryption uses one key to encode the data and another to decode the data. The name public key comes from a unique property of this type of encryption mechanism namely; one of the keys can be public without compromising the privacy of the message or the other key. In fact, usually a trusted recipient, perhaps a remote office network gateway, keeps a private key to decode data as it comes from the main office employ encryption to provide secure transmissions over public networks such as the Internet.
Authentication and Integrity
Authentication is simply making sure users are who they say they are. When using resources or sending messages in a large private network, not to mention the Internet, authentication is of the utmost importance. Integrity knows that the data sent has not been altered along the way. Of course, a message modified in any way would be highly suspect and should be completely discounted. Message integrity is maintained with digital signatures. A digital signature is a block of data at the end of a message that attests to the authenticity of the file. If any change is made to the file, the signature will not verify. Digital signatures perform both an authentication and message integrity function. Digital signature functionality is available in PGP and when using RSA encryption. Kerberos is an add-on system that can be used with any existing network. Kerberos validates a user through its authentication system and uses DES when communicating sensitive information such as passwords and an open network. In addition, Kerberos sessions have a limited lifespan, requiring users to login after a predetermined length of time and disallowing would-be intruders to replay a captured session and thus gain unauthorized entry.

what general internet security precautions should I take?

If you are a Webmaster, system administrator, or are otherwise involved with the administration of a network, the single most important step you can take to increase your site's Computer Security is to create a written security policy. This security policy should succinctly lay out your organization's policies with regard to:
who is allowed to use the system
when they are allowed to use it
what they are allowed to do (different groups may be granted different levels of access)
procedures for granting access to the system
procedures for revoking access (e.g. when an employee leaves)
what constitutes acceptable use of the system
remote and local login methods
system monitoring procedures
protocols for responding to suspected security breaches
This policy need not be anything fancy. It need only be a succinct summary of how the information system work, reflecting your organization's technological and political realities. There are several benefits to having a written security policy:
You yourself will understand what is and is not permitted on the system. If you don't have a clear picture of what is permitted, you can never be sure when a violation has occurred.
Others in your organization will understand what the security policy is. The written policy raises the level of security consciousness, and provides a focal point for discussion.
The security policy serves as a requirements document against which technical solutions can be judged. This helps guard against the "buy first, ask questions later" syndrome.
The policy may help bolster your legal case should you ever need to prosecute for a security violation.
For Web servers, here are some general security precautions to take:
Limit the number of login accounts available on the machine. Delete inactive users. Make sure that people with login privileges choose good passwords.
Turn off unused services. For example, if you don't need to run FTP on the Web server host, get rid of the ftp software. Likewise for tftp, send mail, gopher, NIS (network information services) clients, NFS (networked file system), finger, systat, and anything else that might be hanging around. Check the file /etc/inetd.conf or Service Manager for a list of servers that may be lurking. Deactivate any that you don't use.
Remove shells and interpreters that you don't absolutely need. Check both the system and Web logs regularly for suspicious activity.
Make sure that permissions are set correctly on system files, to discourage tampering.
Be alert to the possibility that a _local_ user can accidentally make a change to the Web server configuration file or the document tree that opens up a security hole. You should set file permissions in the document and server root directories such that only trusted local users can make changes. Many sites create a "www" group to which trusted Web authors are added. The document root is made writable only by members of this group. To increase security further, the server root where vital configuration files are kept, is made writable only by the official Web administrator. Many sites create a "www" user for this purpose.

