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Comprehensive Security Guide

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malakai1911

Comprehensive Security Guide

 

NOTE: As of 1/1/2019 this guide is out of date. Until parts are rewritten, consider the below for historical reference only.

 

i. Foreword

The primary purpose of this guide is to offer a concise list of best-of-breed software and advice on selected areas of computer security. The secondary purpose of this guide is to offer limited advice on other areas of security. The target audience is an intermediately skilled user of home computers.

 

Computer software listed are the freeware versions when possible or have free versions available. If there are no free versions available for a particular product, it is noted with the "$" symbol.

 

The guide is as well formatted as I could make it, within the confines of a message board post.
 

ii. Table of Contents

i. Foreword

ii. Table of Contents

1. Physical Security

a. Home

b. Computer

c. Personal

2. Network Security

a. Hardware Firewall
b. Software Firewall

3. Hardening Windows

a. Pre-install Hardening

b. Post-install Hardening

c. Alternative Software

d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date

4. Anti-Malware

a. Anti-Virus

b. HIPS / Proactive Defense

c. Malware Removal

5. Information and Data Security

a. Privacy / Anonymity

b. Encryption

c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery

d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens)

6. Conclusion

 

1. Physical Security

I just wanted to touch on a few things in the realm of physical security, and you should investigate physical and personal security in places other than here.

 

a. Home

How would you break in to your own home? Take a close look at your perimeter security and work inwards. Make sure fences or gates aren't easy to climb over or bypass. The areas outside your home should be well lit, and motion sensor lights and walkway lights make nice additions to poorly lit areas. If possible, your home should have a security system featuring hardwired door and window sensors, motion detectors, and audible sirens (indoor and outdoor). Consider integrated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety. Don't overlook monitoring services, so the police or fire department can be automatically called during an emergency.

 

Invest in good locks for your home, I recommend Medeco and Schlage Primus locks highly. Both Medeco and Schlage Primus locks are pick-resistant, bump-proof, and have key control (restricted copying systems). Exterior doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood and each should have locking hardware (locking doorknob or handle), an auxiliary lock (mortise deadbolt) with a reinforced strike plate, and a chain.

 

Consider a fireproof (and waterproof) safe for the storage of important documents and valuables. A small safe can be carried away during a robbery, and simply opened at another location later, so be sure and get a safe you can secure to a physical structure (in-wall, in-floor, or secured to something reasonably considered immovable). You may be able to hide or obscure the location of your safe in order to obtain some additional security, but don't make it cumbersome for yourself to access.

 

b. Computer

Computers are easy to just pick up and take away, so the only goal you should have is to deter crimes of opportunity.

 

For desktop computers, you may bring your desktop somewhere and an attacker may not be interested in the entire computer, but perhaps just an expensive component (video card) or your data (hard drive), and for that I suggest a well-built case with a locking side and locking front panel. There are a variety of case security screws available (I like the ones from Enermax (UC-SST8) as they use a special tool), or you can use screws with less common bits (such as tamper resistant Torx screws) to secure side panels and computer components. There are also cable lock systems available for desktop computers to secure them to another object.

 

For laptop computers, you are going to be primarily concerned about a grab-and-go type robbery. There are a variety of security cables available from Kensington, which lock into the Kensington lock slot found on nearly all laptops, which you can use to secure it to another object (a desk or table, for example). Remember though, even if it's locked to something with a cable, it doesn't make it theft-proof, so keep an eye on your belongings.

 

c. Personal

Always be aware of your surroundings. Use your judgment, if you feel an area or situation is unsafe, avoid it altogether or get away as quickly and safely as possible.

 

Regarding hand to hand combat, consider a self-defense course. Don't screw around with traditional martial arts (Karate, Aikido, Kung-Fu), and stay away from a McDojo. You should consider self-defense techniques like Krav Maga if you are serious about self defense in a real life context.

 

I generally don't advocate carrying a weapon on your person (besides the legal mess that may be involved with use of a weapon, even for self-defense, an attacker could wrestle away a weapon and use it against you). If you choose to carry any type of weapon on your person for self-defense, I advise you to take a training course (if applicable) and to check with and follow the laws within the jurisdiction you decide to possess or carry such weapons.

 

Dealing with the Police

Be sure to read Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police a guide by the ACLU, and apply it. Its advice is for within the jurisdiction of the US but may apply generally elsewhere, consult with a lawyer for legal advice.

 

You should a;so watch the popular video "Don't talk to the police!" by Prof. James Duane of the Regent University Law School for helpful instructions on what to do and say when questioned by the police:
 (Mirror: regent.edu)

 

Travelling Abroad

Be sure and visit the State Department or Travel Office for your home country before embarking on a trip abroad. Read any travel warnings or advisories, and they are a wealth of information for travelers (offering guides, checklists, and travel advice): (USUKCA).

