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001 NETSEC



   NETSEC : Network Security
     - aka     Internet Security
     -           Computer Security

   If you are not already a user of the Internet
   you will be as part of your Job Search. The
   Internet connects people globally using any
   number of WiFi or other communications
   technologies to move voice, data, text, data, video, pictures, spam and games around
   the world. This opens opportunities for you and the many globally based "bad guys"
   who will entice you through various schemes to accept some offer or just click on
   something sent to you that can cause serious to potentially irreparable damage to
   your computer or your data. Large companies are victims of these attackers due to
   neglect, indifference or just didn't know or remember how to prevent these attacks.
   This section will help you identify some of the most common warnings and tactics
   used plus the very simple steps YOU can take to prevent or mitigate these attacks.

    Some may feel helpless against such attacks as they see no means to protect themselves for them with
    the knowledge they hold to mitigate or prevent these hostile actions. Do NOT presume you are unable to
    defend your computer. Many of these attacks, global or individual, can be prevented and there are 
    ways to detect them if you take time to look before you act. 

   2017 GLOBAL ATTACK
   
 Many large companies and individuals fell victim of a global attack. This attack took advantage of a
      known defect in Microsoft Windows 10 which allowed the "bad guys" to encrypt parts of the computers
      drive leaving the computer unable to function. A ransom of $300 USD in Bitcoins was demanded to
      have their computer restored. The challenge is finding a way to obtain the Bitcoins then hoping the "bad
      guys" would actually restore your computer. Many companies, including hospitals, were impacted by
      this attack which spread globally.

      The unfortunate thing was Microsoft knew of the security defect, provided a corrective "patch" or update
      for this problem, and had made it available to the public to update their computers thus providing the
      security needed. Unfortunately it appears many either did not know how to set their Windows 10 to
      automatically look for updates to Windows 10 then automatically apply them. These people paid a high
      price.   

    FIRST THREE LINES OF DEFENSE
      1.  Have software that can detect and even remove the threats you may encounter.
           The first of these is called a "firewall" which often includes "antivirus" software. These work
           together to keep questionable connections made by others from accessing your computer.
           Think of this as only having one door into your Residence and you put a Security Guard at
           that door. If the Security Guard sees something that looks appropriate from the things going
           from and coming back to your computer, it most likely will allow it to pass through your door.
           If it sees something that is unexpected, it "kicks them to the trash can."  One attack simply
           looks for computers on the Internet and attempts to gain access. This is something the Security
           Guard "kicks to the trash can" and you never knew it happened ... it all done automatically.

           Your antivirus, with real-time inspection, looks at messages coming into your computer and
           inspects the information to see if there are "fingerprints" of known viruses or malware that may
           have been added by the "Bad Guys" to impact your computer. A real-time inspection by this
           tool will prevent it from entering your computer automatically.

           Some firewalls will also alert you to websites that have been deemed "risky" ranging anywhere
           from suspected risks to known serious risks. You can be given advanced warning to reconsider
           where you want to go to that website.

           Most commercial firewall packages include antivirus software. One of the largest is McAfee
           which offers protection under their "Total Protection" product for PCs, Macs, smartphones and
           tablets according to McAfee. They will remove viruses or refund your money  which sounds good
           until you compare the price versus the cost of potential damage. You can buy packages like this
           from various stores and on-line providers. Ask people who know these packages if you should
           by the most recent version or buy one from last year. Some packages will automatically update
           any new license for that manufacturer to the current release and continue doing so for the life of
           the license you purchased. This can provide you a strong double-digit percentage savings from
           the "list price" of the product without loss of any benefit.

           Remember that a good firewall and antivirus will consume "resources" on your computer (this is
           processor or CPU power, consumes extra memory, adds potentially to network use). All of these
           will be potentially seen on your computer if you have a low-end or "budget" computer. There are
           trade-offs in life and this is one of them. Trying to work without a firewall and antivirus on the
           Internet is not advised by anyone.

           There are other packages which people have expressed satisfaction with and can be found and
           acquired on the Internet, some being offered in stores. Remember these also will add resource
           demands on your computer but provide added protection and some do not run continiously.

           Ones recommended for consideration include:
             -  SuperAntiSpyware Professional (SuperAntiSpyware.com)
                 The product is easy to purchase, easy to install ($25 annual fee). The value is it look for 
                 "cookies" and other items that are not needed and remove them when you run their product.
                 You can set it to run automatically at a given date and time. You can specify what disk drives
                 you want it to scan. A free limited version of the Professional product is available online at
                 their website listed above.

             -  MalwareBytes
                 


             -  An industry standard
                 Features you want from any solution you select:
                   -  Defend against viruses and online threats
                       (Vendors will not make a stronger statement for legal reasons. Should include scanning
                        of inbound messages and a schedulable scan of disk contents to ensure a "clean PC".)

                   -  Steer clear of danger online with web safety tools
                       (Vendors do not like going into details on this; often is limited to a warning message).

                   -  Remove junk mail before it reaches your inbox
                       (Most e-mail software has this capability but it is after delivery to you ... small difference).

                   -  Look after your kids with parental controls
                       (Good for children of any age).

                   -  Manage passwords.
                       (Not often a problem, some promoting new software tool for this - still too new).

                   -  Protect privacy with secure storage.
                       (Anything that leaves you control can be deemed insecure.)

                 There is one product that has connections with the U.S.S.R. While there is no proven ties
                 between the company officers and the Kremlin, good practices say avoid unnecessary risks.

             -  Stinger       
                 A product from McAfee which can be purchased or use their free version. Stinger is a
                 standalone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for
                 full anti-virus protection, but a specialized tool to assist administrators and users when
                 dealing with infected system. Details on new or enhanced signatures added with each
                 Stinger build are listed in the Readme details.

                 mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/stinger.aspx











    SMALLER SCALE ATTACKS








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