Challenges of Internet Security

The primary challenges of Internet security have everything to do with balancing accessibility and functionality with the three pillars of information security: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

The Internet has become an in disposable tool for research, commerce, art, education and virtually every part of modern life. It was the inquisitive, intelligent, intuitive and creative nature of humanity that created the Internet and its those same qualities that put individual systems linked directly to the Internet in peril. The three pillars of information security are at stake for all systems with connectivity to the Internet. The challenge is in the implementation of the necessary security controls to achieve those three pillars.

Confidentiality:

Confidentiality pertains to protecting sensitive information. Sensitive information can be anything from private user information to classified defense data. Many organization live and die by the protection of proprietary information from competitors. During wartime, the armed services literally LIVE or DIE based on how well certain sensitive information is guarded. In the US Department of Defense is called Operational Security. Since the Internet is a critical part of the DoD (and defense organizations around the world) the confidentiality is a HUGE challenge for their Information systems exposed to the Internet. Some of the threats to there systems include: social engineering, leaks of information and accidental release of sensitive data. All of these threats can be enabled via the Internet.

Organizations must educate their user who have access to sensitive information. I’ve heard some security professionals say that educating users is bad.

But if your users have access to sensitive information (and need to have that access to do their jobs) it is imperative that they not only know WHAT is sensitive, but WHO it can be give to, WHEN it can be shared, HOW it can be share and WHY it can be shared.


Integrity:

Data integrity is very important to all systems passing data on the Internet. Integrity has to do with whether or not the message on the other end of your connection is the same one you actually sent. Whether its your passwords being passed to your bank or the DoD passing data over the Internet, the integrity of the data is imperative. Its often taken for granted until, we are sending an email and the receiver says they got the email but the message can’t be read. Sometimes if the messages integrity is garbled or malformed it simply won’t reach its destination. If the integrity of a message can not be protected in some way or verified and checked, it is possible for someone to intercept your message, alter it, and send it on its way. Integrity is especially critical in banking and financial transactions which is why encryption and authentication take on such an important role for sensitive transactions such as ATM withdrawals, and online banking.

The challenge to maintaining Internet integrity is to ensure that link is encrypted when necessary.


Availability:

If there is no availability there is no mission, no business, no functionality. One of the major challenges of Internet security has been Denial of Services attacks. A Denial of Service attack is when your system on the Internet (or within a network) is flooded with useless traffic such that no one else (not even you) can use it. With a misconfiguration, a denial of service can happen by accident. Its important to test the availability of an online system. Its also a good practice to see what kind of availability and access you are giving. After all, too much availability can compromise the security of your system.

Most challenges of Internet security can tie into one or more of the big three: confidentiality, confidentiality or availability. With those in mind most challenges can be overcome. But the double edged sword of security.. the very nature of it on the Internet is to constantly change and evolve with the Internet. The constant change of threats to those three aspects of security is perhaps the biggest over arching challenge.

Which Is Faster Wireless Router Or Wired Internet

Wireless Routers vs Wired Router
fig. 1, which is faster wireless router or wired internet

Overview: Routers, switches and hubs (1) (a.ka Internetworking devices) give you access to the Internet (2) via some sort of ISP device (broadband modem, DSL ect) (3). The speed onto the actual Internet depends on the service you have purchased with your local ISP (4). They are the gatekeepers (AT&T, Comcast, Verison, Local ISP ect). This usually creates a bit of a bottleneck because your local area network (LAN) is much faster than your connection to the actual Internet. You actual connection to the Internet is controlled by your ISP. Wired LANs will allow you to get from 100-1000Mb/second, Wireless will get from from 10-250Mb (depending on how far from the wireless router you are and what type you get).

ISPs allow you to go anywhere from 56Kbs – 12Mbs:

Dial-up: 56Kbs – (4 minutes to download 1.7MB file)

DSL: up to 6Mbs – (2 seconds to download 1.7MB file)

Cable: up to 12Mbs – (1 second to download 1.7MB file)

*the math: 1.7 Mega Bytes is 13,600,000 bits (per second) of data divided by n, where n is your speed (i.e. 56K = 56,000 bits per second)
**There is a technology called WiMax Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (802.16e) coming out that will allow wireless to go directly in your home from the ISP at 70Mb/second and that will beat every currently on the market.

If you have a home LAN (more than one computer in your home linked together connected to the Internet), your network is passing data at about 100Mb/second – which is really fast for even really large files. But this is where the Wireless vs. Wired Internet comes in. Don’t confuse your internal network speed with your connection to the Internet (see overview).

Should you go with a wireless or a wired router?
Any wireless router you get will have both options available, so you are better off getting a wireless. The cost isn’t usually that different unless you want a high end wireless which will usually be between $20-$50 more.

Which Switch is Faster, wireless or wired?
It really depends on what kind you get. However, the fastest wired router will beat the pants off of the fastest wireless. Wired routers go up to 100-1000Mb. Of course, I high end wireless can have everything a high end router has (including those super 1000Mb speeds).

