100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Locking Down Your PC
Posted by Staff Writers on June 14, 2009
The web can be a tricky and dangerous place to navigate, especially if you’re unprepared. However, you can better protect yourself by taking necessary steps to make your computer more secure. Here, we’ll discuss 100 tips, tools, and resources that can help you build a more secure PC.
Follow these tips, and your PC will be well on its way to locked down.
- Use a password: Although they may be easily bypassed, be sure to at least use a password for your PC.
- Disable boot devices: Someone with physical access to your computer and a freely available custom boot CD can access your PC without even opening Windows.
- Use an alternative browser: Ditch Internet Explorer for Firefox or Opera, or at least tighten IE’s security settings.
- Eliminate your data: Don’t keep supersensitive information on your PC or laptop-put it on a CD or file server, but take it off of your hard drive.
- Disable file sharing: Limit your file exposure by disabling file sharing on your hard drives.
- Protect your administrator account with a password: Make sure to always protect your administrator account.
- Use a non-obvious laptop bag: Avoid using a bag that advertises that you’re carrying a laptop.
- Change your password often: Keep your password fresh by changing it often.
- Back up your files: Save your data with backup systems and utilities.
- Use a strong email client: Make use of an email client that offers your PC a level of security.
- Use biometrics: Use a biometric device like a fingerprint reader.
- Use a screen guard: Keep your information private with a screen protector that hides your screen from snoops.
- Scan email attachments: Before opening email attachments, be sure to run them through a scanner first.
- Use email filters: Set up filters in your email to make sure that only safe email reaches your inbox.
- Password protect your BIOS: Prevent others from changing your BIOS settings by setting up an administrator password.
- Don’t fall for hoaxes: Be careful of bogus alerts, emails, and more.
- Never leave your laptop in the car: A laptop turns your car into a sitting duck, and extreme heat can damage it anyway.
- Use Linux or Mac OS X: Although Windows, Linux, and Mac all offer about the same security, Windows is more frequently targeted.
- Use a variety of different passwords: Make sure you’re not using the same password for all of your sites and programs.
- Use a rescue disk: Just in case, make sure you have a book or rescue disk to bring things back to normal.
- Use an antivirus software: Use antivirus software and keep it up to date for good protection.
- Use an asset tag: With a highly visible tag, your laptop is deterred from thieves and can be identified easily.
- Scan executable files: Make sure you scan executable files before opening them.
- Secure your network: Make sure you’re not keeping your network open-set it up with a password.
- Test for flaws: Even if you think you’re locked down, you may still have some holes, so use a security scanner to make absolutely sure.
- Use a strong password: Avoid dictionary words, names, and dates, and use numbers, special characters, and uppercase/lowercase letters.
- Scan disks before opening them: If you receive a CD or floppy disk, be sure to scan them before opening.
- Watch out for your SSID: Tell your wireless access router to avoid broadcasting its SSID, and change your SSID from the default.
- Physically lock your laptop: Help prevent your laptop from walking away by using a cable lock, but know that it won’t keep all thieves away.
- Password-protect Outlook: Make sure you put a password on your inbox, as well as your Outlook identities.
- Log off: When you step away from your computer, be sure to log off of your identity.
- Use a firewall: If you connect to the internet, you need to be using a firewall to be protected from network attacks and rogue programs.
- Install tracking software: With tracking software, you can be alerted whenever your stolen laptop gets connected to the internet.
- Watch out for spyware: Keep the snoops at bay by regularly scanning for spyware and adware.
- Automatically update important software: Minimize application security flaws by always staying up to date on updates and patches.
- Encrypt your files: Make it hard for your files and information to be stolen by encrypting them.
With the help of these tools, you can get your PC more secure.
- Spybot: With the help of Spybot, you can keep spyware and other nasties at bay.
- Ad-aware: Keep your computer safe from adware by periodically using LavaSoft’s Ad-Aware.
- PC Security: Lock down your system with explorer control, file and folder locks, program locks, intruder detection, and more.
- OSSIM: In OSSIM, you’ll find a number of different open source security tools.
- Asset Labels: Mark your property and protect it with an asset label or security tag.
- Perfect Passwords: Here you’ll get an ultra high security password generator.
- Firewall Test: Make sure you’re not open to attack by testing the quality of your firewall.
- Lockdown: This tool will monitor your computer and sound an alarm if someone tries to access your system.
- RoboForm: RoboForm is a password manager that will help you keep your passwords in check.
- ProShield: Use ProShield, and you’ll have your system scanned for malware and up to date software.
- Antispam: Antispam offers an easy way to fight spam.
- Trust-No-Exe: Set up a whitelist and blacklist of trusted and non-trusted executable files for your PC with this tool.
