Covering all Bases – Securing Windows XP to a reasonable degree
This article aims to help you make sure you know how to secure your Windows XP system to a reasonable degree. What I mean by that is basically no Operating System can be secured fully, unless the network cable is unplugged. Even then, there is local access issues to worry about.
Securing your system from internet dangers
FIRST AND FORMOST common-sense is paramount to security. I cannot stress this enough! Keep in mind:
Watch what email attachments you open. Do not trust any Microsoft Windows Updates delivered by email - they only offer this service if you have signed up for it.
Don't browse to "dodgy" websites using Internet Explorer. Use Firefox, Opera etc.. if you are visiting cracking or porn websites.
Use an antivirus program. Good free ones include Avast, AVG and AntiVir. Use a backup scanner via the web too, such as Housecall from TrendMicro or Panda ActiveScan. KEEP IT UPDATED.
Use a personal firewall to monitor outgoing and incominng connections. I do not recommend the Windows XP Security Centre Firewall, as the outgoing support is limited to a program wanting server status. Good free ones include Kerio (2.1.5), ZoneAlarm and Sygate Personal Firewall.
Use a NAT router with SPI (stateful packet inspection). This adds a layer of defense to your network, or even just a standalone PC. Only forward the ports you explicitly need. Good NAT router makers include Netgear, Linksys and Buffalo. Cisco are the best, yet are overkill (IMO) for home-use. I use Cisco PIX as I run a business.
If you have enough RAM installed, I highly recommend AntiTrojan programs, such as TrojanHunter, BOClean and a2. BOClean is my favourite, as I know the author's personally (biased), but having said that they have been in the game the longest. They also interact with the community alot.
Update Windows through WindowsUpdate at least once a week. Install all critical patches.
Backup your data using Acronis TrueImage, Norton Ghost, or programs like that. Backing up is vital, and you will regret not doing it one day.
Use Anti-Spyware programs. Microsoft Antispyware, AdAware and Spybot are all free. MSAS includes realtime protection for free. Very commendable IMO.
Don't download programs Willy-Nilly from every website on the internet. Whatever you do download, scan it with your AntiVirus.
Disable Netbios File and Printer sharing, unless you need it or are behind a NAT firewall.
More to come... for now some links to all I have talked about...
- Avast AntiVirus
- AVG AntiVirus
- Kerio Personal Firewall
- Sygate Personal Firewall
- ZoneAlarm Firewall
- a2 AntiMalware
- Linksys Routers
- Netgear Routers
- Windows Update
- Spybot Search & Destroy
- Acronis TrueImage
- Secure XP