How to Eliminate the Ten Most Critical Internet Security Threats

Stop the Break-Ins!
The majority of successful attacks on computer systems via the Computer Security can be traced to exploitation of one of a small number of security flaws. Most of the systems compromised in the Solar Sunrise Pentagon hacking incident were attacked through a single vulnerability. A related flaw was exploited to break into many of the computers later used in massive distributed denial of service attacks. Recent compromises of Windows NT-based web servers are typically traced to entry via a well-known vulnerability. Vulnerability is widely thought to be the means used to compromise more than 30,000 Linux systems.
A few software vulnerabilities account for the majority of successful attacks because attackers are opportunistic ??? taking the easiest and most convenient route. They exploit the best-known flaws with the most effective and widely available attack tools. They count on organizations not fixing the problems, and they often attack indiscriminately, by scanning the Internet for vulnerable systems.
System administrators report that they have not corrected these flaws because they simply do not know which of over 500 potential problems the ones that are most dangerous are, and they are too busy to correct them all. A step by step tutorial by Mary Chaddock to help system administrators get started with the top ten is available here.
The information security community is meeting this problem head on by identifying the most critical Internet security problem areas ??? the clusters of vulnerabilities that system administrators need to eliminate immediately. This consensus Top Ten list represents an unprecedented example of active cooperation among industry, government, and academia. The participants came together from the most security-conscious federal agencies, from the leading security software vendors and consulting firms, from the top university-based security programs, and from CERT/CC and the SANS Institute.
Here is the experts??? list of the Ten Most Often Exploited Internet Security Flaws along with the actions needed to rid your systems of these vulnerabilities.
1. The Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) package is the most widely used implementation of Domain Name Service (DNS) -- the critical means by which we all locate systems on the Internet by name (e.g., without having to know specific IP addresses -- and this makes it a favorite target for attack. Sadly, according to a mid-1999 survey, about 50% of all DNS servers connected to the Internet are running vulnerable versions of BIND. In a typical example of a BIND attack, intruders erased the system logs, and installed tools to gain administrative access. They then compiled and installed IRC utilities and network scanning tools, which they used to scan more than a dozen class-B networks in search of additional systems running vulnerable versions of BIND. In a matter of minutes, they had used the compromised system to attack hundreds of remote systems abroad, resulting in many additional successful compromises. This illustrates the chaos that can result from a single vulnerability in the software for ubiquitous Internet services such as DNS.

2. Most web servers support Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programs to provide interactivity in web pages, such as data collection and verification. Many web servers come with sample CGI programs installed by default. Unfortunately, many CGI programmers fail to consider ways in which their programs may be misused or subverted to execute malicious commands. Vulnerable CGI programs present a particularly attractive target to intruders because they are relatively easy to locate, and they operate with the privileges and power of the web server software itself. Intruders are known to have exploited vulnerable CGI programs to vandalize web pages, steal credit card information, and set up back doors to enable future intrusions, even if the CGI programs are secured. As a general rule, sample programs should always be removed from production systems.

3. Remote procedure calls (RPC) allow programs on one computer to execute programs on a second computer. They are widely-used to access network services such as shared files in NFS. Multiple vulnerabilities caused by flaws in RPC, are being actively exploited. There is compelling evidence that the vast majority of the distributed denial of service attacks launched during 1999 and early 2000 were executed by systems that had been victimized because they had the RPC vulnerabilities.

4. Microsoft???s Internet Information Server (IIS) is the web server software found on most web sites deployed on Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 servers. Programming flaws in IIS???s Remote Data Services (RDS) are being employed by malicious users to run remote commands with administrator privileges. Some participants who developed the "Top Ten" list believe that exploits of other IIS flaws, such as .HTR files, are at least as common as exploits of RDS.

5. Send mail is the program that sends, receives, and forwards most electronic mail processed on UNIX and Linux computers. Send mail???s widespread use on the Internet makes it a prime target of attackers. Several flaws have been found over the years. The very first advisory issued by CERT/CC in 1988 made reference to an exploitable weakness in sendmail. In one of the most common exploits, the attacker sends a crafted mail message to the machine running Sendmail, and Sendmail reads the message as instructions requiring the victim machine to send its password file to the attacker???s machine (or to another victim) where the passwords can be cracked.

6. Sad mind allows remote administration access to Solaris systems, providing graphical access to system administration functions. Mounted controls and arbitrates access to NFS mounts on UNIX hosts. Buffer overflows in these applications can be exploited allowing attackers to gain control with root access.

7. These services allow file sharing over networks. When improperly configured, they can expose critical system files or give full file system access to any hostile party connected to the network. Many computer owners and administrators use these services to make their file systems readable and writeable in an effort to improve the convenience of data access. Administrators of a government computer site used for software development for mission planning made their files world readable so people at a different government facility could get easy access. Within two days, other people had discovered the open file shares and stolen the mission planning software.
When file sharing is enabled on Windows machines they become vulnerable to both information theft and certain types of quick-moving viruses.
8. Some systems come with "demo" or "guest" accounts with no passwords or with widely-known default passwords. Service workers often leave maintenance accounts with no passwords, and some database management systems install administration accounts with default passwords. In addition, busy system administrators often select system passwords that are easily guessable ("love," "money," "wizard" are common) or just use a blank password. Default passwords provide effortless access for attackers. Many attackers try default passwords and then try to guess passwords before resorting to more sophisticated methods. Compromised user accounts get the attackers inside the firewall and inside the target machine. Once inside, most attackers can use widely-accessible exploits to gain root or administrator access.
9. IMAP and POP are popular remote access mail protocols, allowing users to access their e-mail accounts from internal and external networks. The "open access" nature of these services makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation because openings are frequently left in firewalls to allow for external e-mail access. Attackers who exploit flaws in IMAP or POP often gain instant root-level control.

