Adare Enterprises Inc.
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Adare Enterprises Inc.
151 Lincoln Hts. Road,
Ottawa,Ontario
K2B 8A5
Tel: 613-596-1312
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Detailed Computer Security Info

Providing Service, Confidence and Commitment to your door for over 15 years!

 

Because the whole field of Computer Security is so complex, we can do a full scale Security Audit for larger enterprises, and provide a detailed report defining the steps necessary to properly secure an organization's computer systems and network. For individuals and small companies, a more direct approach is all that is required, here we will outline the things you can do. Did you know that a firewall and anti-virus are simply just NOT enough?!

PHYSICAL SECURITY. First, we would like to show you an important item for Computer Security.....

Confused?...here, let's explain by getting to the " nuts & bolts" of it:

If a thief breaks into your home or office, one of the first things they will go after is your computer. It takes about 5 seconds to disconnect and remove it. A simple precaution to frustrate a potential burglar is to bolt it to a desk or shelf, which is quite easy to do. Often, there are already holes in the base of the computer, and all you need to do is take the cover off, and drill matching holes in the desk or shelf, through which of course you pass the bolts. We can also do this for you if you are uncomfortable (like many are) in doing so yourself.


ANTI-THEFT
Another wonderful
Anti-Theft item is Anti-Theft Recovery Software (not to be confused with Data Recovery). This ingenuous piece of software once installed is undetected by the average person. Yet protects your computer in many different ways. It literally send out a "distress" call letting law inforcement track it and recover it. And as a dual protection it prevents your hard drive (even if removed from your computer) from being reformatted, protecting your data from erasure. This is an absolutely amazing product and we recommend it to everyone who owns a computer,laptop or Palm Pilot. For both Macs and Pcs, Palm Pilot and Network Deployment we can provide you with one of the greatest anit-theft devices for a one time(no monitoring or renewal fees!) fee. What's  your computer and it's information worth  to you?  Contact our office today or order via the various banner links throughout our website to order your very own copy of the pre-eminent computer tracking and theft recovery software in the world!
 

Apart from burglars, many other things can happen to cause damage to your computer hardware, and/or your data. Some can be called "acts of god"- others are caused by human acts of commission or omission.

During the summer months, we are often affected by thunder-storms. Lightning has a propensity for striking power-lines, and when it does can send large voltage spikes long distances through the power grid. Should your computer get hit with one of these spikes, it could cause damage ranging from some data loss to complete destruction of the computer.

In winter, we also get some power problems. Generally they are less severe, except in extraordinary cases like the ice-storm of January 1998. Heating systems in commercial buildings or apartment buildings draw large amounts of power when they start up, which cause momentary sags in the local power. Your computer may freeze or hang, with the possibility of some data loss. In summer, air conditioning systems cause similar momentary power sags.

The best solution for power problems is an UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY (UPS for short) - not to be confused with surge suppressors, which are only a partial and imperfect solution. A UPS maintains steady power to your computer through brown-outs, over-voltage situations, and complete power outages, so no matter what happens to incoming power, your computer continues to run smoothly. Many different sizes and types of UPS are available, which can keep your computer running anywhere from just a few minutes following a power outage, up to many hours.

Another problem can be STATIC ELECTRICITY, mainly in winter time. If you get static shocks when you first touch your computer, there is a danger of losing data, and in some cases of damaging the computer electronics. Remember, the electronic components of the computer are operating with power at 3 volts or less, and the static shocks you feel can be thousands of volts, so the stress on those components can be very great indeed.

When a computer is subjected to static, the effects may be immediate, such as a freeze-up or crash, or may be more long term and insidious, such as damage to the memory chips, which may not immediately manifest itself, but cause future problems.

The solutions for static problems are proper grounding of the system, proper power outlets and things such as anti-static mats under the computer, keyboard, and your office chair. Your type of clothing has an effect, as some materials such as silk and some artificial fibres produce a lot of "static electricity". Most commercial carpets contain a high percentage of artificial fibres, which produce static. Try to keep the room humidity at 50% or higher to reduce static problems, or use a product such as "Static Guard".

The Hard Disk on which your data and programs are stored, is generally very reliable - but hard disks do eventually wear out, or sometimes just fail instantly for no apparent reason.

Everyone who has a computer has data they don't want to lose. By having a backup system, any data loss caused by the aforementioned problems can be remedied. Backups can be performed using elementary things like floppy disks, though it would take an enormous number (not to mention the time required) to fully back up a 20 or 30 Gb hard drive. A much better solution is a Tape Backup, which can back up an entire hard drive, which makes restoration much simpler than having to individually install each application and data. By having scheduled backups, i.e. scheduled by your computer, much of the hassle of remembering if or when you last backed up is eliminated. For instance, at Adare Enterprises our Tape Backup is scheduled to run at 10:00 p.m. each evening; we just need to remember to change the tape once a week.</P>


                                   Anti-Virus Products

VIRUSES are a real threat to your data, and sometimes your sanity !

Originally, a virus was a piece of rogue computer code, which was inserted into an unused portion of a file. To-day we also have what are called WORMS and Trojan Horses, which are also a kind of virus. Other variants are Boot Sector Viruses and Macro Word Viruses

In the Microsoft file system, originally designed for DOS and carried over into Windows 95, 98 and even Windows 2000, each file must contain at least 1024 bytes or a multiple of 1024. So if the file is shorter, there could be up to 1023 bytes wasted, a great place to hide a virus, and a clever programmer can do a lot of mischief with 1023 bytes!