SUPER HIGH END HOME ROUTER

FCC Commissioner: US playing “Russian roulette with broadband and Internet”

 Micheal Copp of the FCC Commissioner made a great point at the YearlyKos convention

Most American probably think that everything is fine with American broadband, but the truth is we are WAY behind.  And its is due to big business’ strangle hold on the growth and proserity of our access to the Internet.  There seems to be a “price collusion” between Verison, AT&T, Comcast and other major broadband/telecos in which they keep the prices at a certain level and block out smaller competition. 

I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, but I think they’ve gotten so powerful that they are able to sway federal, state and local government policy in their favor by sending their lobbyists with million dollar warchest.

“In a speech at the YearlyKos convention, [Micheal] Copps spoke like a man with a fire in his guts. He’s proud of America but “worried” by the path that it has gone down with respect to broadband Internet and media consolidation, which he sees as ideas joined at the hip.

In both cases, “a small number of corporate gatekeepers” now control the public’s access to information, an arrangement that threatens to “invert the democratic genius of the Internet.” When the Internet first exploded onto the scene, people hailed it as a revolutionary communications tool that would allow for the creation of a truly democratic media in which anyone with a message could get the word out to others. Now, Copps notes that most connections to the Internet are controlled by massive corporations who seem eager to prevent any neutrality safeguards from being placed on the networks they manage.”

How to get Malware/Virus/Trojans on your Home Windows computer:

1) Use Window 9x/2000/XP out of the box DO NOT bother to reconfigure it
  

Don't create any login accounts with strong passwords
Do all work from the adminstrator account (Windows does this out automatically  so   don't do anything)
Do not bother with patches no matter how critical (Windows will prompt you to update, just ignore it)
Don't disable the guest account
Don't change the name of default administrator account
Enable as many network protocols as you can

 

2) Use Internet Explorer

If you want your system to get infected with all kinds of malware DO NOT use Firefox or anytype of pop up blockers
When you use IE, don't increase the security under: Tools | Internet Options | Security tab, just leave it as is
Ensure all Java and ASP scripting languages are enabled, allowing other computers to load software on your computer remotely
Never patch Internet Explorer

3) Connect directly to the Internet

Do not use any kind of firewall 
Do not use Network Adress Translation (which will hide your IP adress)
Do not load SP2 for Window XP
  

4) Surf the deadliest sites with no protection

Surf Serial/Crack/Warez sites and always completely trust their sites
Porn sites with no protection
Screen Saver sites
“hacker sites”  not all hackers sites just “black hats” and script kiddie type sites
Find dark IRCs
  

5) Behavior that will help you get your system infected.

Download Screen Savers from site you are not sure about
Open emails from people you don't know
If you get a Security Warning that says “Do you want to download XXXXPROCUT NAMEXXX..” Don't even bother reading the rest just click yes.
  

6) Software that is more than likely infected

Tools bars that automatically download without your permission
Kazaa and some other free P2P tools

 

List of Tools for faster Infection:

Internet Explorer  (Firefox can affectively block malware)
Broadband/DSL (use of a firewall using Network Adress Translation will hide you system)
Windows 9.x/2k/XP (open source OSes such as Linux are less likely to be hacked)

 

"Windows has detected spyware infection!"

Want to know how to get rid of the “Windows has detected spyware infection!

 

“Your computer is infected! [tag]Windows has detected spyware infection[/tag]!
It is recommended to use special antispyware tools to prevent data loss Windows
will now download the most up to date antispyware for you.
Click here to protect your computer from [tag]spyware[/tag]!”

Here is how to delete that annoying “computer is infected” message.

If your seeing this message your system really is infected with some [tag]malware[/tag] (virus, trojan, spyware) and that message you see is a part of the malware. This type of malware typically is trying to get you to purchase a product to clean your system. When you click on the link they provide, it takes you to the very source of the malware on your system. It is supposed to look like some of the Window system messages you can get about updates. DON’T fall for it.

DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION!

This page will give your more information on what it is and how to get rid of it.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a full-featured SSL VPN solution which can accomodate a wide range of configurations, including remote access, site-to-site VPNs, WiFi security, and enterprise-scale remote access solutions with load balancing, failover, and fine-grained access-controls.

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Security Issues May Be a High Priority for Internet 2

Security is one of the main focuses on Internet2. But realistically:

Security and transparency can be
expected in any future network. But computer experts like to remind the
public that there is no such thing as a completely bug free computer
except, as the joke goes, “one that is encased in concrete and sitting
at the bottom of the ocean.”

Some might say it is impossible to secure Internet2.  In some ways
I would say that they were correct.  Or let me put it this way, it
could be secured but I couldn't really be called the Internet any
more.  I guess if they did something like in which all systems
were connect with Peer to Peer VPN connections like Tor connections in
which all data is encrypted and digitally signed.  I suspect that
eventually even the encryption would get cracked  since all crypto
eventually meets its processor match.

It could be called the CryptoNet!  Anyone logging on would have to
sign on with a digital signature stored on some sort of Certifing
Authority (CA).  Of course, this would make it possible to do
MITM, man in the middle, attacks unless it was an enclave network in
which ALL nodes with IPs had to have a digital signature.