10. The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is widely used by network administrators to monitor and administer all types of network-connected devices ranging from routers to printers to computers. SNMP uses an unencrypted "community string" as its only authentication mechanism. Lack of encryption is bad enough, but the default community string used by the vast majority of SNMP devices is "public", with a few "clever" network equipment vendors changing the string to "private". Attackers can use this vulnerability in SNMP to reconfigure or shut down devices remotely. Sniffed SNMP traffic can reveal a great deal about the structure of your network, as well as the systems and devices attached to it. Intruders use such information to pick targets and plan attacks.

Selecting Good Passwords for Internet Security

Computer Security
The object when choosing a password is to make it as difficult as possible for a cracker to make educated guesses about what you've chosen. This leaves him no alternative but a brute-force search, trying every possible combination of letters, numbers, and punctuation. A search of this sort, even conducted on a machine that could try one million passwords per second (most machines can try less than one hundred per second), would require, on the average, over one hundred years to complete.
What Not to Use
Don't use your login name in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, doubled, etc.).
Don't use your first or last name in any form.
Don't use your spouse's or child's name.
Don't use other information easily obtained about you. This includes license plate numbers, telephone numbers, social security numbers, the brand of your automobile, the name of the street you live on, etc.
Don't use a password of all digits, or the entire same letter. This significantly decreases the search time for a cracker.
Don't use a word contained in (English or foreign language) dictionaries, spelling lists, or other lists of words.
Don't use a password shorter than six characters.
What to Use
Do use a password with mixed-case alphabetic characters.
Do use a password with no alphabetic characters, e.g., digits or punctuation.
Do use a password that is easy to remember, so you don't have to write it down.
Do use a password that you can type quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by watching over your shoulder.
Method to Choose Secure and Easy to Remember Passwords
Choose a line or two from a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word. For example, ``In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure dome decree'' becomes ``IXdKKaspdd.''
Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters. This provides nonsense words that are usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered. Examples include ``routboo,'' ``quadpop,'' and so on.
Choose two short words and concatenate them together with a punctuation character between them. For example: ``dog;rain,'' ``book+mug,'' ``kid?goat.''

Intelligence Analysis for Internet Security

Computer Security
The development of information and communication systems has become a critical component of globalization, shrinking both time and space, with far-reaching consequences that are still barely understood. Hi-tech connectivity has facilitated the emergence of dense global commercial and information networks that are unprecedented in their speed, accessibility, and capability. Not surprisingly, the United States has been the leader in this process, exploiting new opportunities in a variety of ways. Information and communication technologies provide greater efficiencies at lower costs for U.S. business, while the military services regard opportunities for information warfare as a major component of the evolution in military affairs. Indeed, information and communications systems have been widely embraced as a means of maintaining United States primacy, both economically and militarily. Unfortunately, such opportunities rarely come without some risk. The information and communications revolutions are no exception.

who is challenging internet security?