Note that viruses are not Computer Viruses or Internet Viruses per se. They are in fact almost all Microsoft Viruses. That is not to say that they are written by Bill Gates and Co., but that viruses are generally aimed at computers running Microsoft operating systems. A virus written for a Microsoft operating system will do nothing on a Linux, Unix or a Macintosh operating system for a variety of reasons, which time does not permit me to discuss now.

If your computer starts behaving erratically, could be that it has gotten infected by one of the thousands of viruses that are out there. A good ANTIVIRUS program is a must to-day, and there are quite a few to choose from, such as McAfee and Norton. Trial versions of these and other anti-virus programs are available on the Internet for download. These ANTIVIRUS programs scan the files on your computer to see if viruses have been placed in the spare bytes area. They can also inoculate your files by padding them to fill any spare space, so there is no longer room for a virus. They also check for known Worms and Trojan Horses.

If you already have an anti-virus program, have you updated it recently ? New viruses appear every day, though you are more likely to be infected by older ones, simply because they have had more time to propagate. That is not to say that with the internet a new virus cannot propagate rapidly and widely, as we saw recently with the Blaster virus and its clones. It is also important that anti-virus programs be configured properly, to ensure maximum protection and minimum performance loss.

If you have the slightest suspicion that your computer may have a virus, put it to bed and call us ASAP! Continuing to use it may cause total loss of data.

Another variation on the virus theme is that of the VIRUS HOAX. Generally, this will be an email, which will say something like "this morning Microsoft issued a press release regarding the 'Wild Willy' virus. This is an extremely virulent virus which can completely destroy your computer. Please forward this email to everyone in your address book, and let's stop this virus". This has the effect of clogging the Internet with totally useless spam email.

FIREWALLS. Many people leave their computer on all the time. Did you know that whenever you are connected to the Internet your computer can be accessed by hackers, and valuable data stolen or corrupted? We have heard of the Pentagon, NASA, and more recently Microsoft being hacked into, despite high levels of security. Also, if the computer is part of a local network, it may be possible for a hacker to access all machines on that network from outside, thus spreading the threat. If you have a high speed connection, then you are vulnerable all the time your computer is on. The solution for this threat is to install a piece of software called a FIREWALL, which blocks electronic intruders. At Adare Enterprises, we typically find that 5 or 6 times a day, an attempt is made by someone unknown trying to access our system. Some of these accesses are quite innocuous, but on other occasions it has been as severe as someone trying to take total control of the system, but our firewall blocks them all.

If you think that you have nothing of value to anyone on your computer - think again. Does your credit card no. appear anywhere in a file on your computer? How about your SIN number on a tax return?

More elaborate Firewalls use a separate piece of hardware, between the internet and the users computer or network. And, in large organizations, firewalls are used to block certain users within the organization, from accessing portions of a network, such as accounting and financial systems.

INTRUSION DETECTION - Here are some stats you might want to ponder for a moment before reading further:
It takes 90 Seconds for an intrusion to occur.
85% of these intrusion go undetected.
70% of them come internally.
Do these numbers alarm you? They should.
Your firewall is your "perimeter protection" if you were to compare it to a home security system. Intrusion detection is like the motion detector in your home, the last bit of defense, you want that last bit of info knowing that they're there and stopping them from doing damage. Especially if the threat is coming internally. Intrusion Detection takes the "detect, alert, prevent" approach to safeguard your networks, providing realtime, non-intrusive detection and automatic prevention.
"Intrusions today can bring our eBusiness operations to a halt as well as steal corporate data from us. We need realtime intervention in addition to our virus protection."-Computer Associates
Notification of all types of malicious content such as Java, ActiveX and viruses. Automatic attack signature updates along with predefined policies allows you to keep a step ahead of would-be attackers.

Encryption. Important files and data can be protected by various levels of encryption, which can be used either when accessing the internet, or also whenever files are saved on a hard disk. For instance, when you use internet banking services, the information is very heavily encrypted, which is one reason these services seem relatively slow.

When was your computer last checked ? You go for regular medical and dental checks, and take your car in for regular maintenance also. Many people plug their computer in, and run it for years, without thinking that perhaps it needs some attention once in a while. By having preventive maintenance done periodically, your computer can be kept in optimum running condition. Frequently, dust builds up inside the computer, clogging fans and reducing cooling. Fans sometimes fail, and the user does not know until a component burns out. Hard drives, floppy drives and CD-ROM drives need to be checked for proper functioning; printers need periodic interior cleaning and lubrication.


BACKUP - BACKUP - BACKUP ! Regardless of whatever may happen to your computer, or its data, the greatest "sin of omission" is the failure to BACKUP. A good backup is priceless, whether your hard drive crashes, or is hit by a virus, or the machine is lost to fire, theft or vandalism.

There are many ways of backing up critical data. Common ways in use to-day are USB Flash Drives, external hard drives, and CD or DVD media, but they all suffer from one potentially fatal flaw - they require some operator intervention to insert or connect the backup media. Another backup method becoming increasingly popular is Online Backup which does not have this problem - you just set it and forget it!
ANY backup is better than NONE. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of being too busy - this of course is when disaster (or Murphy) will strike. I have had this happen to me, and it is not a pleasant feeling to see months of work suddenly disappear!

Online Backup


Updated March 9, 2010
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