 

2. Network Security

As this is a guide geared towards a home or home office network, the central theme of network security is going to be focused around having a hardware firewall behind your broadband modem, along with a software firewall installed on each client. Since broadband is a 24/7 connection to the internet, you are constantly at risk of attack, making both a hardware and software firewall absolutely essential.

 

a. Hardware Firewall

A hardware firewall (router) is very important. Consider the hardware firewall as your first line of defense. Unfortunately, routers (usually) aren't designed to block outbound attempts from trojans and viruses, which is why it is important to use a hardware firewall in conjunction with a software firewall. Be sure that the firewall you choose features SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection).

 

 

Highly Recommended
I recommend Wireless AC (802.11ac) equipment, as it is robust and widely available. Wireless AC is backwards compatible with the earlier Wireless N (802.11n) G (802.11g) and B (802.11b) standards. 802.11ac supports higher speeds and longer distances than the previous standards, making it highly attractive.

 

I generally recommend wireless networking equipment from Ubiquiti or Asus.

 

Use WPA2/WPA with AES if possible, and a passphrase with a minimum of 12 characters. If you are really paranoid, use a strong random password and remember to change it every so often.

 

Alternatives

A spare PC running SmoothWall or IPCop, with a pair of NIC's and a switch can be used to turn a PC into a fully functional firewall.

 

b. Software Firewall

A software firewall nicely compliments a hardware firewall such as those listed above. In addition to protecting you from inbound intrusion attempts, it also gives you a level of outbound security by acting as a gateway for applications looking to access the internet. Programs you want can access the internet, while ones you don't are blocked.

 

Do not use multiple software firewalls simultaneously.
You can actually make yourself less secure by running two or more software firewall products at once, as they can conflict with one another.

 

Check out Matousec Firewall Challenge for a comparison of leak tests among top firewall vendors. Leaktests are an important way of testing outbound filtering effectiveness.

 

Highly Recommended

Comodo Internet Security

Comodo is an easy to use, free firewall that provides top-notch security. I highly recommend this as a first choice firewall. While it includes Antivirus protection, I advise to install it as firewall-only and use an alternate Antivirus.

 

Alternatives

Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free

A free personal firewall that is very secure. Be sure to check out the Outpost Firewall Forums, to search, and ask questions if you have any problems.

 

Online Armor Personal Firewall makes another great choice for those who refuse to run Comodo or Outpost. Online Armor

 

 

3. Hardening Windows

Windows can be made much more secure by updating its components, and changing security and privacy related settings.

 

a. Pre-install Hardening

Pre-install hardening has its primary focus on integrating the latest available service packs and security patches. Its secondary focus is applying whatever security setting tweaks you can integrate. By integrating patches and tweaks, you will be safer from the first boot.

 

Step 1 - Take an original Windows disc (Windows 7 or later) and copy it to a folder on your hard drive so you can work with the install files.

Step 2 - Slipstream the latest available service pack. Slipstreaming is a term for integrating the latest service pack into your copy of windows.

Step 3 - Integrate the latest available post-service pack updates. This can be done with a utility such as nLite or vLite, and post-service pack updates may be available in an unofficial collection (such as the RyanVM Update Pack for XP).

Step 4 - Use nLite (Windows 2000/XP) or vLite (Windows Vista/7) to customize your install. Remove unwanted components and services, and use the tweaks section of nLite/vLite to apply some security and cosmetic tweaks.

Step 5 - Burn your newly customized CD, and install Windows. Do not connect the computer to a network until you install a software firewall and anti-virus.

 

b. Post-Install Hardening

If you have followed the pre-install hardening section, then your aim will be to tweak settings to further lock down windows. If you hadn't installed from a custom CD, you will need to first update to the latest service pack, then install incremental security patches to become current. After updating, you'll then disable unneeded Windows services, perform some security tweaks, and use software such as xpy to tweak privacy options.

 

Disable Services

Start by disabling unneeded or unnecessary services. By disabling services you will minimize potential security risks, and use fewer resources (which may make your system slightly faster). Some good guides on disabling unnecessary services are available at Smallvoid: Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows Vista.

 

Some commonly disabled services: Alerter, Indexing, Messenger, Remote Registry, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, and Telnet.

 

Security Tweaks

I highly recommend using a strong Local Security Policy template as an easy way to tweak windows security options, followed by the registry.

