Security Tools & Resources
The Internet it is a great resource, but it also carries some security
risks. Good e-security policies and practices help preserve the confidentiality,
integrity and availability of data as well as protecting your services.
Please be aware that some external security tools and software may have associated fees and charges. Should you require further assistance with any of our Security Tools please contact us on 13 TELCO (8352).
These following top ten tips, provided by the ACMA, will help you to
protect and secure your equipment and services.
- Use a firewall
A firewall is your computer network's first line of defence against
intruders. Firewalls can block all traffic between your network and
the internet that is not explicitly allowed. Firewall software is
built into operating systems and can also be purchased as special
purpose hardware. Basic firewall settings to help get you started
are available from your vendor or the internet.
- Keep up to date with security patches
Most operating systems are supported by automatic updates ('security
patches') that fix vulnerabilities found in important software components.
You should either use the 'automatic update' option, or subscribe
to a security-related mailing list and install these patches when
- Protect yourself against viruses
Viruses and other malicious software, such as worms and trojan horse
viruses, can alter or erase data on your computers and allow spammers
and other intruders to use your computer and network. They may also
replicate and spread to others. If you run an email server, you can
install anti-virus software at the server to filter out email viruses
before they reach users. Each individual computer should also have
up-to-date anti-virus software. Viruses and worms spread fast, so
your anti-virus software must be updated regularly.
- Use passwords that are difficult to guess
Passwords are surprisingly easy to guess. Read these tips from Stay
Smart Online on creating and remembering strong passwords: http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/
- Check and alter default settings
After installing software, check the configuration and setting options – you
may find the software has extra features you don't need or want.
Turning off unnecessary services is a good security precaution.
- Back up your software
Back up your data regularly and verify your backups from time to time.
- Monitor your servers
Your servers can be compromised without your knowledge. Monitoring
your servers can alert you to intrusions as they occur, as well as
allowing you to check the servers are working properly. Turn on the
'logging' function as a first step. Ask your vendor or an expert
about the best way to monitor your network.
- Join security-related mailing lists
The Stay Smart Online Alert Service is a free subscription providing
the latest information on computer network threats and vulnerabilities
as well as solutions in simple, non-technical language. Visit the
Stay Smart Online website to join the alert service: www.staysmartonline.gov.au/alerts
- Secure your mail server: close open relays
Mail servers are very attractive targets for hackers and spammers because
they exchange data between external users and internal users. 'Relaying'
is a feature in mail servers that allows the server to forward mail
from one external domain to another. If you run an 'open relay',
spammers will quickly find your computer and use it to send spam,
which may result in your server being blacklisted – which will
stop you from being able to send legitimate emails.
- Secure your web server: close open proxies
Web servers are large, complex, and highly configurable - that is,
they can be fine-tuned to suit your needs. As such, they are often
targeted by hackers and spammers. Make sure you know what you are
doing if you are setting up such a server. If in doubt consult an
expert, the two most popular web servers are Apache and Microsoft
Internet Information Server (IIS). The default installations of both
servers are often adjusted to improve security.
Modern web servers can also run as 'proxy servers', a feature which
allows users to forward web requests through your servers. If you run
an 'open proxy', allowing open access to your proxy, spammers will quickly
find your server and misuse your generosity, which could harm your reputation
and result in your business being placed on spam blacklists. You should
- seek expertise - talk to friends or hire a technical consultant
who can provide help through training, setup, ongoing administration
- Outsource - ISPs and other service providers offer IT solutions
that include security management.
These security steps are critical to ensure your protection against
attacks. By setting up your network properly and using reliable security
policies and procedures, you can feel confident that your computers,
network and phones are as safe as possible.
SOURCE: ACMA http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_310318