Efforts to identify intruders are critical both to the assessment of the challenge and the nature of the response. Potential intruders run the gamut from young hobbyists engaged in the equivalent of joy riding to terrorist organizations and nations that are intent on maximizing damage to the target. The problem of identification is particularly difficult in a domain where maintaining anonymity is easy and there are sometimes time lapses between the intruder action, the intrusion itself, and the actual disruptive effects. Moreover, the consequences are not always commensurate with the objectives, in some cases falling short of what the intruders hoped to achieve, and in others going well beyond what they had envisaged.
There is a broad spectrum of potential intruders on the Computer Security and an almost equal number of motives for intrusions against organizations. Not surprisingly, this includes perpetrators conducting operations against other perpetrators. As enticing as this prospect is, it does not mitigate the effects of such internecine rivalry. New and more sophisticated tools are often the result of such interplay. This sort of jousting can also provide valuable insights to analysts once it is recognized, but does not simplify the analytic task and puts an incredible strain on limited analytic/warning resources. With the continuing proliferation of sophisticated computer technologies into the mainstream population, attribution for an intrusion becomes more difficult by the day. The dynamism of the intruder population is itself a problem. On the one hand, success breeds imitation and the sophistication of readily available tools means that even those with limited skills can become intruders. On the one hand, there is a certain degree of attrition in the intruder community. Indeed, there are many reasons why intruders might cease their activity, including increased maturity, a need to find gainful employment, and a perception of the rewards of working to increase network security rather than attack it. The implication, of course, is that the mix of agents threatening network security is changing as the nature of the Internet changes.
The vast majority of the intrusions are probably being conducted by nuisance hackers or "ankle-biters" who have limited objectives and are usually satisfied with the actual penetration of the system or conduct relatively harmless cyber-vandalism such as the defacement or alteration of web-sites. While aggravating to the target, no significant or lasting damage occurs. The more serious problem occurs when an intrusion is carried out by a more sophisticated intruder (either an individual or a group) whose objective is better defined and involves malicious intent. Motives for these sorts of intrusions are also as varied as the persons carrying them out. They range from greed to defined military strategy and doctrine, and all that falls in between.
Four of the more dangerous and less well defined categories of intruder are governments conducting operations against other sovereign states, the organized terrorist group, insurgency or revolutionary groups, and organized crime. All these entities are beginning to appreciate the potential power, anonymity, and effectiveness of the Internet. There are myriad examples of governments instituting programs for Computer Network Warfare.
The obvious challenge is to develop a capacity to identify and track the activities of these potential intruders with the goal of being able to provide predictive analysis and warning of intrusions. Some of the traditional intelligence techniques should apply to these threats, but new methodologies and the ability to contemplate new and complex concepts have to be developed concurrently. This will become even more important (and difficult) as perpetrators of increasing sophistication operate on the Internet. As motivations vary, so will the efforts of the individuals behind malicious operations to either conceal or reveal their responsibility. All of this complicates efforts to track responsible parties determine attribution. Nations and transnational criminal organizations, by their nature, will be diligent in their efforts to maintain anonymity. In some of these cases, identifying the intended victim may give valuable insight into tracking the intruder. Sometimes the target of an intrusion allows the analyst to rule out certain possible perpetrators. A multi-million dollar extortion plot against a major financial institution is probably not the work of a 13-year-old hacker working out of his bedroom. At the same time, however, many victims, especially within government or sensitive industries such as banking or insurance, often complicate the effort to track intruders because of their reluctance to report the incident. In other cases, such as politically motivated attacks, the perpetrators may want their identity known, but not their location. As such operations become more sophisticated; tracking the attack back to its point of origin will be a major challenge to the intelligence analysts involved. What is clear from all of this is that tracking intruders and gaining attribution is much more than just a technical challenge.
One difficulty, of course, is that there are legal constraints on intelligence collection, especially by the military and the national security establishment. Traditionally the focus of intelligence has been on foreign threats, and there are restrictions on intelligence activities directed against individuals or groups that are domestic in nature. Insofar as these groups are the focus of government attention, it is from the law enforcement community. This points to yet another problem: that of coordination and information sharing between the traditional national security agencies and the law enforcement community. Generally law enforcement focuses on individual cases and wants evidence that stands up in court; intelligence agencies in contrast are concerned with protecting the sources of their information so that they can continue to use them. The problem with cyber-threats is that they fall in the gray area where crime and national security merge into one another.

What forms of intrusion to internet security are occurring?

Computer Security
It is tempting to see intrusions in terms of a pyramid that goes from transient vulnerability probing and defacing web-sites at the base to large scale efforts to undermine the critical missions of an organization or the critical functions of a nation at the top - and to suggest that there is an inverse relationship between frequency and significance, with many trivial incidents and comparatively few of the more serious incidents. There are several difficulties with this however. The first is that probes that appear relatively insignificant could be a harbinger of more serious intrusions. The second is that there is sometimes a gap between intent and consequences ??? the effects and impact of an incident can either fall far short of what was intended, or far exceed what the perpetrator initially envisaged. This lack of congruence between limited intent and far-reaching consequences stems from the capacity of worms and viruses for infinite replication and multiplication combined with the seamless inter-connectivity of systems. Incidents such as the Love Bug cross the public-private divide and have an indiscriminate impact on corporations, governments, and private individuals irrespective of the initial target. In cases such as this, the consequences have less to do with targeting than with the ubiquity of a particular program such as Microsoft Outlook that is used as the vector of transmission. In effect, the incident takes on its own momentum.
When the consequences are widespread, of course, the incident becomes very public and is the subject of much media and official commentary. In many other cases, however, there is far greater reticence about the scale, type and targets of attack. The analytic effort must successfully build a trust relationship for the collection of data across a broad variety of organizations. This trust relationship allows for observation of incidents from early probing and experimentation through widespread deployment of automated forms of intrusion. For example, in recent months has received reports of intrusions involving a wide variety of automated tools, ranging from simple viruses and system corruption toolkits through complex viruses designed to attack relatively hardened sites with low probability of detection and distributed tools designed to crash network infrastructure. Roughly 10%-25% of the CERT/CC reports involve viruses. Roughly 20%-40% are intrusions where the victim site cannot discern the type of the intrusion from available data. The remaining intrusions are a large number of other forms of intrusion, including compromise of system administration accounts, web defacements, reconnaissance attempts and misuse of computing resources.

