Some Security Tips

Just a few tips on digital security from Bruce Schneier… Schneier on Security: Safe Personal Computing. Here’s a couple of excerps I want to emphasize:

Operating systems: If possible, don’t use Microsoft Windows. Buy a Macintosh or use Linux. If you must use Windows, set up Automatic Update so that you automatically receive security patches. And delete the files “command.com” and “cmd.exe.”

Amen brother. Really – switching away from Windows to an alternative such as Mac OS X, FreeBSD, or Linux will remove most of your security risk that is not directly the result of user error, social engineering, or other human factors.

Browsing: Don’t use Microsoft Internet Explorer, period. Limit use of cookies and applets to those few sites that provide services you need. Set your browser to regularly delete cookies. Don’t assume a Web site is what it claims to be, unless you’ve typed in the URL yourself. Make sure the address bar shows the exact address, not a near-miss.

Did you read that? Don’t use Microsoft Internet Explorer, period. Internet Explorer is a security liability. Stop it. Use Gecko-based browsers like Firefox, Mozilla, and Camino, Safari, or Opera instead. You will be glad you did.

And try to find an alternative to Outlook or Outlook Express if you are using either of those on Windows. It’s hard with the mandate of Microsoft Exchange implementations in the corporate world, but there’s no reason why you have to compromize your home or small business computer. Try Eudora or Mozilla Thunderbird instead.