AntiOnline: Maximum Security for a Connected World

Laptops, while a boon for mobile workers, can be a headache for administrators. These portable workhorses, especially those equipped with Wi-Fi cards, typically slip in and out of "foreign" networks exposing them to an untold number of threats.

Despite this, there are many preventative measures you can take to lock down laptops and prevent something nasty from worming its way onto your network. Let's not forget to consider an important physical aspect of security, namely theft prevention.

The easiest way for an attacker to mount an attack on your network may be to simply snatch an unattended laptop.

Even in cases where a laptop doesn't connect to a corporate network, such as home users, taking a few precautions can take the sting out of venturing outside for some on-the-go computing.

Need some advice in virus- and hacker-proofing your portable? See what AntiOnline's experts advise.

Note: The opinions expressed below are solely those of the individual posters on the AntiOnline forums.

This week's spotlight threads:
Security for My Laptop

towboattrash34 seeks some advice on securing a laptop...

I have a laptop with a Sprint Air Card for getting on the net. I'm running Windows XP, running Zone Alarm Pro and Norton Antivirus 2004. Is that enough security?
moxnix suggests the following steps:
Your Zone Alarm and Norton are the minimum that you should have for any connection to the Internet.

You should also turn off any unnecessary services and netbios.

Turn off any and all sharing (including printer functions, unless you are currently using a printer).

Install and run some good anti-spyware/malware programs, and registry monitoring programs (there are some good free ones for all of these).

Using your firewall, block all unused ports, and set the firewall to the highest levels to make your laptop completely stealthed while connected.

Watch everything, i.e. monitor your logs.

Don't download and run programs indiscriminately.

Check all downloads for viruses every time you download anything.

Don't open attachments you get via e-mail, unless you are expecting them.

Now you are approximately 50% safe... Good Luck.

coolfuse wisely reminds us to also consider a laptop's physical security.
Get a security cable for your laptop. A laptop with a firewall is like a locked safe floating on a raft in the sea. Anchor it.
MURACU suggests the following:
Don't forget to have a strong password for your user and administrator accounts.
The account you use to connect to your portable for everyday use should have as few rights as possible.

I would also rename you administrator account and create another account with the name administrator. This should have no user rights and have a strong password. I like to use "?" and "*" in my passwords as this can sometimes confuse script kiddies.

What are your tips for securing a laptop? Share them here.

What is AntiOnline?

AntiOnline (AO) is home to many of the most popular network security discussion forums online. Here, participants engage in candid, thought-provoking and enlightening exchanges on the latest hazards and how to protect your systems against them.

We invite you to join the AO community (it's free!), share your wisdom and learn a few things in the process.