Internet privacy for the small or home office environment
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Internet Privacy for the Small or Home Office Environment © Roland Grefer and Jill R. Sommer The Basics Anti-virus software A personal firewall Recommended: - Anti-spyware software - Update regularly Networking basics Regular (wired) networking

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The basics l.jpg
The Basics

  • Anti-virus software

  • A personal firewall

  • Recommended:- Anti-spyware software- Update regularly

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Networking basics

  • Regular (wired) networking

  • Wireless networking (WLAN – wireless local access network)

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Wireless networking tips

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of communication, it is important to follow some basic advice:

  • Do not use the older technology called 802.11b with a maximum bandwidth of 11 Mbit/s (mega bits per second)

  • Use newer technology called 802.11g and configure it to only allow connections encrypted via wireless protected access (WPA).

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Wireless networking tips

  • Do not allow 802.11b connections or WEP connections.

  • Change your wireless network’s default system identifier (SID)

  • Change the default administrator password for your network device

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Electronic mail

  • When you use electronic mail, it is just like someone is looking over your shoulder.

  • Any e-mail message you send or receive can be intercepted along the way and read – even changed – by anyone from your Internet service provider to the police.

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Fighting spam

  • If you receive spam messages, DO NOT answer them.

  • When you respond to an e-mail you are merely announcing that your e-mail address is valid and it can be sold to even more advertisers.

  • Install a spam filter (software) on your computer, then configure your Internet service provider’s (ISP) junk filters to allow everything through

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Fighting spam

  • Do not take advantage of your ISP’s automatic spam filters that delete e-mail before it arrives at your mailbox.

  • Disable graphics in your e-mail program. Spam can contain so called web bugs, tiny graphics sized 1x1 pixel, as well as normal sized graphics which alert the sender that the spam recipient actually exists and was not just an arbitrarily generated new or outdated old address.

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Fighting spam

  • Configure your personal firewall software to allow your e-mail program to only communicate on the ports for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3 - 110/tcp), and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP - 143/tcp).

  • If you want to communicate privately, install software that allows you to "encrypt" or scramble your e-mail messages so no one can read them except you and the person to whom you are writing.

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E-mail tools

  • Pretty Good Privacy - "signed" e-mail

  • Anonymous re-mailers

  • Recipient controls

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Surfing the Net

  • Cookies

  • Spyware, adware, and malware

  • The benefits of having a Web-based e-mail address

  • Be careful and remain vigilant at all times

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Surfing the Net

  • Reject third party cookies.

  • Be cautious about the information you provide to Web sites, because they may use the information for marketing purposes.

  • Reduce the amount of personal information that you provide to Web sites.

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Surfing the Net

  • Find out if your bank offers one-time credit card numbers

  • Before you buy anything or make a financial transaction online, read the Web site's privacy policy.

  • Check opt-out boxes wherever possible.

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Chat, Discussion, and Newsgroups

  • Remember that anything you write could be used against you. Think before you write.

  • Participants may be who they say they are; however, they could be misrepresenting themselves as well.

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Chat, Discussion, and Newsgroups

  • Participate in chat or discussion groups under a fake name or using a web-based e-mail address (please note that you should use your real name in professional discussion groups such as the ATA listservs).

  • Be discreet. As a general rule, assume that your online communications are not private unless they are encrypted.

  • Some groups that store your old messages allow you to delete them for good.

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We recommend

  • Reading Internet Privacy for Dummies by John Levine, Ray Everett-Church, Gregg Stebben, and David Lawrence

  • Anti-virus products such as Norton AntiVirus (, McAfee AntiVirus (, Kaspersky AntiViral Toolkit Pro (AVP) (

  • For small offices: corporate license of F-Prot (

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We recommend

  • A firewall such as Norton Personal Firewall ( and Zone Alarm (

  • SpyBot Search & Destroy (, Ad-aware (, SpyBlocker (, Guidescope (, SpyChecker ( or Pest Patrol (which is an add-on to Zone Alarm)

  • Carefully research the spyware detector/blocker beforehand!

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We recommend

  • Encryption tools like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) ( or one of the free PGP versions ( or or GNU Privacy Guard (

  • Several good privacy awareness sites include a privacy analysis web site (, ShieldsUp! (, and Privacy Bird (

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We recommend

  • Not allowing your children to use your work computer

  • Keeping animals off the keyboards and away from the computer

  • Purchasing an uninterruptible power source (UPS) for your computer(s) to avoid losing valuable work due to a power outage or a brownout.

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SANS Institute’s free newsletters (

  • SANS NewsBites: General information security news (published weekly)

  • SANS PrivacyBits: Privacy-related news (published weekly)

  • SANS @RISK: Up-to-date vulnerability information (published weekly)

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If you think you do not need to worry about Internet privacy, do a quick search for your name (and its various forms) on Google. We think you will be surprised what you find. Just to play things safe, you might also want to search for your social security number, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers online.