Internet Security Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Computer Security Audit or Vulnerability Scan?
A network security audit or vulnerability scan scans your network and or computers for any vulnerability in your network system that hackers can use to intrude your network.
Why do I need a Network Security Audit or Vulnerability Scan?
Every network and computer with a connection to the Internet needs a vulnerability scan so that the holes in the network can be exposed and fixed before a hacker finds them and steals valuable information or places Trojan horse viruses on the open network. FBI stats show 90% of businesses has had some sort of network intrusion in the last 12 months and many of those businesses were not even aware that they had been compromised.
What is a Web Site Security Audit or Vulnerability Scan?
This is a security audit or vulnerability scan of your web site. There are over 20,000 known vulnerabilities in web sites that hacker can use to deface the web site or worse get into the web server and steal valuable information from databases on the web server. Plus many web developers will use scripts or other types of dynamic processing and some of these scripts may let hackers into the back end of your web site. Exposing the vulnerabilities is the only way to know if your web site or server is at risk of a hack attack.
Why do need a Web Site Security Audit if the web site is hosted with a hosting company?
We find that may security holes exist from some of the biggest hosting companies not updating their web server software of adding the latest software upgrades. By having us perform a security audit on your web site we scan the web servers operating system as well as your web sites folders and program code. We will send a copy of the report to your hosting company so that they can secure any holes in their web server's operation system.
Do we need a Network Security Audit for our Internet Connection at home?
Absolutely! Most home high speed internet users don't have security settings set properly on their home networks and many home users keep very sensitive data on their computer systems. Keeping this data safe is vital to reducing identity theft and protecting personal privacy.

Internet Security History

To become secure on the internet, it is necessary to learn a little bit about how the internet works. Generally speaking, the more secure you want to be, the more you have to knowledge, hassle and money you need to deal with. This article attempts to concisely explain how one can achieve internet secure and anonymous email transactions.
At its heart, the Computer Security merely provides a method for two computers to talk to one another. It gives every computer connected to it a distinctive number, called the IP (Internet Protocol) address. When one computer wishes to talk to another, it sends a message out into the gut of the internet. This message is like a postcard in the mail, it has a destination IP address, a message (which can be pages long, or as short as a single letter), and a return IP address. Usually the first message sent is a request for information, and the return address is used to form a reply, and perhaps a reverse request for information. Like real postcards, these messages can be read, very easily, by anyone who works at or lurks around the "post office", aqua, and the internet.
At first, when the internet was small and obscure, no one was really concerned with how open the messages were to being read. A few people took the moderate step of opening an anonymous email address, which would forward email to another account without the sender being aware of the ultimate address. Hackers had a field day during these years, sniffing out password information from the stream going back and forth, and setting up accounts for themselves on business and educational servers, getting free dialup service and long-distance in the mix. This was all for fun, and despite their lack of malicious intent and minor economic drain, hackers were much maligned in the media, especially when businesses started marketing the internet. A few hacks showing potentially serious consequences, such as obtaining the credit card records of AOL subscribers, modifying government and corporate websites, and the hint was gotten in a big way.
Corporations understood that if these playful cyberpunk kids could get access to this information, then eventually so would thieves and swindlers. And this realization dawned as businesses started feeling pressure to actually turn some revenue over their internet investments. That meant there had to be a way for people to type in their credit card numbers without having a third party oversee them. This was the perfect use for a method of encryption developed in the '60s, This gibberish could be decoded by hackers willing to spend years working on each message, but this was considered a sufficient obstacle to eavesdropping on credit card numbers that the public would feel safe. And because encryption falls into the category of "exponential increase" problems, the additional complexity in encryption that is used today has led to estimates that covert eavesdropping of credit card information would take millions of years to decode.
With online transaction having been made safe by encryption, and hacking declared felonious through federal legislation, the heat came off and the internet investment bubble began in earnest. Oh, the people who worked heavily with the computers that provide internet service quietly began using encrypted protocols and installing secure equipment behind-the-scenes, but few of these advancements made it into the software that the public uses at-large.
However, it is available. It just takes more work to learn how to use it. If more people learn how to use it, and demand privacy for the internet communications, new software will incorporate it and make it easier to use. These tutorials are designed to start by explaining the easiest ways to obtain additional security, then progress to methods which are more secure, and finally link to resources for those who are inclined to develop truly top-notch.

Internet Security - Firewall - Security Software - Computer Security - Network Security - Intrusion Detection

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