Secure Use of Internet “Safe Hex” - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Secure Use of Internet “Safe Hex”

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  1. Secure Use of Internet“Safe Hex” Presentation by Vlad Olchanski, PhD VCU Department of Internal Medicine at the Virginia Heart Institute February 17, 2006 (804) 828-5384

  2. Computers & Communications Computers started as something highly professional and for use of professionals Now computers are a major means of communications and information retrieval The number of users of Internet is ONE BILLION

  3. Supercomputer World Domination a nightmare of 1950-1960s – fortunately unimplemented!

  4. Actual Distributed Network All computers are equaleven pigs are equally equal ;-)

  5. Evolution of Connectivity • Local Area Network • BITNET • Internet professional users • Prodigy • AOL • Compuserv • MSN • etc. general public Internet Commercialization wild users

  6. Dangers • Regular Virusescrash OS, delete files, slow down • Worms, Trojanswait for event (time, command), steal address book, open backdoor, same as viruses • Spying – info from computer, your interests • Phishing – conning you to disclose your info

  7. Specific Dangers Attachments Javascript, etc. ActiveX Cookies Javascript Bogus programs Direct intrusion Email Websites Open ports Running services Remote access Connection to network

  8. Cure: Hygiene! • Dr. Wenzel, Chair of MCV Internal Medicine emphasizes the importance of Dr. Semmelweiss’ SHOCKING (?!) discovery of more than 100 ago:PHYSICIANS MUST WASH HANDS! “One of the behavioral issues that plague hospitals and especially the infection control team is how to improve handwashing compliance, how to achieve a plateau above the usual threshold of 40% observed in modern ICUs. This is not a new story.” – read his latest book! Same with COMPUTERS!

  9. Workstation Security Windows Setup & Update Firewall Antivirus Antispy Protection Web Browsers Email Programs Pop-up BlockersSpam Filtering

  10. Windows Setup & Update

  11. Windows Setup Start Settings Control PanelFolder Options View Microsoft Office files DOC, XLS, PPT are also executables and may be infected! Make file extensions visible so that you may easily detect executable files EXE, SCR, BAT, VBS, etc. that may be infected:

  12. Windows Setup: Security Center Control Panel -> Security Center Windows Update -> Automatic Firewall -> On or Firewall of your choice Virus Protection -> On or Antivirus of your . choice

  13. Windows Update • Windows has many security holes. Practically every week a new one is discovered. Microsoft releases security patches. • Windows Update should be run automatically and check should be done manually at least weekly. • It is recommended to update your XP installation to Service Pack 2 (SP2) • Windows Update function -> START button and shows there in the upper part of the menu.

  14. Firewall outside world your computer intrusion attempt legit application legit communication open ports maliciousoutgoing attempt intrusion attempt worm

  15. Windows Firewall • Win-XP/SP2 has basic firewall for intrusion protection. • Free firewall ZoneAlarm additionally prevents the viruses that may reside on your computer from sending offensive packets outside of your computer. ZoneAlarm also protects against viruses in email attachments. • Instructions on ZoneAlarm installation • If you install ZoneAlarm, you MUST turn off Windows Firewall in Win-XP/SP2 Security Center in Control Panel.

  16. Virus Protection • Symantec (Norton) Antivirus • MacAfee Antivirus • F-Prot (made in Iceland) – most lite-weight • AVG – free, not bad • Kaspersky – most thorough • Sophos – both antivirus and antispy Do not forget to update virus signatures weekly, do not trust automatic update! Do not run several real-time virus protectors in the same time.

  17. Spyware - 1 Websites or email messages may plant on your computer spyware -- programs that are watching and reporting what you are doing on your computer, what websites you visit, what files you have on computer, what music you play. They even may highjack your commands to the web browser and display for you websites you never intended to visit. This all compromises the confidentiality of information on your computer and slows down its operation.

  18. Spyware -2 • Turn off spying features built in Win-XP. Use XP-Antispy program, select “Windows update” profile. • Set Safe Settings for Windows XP Services:

  19. Spyware - 3 Install one or more spyware scanners that operate similar to the virus scanners. - Adaware SE Personal download free from - SpyBot Search and Destroy free from

  20. Spyware - 4 • These 2 programs are recommended to be installed on your computer. • Microsoft Windows Defender may be run to automatically self-update and in real time check for attempts to plant spies on your computer. Spy Bot S&D is not recommended for real time protection. • Please be careful in using antispy programs. They may give false positive results marking some of your useful applications as spyware. In such cases uncheck the programs you are sure are not planted spies and do not delete them. • You will be amazed how many spies you will find on your computer after the first scan! Their number will be between a hundred and several thousand. • Please do not forget to update and run antispy scans at least once in a week!

  21. Spyware - 5 • Avoid pseudo-freebies commercial programs:media players (Real, QuickTime, MS Windows Media Player, etc.), weather bars, search bars, instant messengers (AIM, MSN, ICQ)USE INSTEAD: • Truly free and versatile Media Player Classic • Miranda instant messenger (ICQ, AIM, MSN, and more) • Weather and search extensions to Firefox browser • Completely uninstall Windows Messenger service

  22. Web Browsers

  23. Web Browsers • Internet Explorer – obsolete and deprecated • Firefox – the tool of choice • Mozilla – father of Firefox • Netscape – granddad of Firefox • Opera – the best but a bit Nordically strict, not to say Teutonic (made in Norway).

