February 23, 2019

10 Cheap and Free Ways to Protect Your Mobile Workers Without Driving Them Buggy - page 2

A Feast of Software Security Applications

  • March 6, 2009
  • By Paul Rubens

6. Chain up your laptop

Most laptops have a security cable socket (known as a Kensington slot) which allows you to physically attach your laptop to a desk or table. While this may not be necessary most of the time, using a security cable is a sensible precaution at conferences or other busy environments where you may be distracted and unable to keep watch over your laptop all of the time.

7. Encrypt your e-mails

If you can't use a VPN then you should avoid using standard e-mail applications to connect to POP3 and SMTP servers that don't use encryption. If you do then your user names and passwords could easily be intercepted, making all your email from that moment on insecure. (This is not the case if your email servers accept SSL or TLS connection, however.) If your data is confidential it still makes sense to encrypt the contents using software such as the open source GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) and the FireGPG Firefox extension. We recently covered GnuPG-based e-mail security, if you'd like more information.

8. Keep your backup data secure

Keeping backup copies of important data and passwords separate from your laptop is always a sensible precaution in case your laptop is lost or stolen while traveling. To keep them secure ensure they are stored in encrypted form, ideally on a USB drive.

You can store files on an encrypted partition on a standard USB stick using the free TrueCrypt, as long as you can remember a long and secure password to protect it. For even more security you can secure files and passwords on a special USB stick like the IronKey The IronKey includes a feature which causes the device to self-destruct if the wrong password is entered ten times in a row, effectively preventing brute-force attacks which involve trying millions of different password possibilities until the correct one is found, and therefore making shorter, more memorable passwords more secure.

9. Practice safe computing

A laptop connected to the Internet outside the corporate network is not usually protected from malware to the same extent that it is when inside the corporate firewall protected by network security appliances. For that reason it is especially important to avoid opening attachments or clicking on links in emails from unknown senders, or visiting untrusted web sites. Doing any of these things risks infecting the laptop with malware.

Laptop users also often carry their computers around in bags which are very obviously laptop cases, advertising to thieves that they have a valuable piece of equipment. It makes much more sense to carry your laptop in a plain bag or briefcase which is a much less tempting target to criminals.

10. Password protect.

If you are not using your laptop, it's best to shut it down completely. That way anyone who gets their hands on the machine will be unable to get past the security provided by BitLocker or TrueCrypt. However, protecting the machine from coming out of screen saver mode without a password provides some (weak) security against an opportunist who may get access to your laptop for a short period while your attention is diverted.

Article courtesy of Enterprise Networking Planet

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