 

Use my template (security.inf) to easily tweak your install for enhanced security (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7):

1. Save the following attachment: (Download Link Soon!)

2. Extract the files.

3. Apply the Security Policy automatically by running the included "install.bat" file.

4. (Optional) Apply your policy manually using the following command: [ secedit /configure /db secedit.sdb /cfg "C:\<Path To Security.inf>\<template>.inf" ] then refresh your policy using the following the command:[ secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy ] (Windows 2000), [ gpupdate ] (Windows XP/Vista/7)

 

This template will disable automatic ("administrative") windows sharesprevent anonymous log on access to system resourcesdisable (weak) LM Password Hashes and enable NTLMv2disable DCOMharden the Windows TCP/IP Stack, and much more.

 

Unfortunately my template can't do everything, you will still need to disable NetBIOS over TCP (NetBT), enable Data Execution Prevention (AlwaysOn), and perform other manual tweaks that you may use.

 

Privacy Tweaks

xpy (Windows 2000/XP) and vispa (Windows Vista/7)

 

These utilities are great for modifying privacy settings. They supersede XP AntiSpy because they include all of XP Anti-Spy's features and more. You should use them in conjunction with the security tweaks I've listed above.

 

c. Alternative Software

Another simple way of mitigating possible attack vectors is to use software that is engineered with better or open security processes. These products are generally more secure and offer more features then their Microsoft counterparts.

 

Highly Recommended

Google Chrome

(Web Browser)

Mozilla Thunderbird

(Email Client)

OpenOffice.org

(Office Suite)

 

Alternatives

Mozilla Firefox

(Web Browser)

Google Docs (Online)

(Office Suite)

 

Firefox Additions

Mozilla has a Privacy & Security add-on section. There are a variety of add-ons that may appeal to you (such as NoScript). And although these aren't strictly privacy related, I highly recommend the AdBlock Plus add-on, with the EasyList and EasyPrivacy filtersets.

 

d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date

Speaking of keeping up-to-date, do yourself a favor and upgrade to at least Windows XP (for older PC's) and Windows 7 (or later) for newer PC's. 

 

Be sure to keep up-to-date on your service packs, they're a comprehensive collection of security patches and updates, and some may add minor features.

 

Microsoft Windows Service Packs

Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package

Windows XP Service Pack 3 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package

Windows XP x64 Service Pack 2 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package

Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Windows 7 Service Pack 1

 

Microsoft Office Service Packs

Office 2000 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3).

Office XP (2002) Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3).

Office 2003 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3) and Office File Validation add-in.

Office 2007 Service Pack 3 with the Office File Validation add-in.

Office 2010 Service Pack 1

 

After the service pack, you still need to keep up-to-date on incremental security patches.

 

Windows supports Automatic Updates to automatically update itself. However, if you don't like Automatic Updates:

You can use WindowsUpdate to update windows periodically (Must use IE5 or greater, must have BITS service enabled), or you can use MS Technet Security to search for and download patches individually, or you can use Autopatcher, an unofficial updating utility.

 

In addition to security patches, remember to keep virus definitions up-to-date (modern virus scanners support automatic updates so this should not be a problem), and stay current with latest program versions and updates, including your replacement internet browser and mail clients.

 

4. Anti-Malware

There are many dangers lurking on the internet. Trojans, viruses, spyware. If you are a veteran user of the internet, you've probably developed a sixth-sense when it comes to avoiding malware, but I advocate backing up common sense with reliable anti-malware software.

 

a. Anti-Virus

Picking a virus scanner is important, I highly recommend Nod32, but there are good alternatives these days.

Check out AV Comparatives for a comparison of scanning effectiveness and speed among top AV vendors.

 

Highly Recommended

Nod32 Antivirus $

I recommend Nod32 as a non-free Antivirus. Features excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed. Nod32 has a great heuristic engine that is good at spotting unknown threats. Very resource-friendly and historically known for using less memory than other AV's. There is a 30 day free trial available.

 

Alternatives

Avira AntiVir Personal

I recommend Avira as a free Antivirus. Avira is a free AV with excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed.

 

(Kaspersky no longer recommended, due to espionage concerns.)

 

Online-Scanners

Single File Scanning

These scanners can run a single file through a large number of different Antivirus/Antimalware suites in order to improve detection rates. Highly recommended.

 

Whole PC Scanning

ESET Online Scanner

Nod32 Online Antivirus is pretty good, ActiveX though, so IE only. There is a beta version available that works with Firefox and Opera.