  24. Internet Explorer • Won in unfair fight with old Netscape, became eventually monopolist • Has many security holes • Is the target of BAD GUYS • Not recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). • Uses ActiveX that plants viruses on computer • Switching to Firefox browser is like starting free walking after a year in wheelchair

  25. Firefox Browser • Provides for Tabbed Browsing loading pages in background (wheel-click or CTRL-click) • Has “extensions” to restore last session, to restore closed pages, to manage tabs, acceleration, scrapbook, pop-up blocker, unwanted picture removal, weather forecast and more… • Cookies control and Password management • Has Internet Explorer in a tab window with one click for dealing with badly designed websites • Secure!

  26. Pop-up Blockers • Special applications exist • Firefox does a good job, particularly with Adblock extensions • Internet Explorer has a basic blocker • Firefox removes selected pictures_____________________________________ • It is not desirable to have several different pop-up blockers in different applications because this may lead to breaking navigation and display of some websites

  27. Email Programs

  28. Using Email - 1 You read and send email with Email Client There are so many different Email Client programs -- make your own choice BUT some of Email Clients and some of Email USERS go outside of Internet Standards - incompatibility of messages - errors in transmission and reception

  29. Using Email - 2 POP server delivers all messages to your computer --good when you are on a fast connection IMAP server delivers only message headers and messages on demand -- good when you are on a dial-upYet you will not have all messages on your computer Thunderbird, Eudora, TheBat! support multiple email accounts Webmail allows to use email with your browser --good when you are on the go For non professional use: Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. --but it is not a true email

  30. Email Programs: Outlook • The use of Outlook and Outlook Express is discouraged although by now Microsoft plugged many of the security holes in them. • These email programs are the targets of virus and malware mongers, which may lead to big problems in your computer. • If you still intend to use this program, please check regularly that its capability to execute malicious code in messages is still turned off -- it has a tendency to occasionally turn itself on. • Thunderbird Email Program easily imports all Outlooks settings and archived messages

  31. Email Programs: Thunderbird • Modern program for email much similar to old Netscape 4 • Powerful message filtering in specified topic folders • Has an inbuilt self-learning spam filter that is very efficient and excludes the need of an external spam blocker • May operate several different email accounts • Turn off writing in HTML in option settings! • Thunderbird easily imports settings and messages from major email programs

  32. Email Programs: LotusNotes • Turn off the capability to execute malicious code that may be included in email messages. • Change the default for calling browser when clicking on the link embedded in a message. This default needs to be replaced with the installed default browser -- Firefox or Opera. Calling Internet Explorer is dangerous!

  33. Using Email - 9 Basic Rules of Nice Conduct 1. Never consider email as confidential 2. Email should best be a simple message 3. Do not send messages formatted with HTML -- not all email clients can deal with them in the same way, opening HTML message confirms a hit for spammers (impossible in AOL email program ) 4. Avoid sending binary attachments these may come corrupted and can carry viruses How to avoid binary attachments in Email, see 5. Do not open “strange” messages

  34. Internet’s Most Intimate Secret Like Wine Dichotomy in Russia - Vodka, Moonshine, Brandy are considered White wine - all the rest are Red wines

  35. Internet’s Most Intimate Secret Data Dichotomy in Internet - Text files: Plain English text: A-Z, a-z, 0-9 - Binary files: all the rest

  36. Internet’s Most Intimate Secret The Revelation Only text files can go through Internet Binary files will come corrupted To send a binary, it must be converted to a text file (encoded) and on the receiving end the encoded file must be decoded. In Email, binary files go as attachments. Different email programs treat attachments differently, which may lead to confusion and errors

  37. Professional Communicationsmedical and confidential • Communications with patients should be authenticated to avoid forgeries and trolling • Cryptographic signature/certificate • Watch for SECURE CONNECTION “lock” icon in the browser when submitting confidential data! • Beware of the bogus phishing websites!

  38. Phishing in Email O Bad guys try to obtain info on your financial data and other confidentials O Banks and real traders never ask you about such with emails – NEVER. O Bad guys create fake websites looking like real ones, say Amazon and steal your data. O Always check if your data will be sent to the right destination by analyzing the links!

  39. Security: Communications Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson 80% adventures and fiction, 5% pearls

  40. Recommendations - 1 • Avoid mainstream programs like Microsoft’s, AOL’s, etc. – use existing alternatives • Use Firefox for web browser • Use Thunderbird for email • Update Windows and verify that update completed – weekly • Never connect to Internet without running virus protection

  41. Recommendations - 2 • Install a firewall – ZoneAlarm • Turn off Windows spying features and unneeded services • Make file extensions visible • Install, update and run weekly several Antispy programs – Adaware, Spybot, MSAntispy • Use anti-spam filters in email • Do not open strange email messages – trash them

  42. Recommendations - 3 • Do not emulate spammers: do not write messages formatted in HTML • Avoid sending binary attachments.Never send EXE and ZIP files • Never open attachments in unsolicited emails • Be cautious opening attachments even from your known partners. They may be infected

  43. Recommendations - 4 • Install extensions in Firefox browser to expand its functionality • Before clicking on any link, verify where this link actually leads you • Set up your browser to delete cookies when you close browser • Set up your email program not to execute javascript embedded in messages • Beware of phishing

  44. Secure Use of Internet“Safe Hex” Presentation by Vlad Olchanski, PhD VCU Department of Internal Medicine at the Virginia Heart Institute February 17, 2006 (804) 828-5384