- Untangle: Through Untangle, you’ll get spam, virus, and spyware protection, plus a firewall and web filtering.
- Hardened Linux: With this Linux distribution, you’ll get excellent security.
- Simpliciti Locked Browser: If you need to restrict employees, children, or others from visiting non-secure sites, try Simpliciti Locked Browser.
- Snort: Snort offers effective intrusion detection.
- Lockdown Plus PC: Lockdown Plus PC offers a network based desktop security solution for public access computers.
- eBox Platform: This network management framework will help you filter content, use a firewall, proxy, and more.
- Network Security Toolkit: In this toolkit, you’ll get a number of different open source apps for security.
- TrueCrypt: Get strong encryption for free with TrueCrypt.
- Metasploit: With Metasploit, you can test out your system like a hacker might.
- Anonymous Surfing & Privacy Check: Use this test to find out how anonymous your surfing is.
- Kismet: With Kismet, you’ll get wireless network detection and packet sniffing. sudo: sudo allows you to selectively control which programs are allowed to run on your PC.
- Spam Assassin: This spam tool will keep your email safe from spam.
- EXE Lockdown: Use EXE Lockdown to protect yourself against the installation of unauthorized applications.
- AWStats: With AWStats, you can monitor attacks on your server.
- Spamato: Spamato will help keep spam out of your popular email client.
- Bastille Linux: Use this tool to get a custom lockdown solution for your PC.
- Honeytrap: Honeytrap offers advanced warning about attacks.
- Thunderbird: Thunderbird offers lots of tools for keeping spam and viruses out of your inbox.
Blogs & Books
Get ongoing updates about security threats and solutions from these blogs.
- IT Security: Check out this site to learn all about securing your PC and more.
- BlogInfoSec: Here you’ll find an information security magazine in blog format.
- Schneier on Security: This blog covers security and security technology.
- Security Now!: This audio podcast features weekly security information from Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte.
- Security Fix: Brian Krebs discusses computer and Internet security.
- TaoSecurity: Richard Bejtlich’s blog covers digital security, forensics, and more.
- Windows Lockdown!: Your XP And Vista Guide Against Hacks, Attacks, and Other Internet Mayhem: Here you’ll find an absolute beginner’s guide to keeping your Windows PC locked down.
- No Tricks: Dr. Luke O’Connor’s blog offers information on risk, security, and IT technology.
- My PC Security Blog: Follow this blog to get a new computer security tip every day.
- The Ethical Hacker Network: Learn about security from ethical hackers in this network.
- Netgear ProSecure Security Blog: Check out this blog to find out about the latest malware, viruses, and more.
- Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge: Read Dancho Danchev’s blog to find independent open source intelligence for security threats.
- elamb: elamb’s security blog offers up to date information on threats to your PC.
- Network Security Blog: Here you’ll find news about security and privacy.
- McAfee Avert Labs Blog: Learn about cutting edge security research as it happens through McAfee’s blog.
These guides will teach you various ways to protect your PC.
- Home Computer Security: This guide from CERT has a wealth of useful information.
- Lock Down Your PC: PC World offers this guide with 29 steps to good PC security.
- Ten Password Commandments: Follow these commandments to make sure your passwords are protecting you as much as possible.
- 5 Steps to Secure Windows XP Home Edition: Use these 5 steps, and you’ll get a more secure home computer.
- Lock Down Your Laptop: Learn about products and tips for PC security in this guide.
- 10 Easy Ways to Lock Down Your Computer: Learn about user passwords, authentication, anonymous access, and more.
- Advice to Linux Users: Lock Down Your PC: Find out how to lock down your Linux PC with these tips.
- Five simple PC security tips: Here you’ll find a simple guide to PC security.
- The Ten Commandments of PC Security: Follow these rules to avoid viruses, worms, and more.
- The Twenty Minute Guide to PC Security: 20 Tips to Secure Your Box: Get a simple tutorial in PC security from this guide.
- Cyber-Security: Tips for Safe Computing: Follow these instructions to help reduce the threat of running into security problems online.
- How to lock down the computer via a shortcut: Follow this guide and you’ll learn how to create a computer lockdown shortcut.
- FAQ: Locking Down Your Computer: This guide from the University of Utah offers practical advice for PC security.
- Computer Security 101: Get the basics of computer security through this guide.
- Lock Down Your PC!: This guide offers practical tips for making your computer more secure.
- Lockdown Your Laptop: Follow this guide to learn how to keep your laptop safer.
- Lock Down the Data on Your Portable Drives: Follow this guide, and you’ll find out how to get your laptop, portable disks, and more supersecure.
- Lock Down Your PC: Here you’ll find answers to your network and internet security questions.