Such an implementation would greatly reduce the speed of connection but
would give incredible nonrepudiation, confidentiality, and
integrity.  The availability would suffer big time.

Frankly, a “CryptoNet” would only be good for all the important
transactions such as banks, hospitals and time sheets.  I would
not want something like that for 95% of what I do on the Internet.

Does anybody have any information on how I can get the hook up on “testing” the Internet2?

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5 Simple ways to keep your computer secure and virus free

These simple tips will help you stay virus and spyware free, even if you're connected to the internet 24 hours a day.

1. Protect yourself

Good protection on the Internet these days consists of 3 components: anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall.

Good virus protection doesn't need to cost you a fortune. You can get excellent free anti-virus software at http://www.grisoft.com. Even the professional version of their software is very affordable.

For spyware protection, go to http://www.lavasoft.de and download Ad-Aware SE Personal, also free. This will zap the most common spyware and adware found on the Internet.

As for a firewall, Windows XP ships with a decent enough firewall. Just make sure it is always enabled. Alternatively you can visit a site like http://www.download.com and search for Zone Alarm, which has an excellent free version.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep your anti-virus software up to date. An anti-virus program that uses definitions that are months old is just about useless.

Update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software at least once a week.

2. Stop opening every attachment you receive.

Most of the devastating worms and viruses of recent times were distributed via email. These viruses feed on the curiosity and also the ignorance of a huge number of email users. People will get an email from fakename@weirdsuspiciousdomain and they'll just open whatever file is attached to it.

If you don't know the sender, don't open the attachment – just delete it. It doesn't matter if the subject promises you'll see Britney Spears dancing nude on the kitchen table, just delete it.

If the email is from someone you know, always scan any attachments first before downloading or opening them.

If every email user in the world followed these simple guidelines the distribution of viruses via email will grind to a halt.

3. Stay clear of pornographic and illegal software sites

*I know, I know… Why on earth go on the Internet if you can't have your porn and download it too?!  There are safe Porn sites but we will not address those in this blog… sorry.. Fark has some pretty good links to decent smutt.*

If you want to pick up viruses and spyware quickly, visit some pornographic web sites. One wrong click on a subtle little pop-up or security warning window (which you'll run into often on these type of sites) and you'll have infested yourself with trojan horses, spyware, dialers and other unfavorable software that could leave your computer wide open to further attacks.

The same goes for web sites distributing software, serial codes and cracks illegally (warez).

Simply put – keep out of the dark side of the web and the odds of keeping your computer clean shifts decidedly in your favor.

4. Watch out what you download

Spyware is embedded in a lot of software on the Internet – especially those related to ripping, converting and playing music and videos. That free MP3 player or DVD Ripper you just downloaded may have installed a bunch of harmful spyware without you even knowing about it.

5. Keep yourself informed

Major anti-virus software developers like Symantec and Grisoft updates their sites regularly with the latest virus alerts. Visit these sites frequently to keep yourself aware of what threats are doing the rounds and how to avoid them.

Using these simple and software I have kept my computer virus-free for the past 3 years. It's not rocket science. Just stay alert, use some common sense and you too can stay bug free while still enjoying your Internet experience.

 

Tips on Broadband Security –>

http://elamb.blogharbor.com/blog/BroadbandInternetSecurity

Get rid of Trojans Smithfraud/HWclock.exe

Network Vulnerability tool: AutoScan is a utility for network exploration

AutoScan is a utility for network exploration.

I used AutoScan on my home network and found out that my Router has Linux on it.  For my customer's enclave I used Autoscan to quickly locate vulnerabilities.

Although the network is small the scan was usefull since it has given me a good idea what affect AutoScan will have on my customers larger newtork with more valuable assets and a potentially larger number of risks.

AutoScan did not alter my customers work as it instantly picked up workstations, internetworking devices and printers.  The built in nmap scripts adds a very nice touch. 

If you're a mobile White Hat on the go like me, autoscan within the WHAX live CD is a great security tool to add to your “batbelt.”

The objective of the program is to post the list of all equipment connected to the network. A list of ports preset is scanned for each equipment. You can find many more vulnerability tools with tags at Technorati & Del.icio.us:
http://del.icio.us/tag/vulnerability+assessment

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Firewall Resources

Firewalls 101: How stuff works DOT com.  Great for establishing a foundation for understanding the firewall.

Firewall FAQ great for newbies and rusty IT Security test takers from the undisputed champions on Infosyssec who continue to hack the hackers.

Exhaustive Firewall Links from CERIAS.

Another great article by Cisco.  White Paper on Cisco's PIX firewall and Stateful  Firewall Security.

ISAserver.org: The No.1 unofficial ISA Server 2000
& 2004 resource site – This feed offers news, articles, tutorials
and reviews for ISA administrators. —> ISA SERVER/FIREWALL FEED

Dr. Tom Shinder's ISA Server Firewall Blog.  Not updated very often, but good info on ISA firewalls

Other Resources:
Home PC Firewall Guide.  Comprensive site about  configuring  firewalls. 

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