 

b. HIPS / Proactive Defense

Host-based intrusion prevention systems

(HIPS) work by disallowing malware from modifying critical parts of the Operating System without permission. Classic (behavioral) HIPS software will prompt the user for interaction before allowing certain system modifications, allowing you stop malware in its tracks, whereas Virtualization-based HIPS works primarily by sandboxing executables. Although HIPS is very effective, the additional setup and prompts are not worth the headache for novice users (which may take to just clicking 'allow' to everything and defeating the purpose altogether). I only recommend HIPS for intermediate or advanced users that require a high level of security.

 

Highly Recommended

I highly recommend firewall-integrated HIPS solutions. Comodo Defense+ is a classic HIPS built into Comodo Internet Security, and provides a very good level of protection. Outpost and Online Armor provide their own HIPS solutions, and the component control features of the firewalls are powerful enough to keep unwanted applications from bypassing or terminating the firewall. If you want to use a different HIPS, you can disable the firewall HIPS module and use an alternative below.

 

Alternatives

Stand-alone HIPS solutions are good for users who either don't like the firewall built-in HIPS (and disable the firewall HIPS), or use a firewall without HIPS features.

 

HIPS based on Behavior (Classic)

ThreatFire

ThreatFire provides a strong, free behavioral HIPS that works well in conjunction with Antivirus and Firewall suites to provide additional protection.

 

HIPS based on Virtualization

DefenseWall HIPS $

DefenseWall is a strong and easy-to-use HIPS solution that uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet.

 

GeSWall Freeware

GeSWall makes a nice free addition to the HIPS category, like DefenseWall it also uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet.

 

Dealing with Suspicious Executables

You can run suspicious executables in a full featured Virtual Machine (such as VMware) or using a standalone sandbox utility (such as Sandboxie) if you are in doubt of what it may do (though, you may argue that you shouldn't be running executables you don't trust anyway).

 

A more advanced approach to examining a suspicious executable is to run it through Anubis, a tool for analyzing the behavior of Windows executables. It displays a useful report with things the executable does (files read, registry modifications performed, etc.), which will give you insight as to how it works.

 

c. Malware Removal

I recommend running all malware removal utilities on-demand (not resident). With a firewall, virus scanner, HIPS, and some common sense, you won't usually get to the point of needing to remove malware... but sometimes things happen, perhaps unavoidably, and you'll need to remove some pretty nasty stuff from a computer.

 

Highly Recommended

Anti-Spyware

Spybot Search & Destroy

Spybot S&D has been around a long time, and is very effective in removing spyware and adware. I personally install and use both Spybot & Ad-Aware, but I believe that Spybot S&D has the current edge in overall detection and usability.

 

Anti-Trojan

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes has a good trojan detector here, and scans fast.

 

Anti-Rootkit

Rootkit Unhooker

RKU is a very advanced rootkit detection utility.

 

Alternatives

Anti-Spyware

Ad-Aware Free Edition

Ad-Aware is a fine alternative to Spybot S&D, its scanning engine is slower but it is both effective and popular.

 

Anti-Trojan

a-squared (a2) Free

a-squared is a highly reputable (and free) trojan scanner.

 

Anti-Rootkit

IceSword (Mirror)

IceSword is one of the most capable and advanced rootkit detectors available.

 

5. Information and Data Security

Data can be reasonably protected using encryption and a strong password, but you will never have complete and absolute anonymity on the internet as long as you have an IP address.

 

a. Privacy / Anonymity

Anonymity is elusive. Some of the following software can help you achieve a more anonymous internet experience, but you also must be vigilant in protecting your own personal information.

 

If you use social networking sites, use privacy settings to restrict public access to your profile, and only 'friend' people you know in real life. Don't use (or make any references to) any of your aliases or anonymous handles on any websites that have any of your personal information (Facebook, Amazon, etc..).

 

You should opt-out from information sharing individually for all banks and financial institutions you do business with using their privacy policy choices. You should opt-out of preapproved credit offers (US), unsolicited commercial mail and email (USUKCA), and put your phone numbers on the "Do Not Call" list (USUKCA).

 

Highly Recommended

Simply install and use Tor with Vidalia to surf the internet anonymously. It's free, only downside is it's not terribly fast, but has fairly good anonymity, so it's a tradeoff. Keep in mind its for anonymity not for security, so make sure sites you put passwords in are SSL encrypted (and have valid SSL certificates), and remember that all end point traffic can be sniffed.

 

You can use the Torbutton extension for Firefox to easily toggle on/off anonymous browsing.

 

POP3/IMAP and P2P software won't work through Tor, so keep that in mind.

 

Portable Anonymous Browsing

The Tor Project now has a "Zero-Install Bundle" which includes Portable Firefox and Tor with Vidalia to surf anonymously from a USB memory stick pretty much anywhere with the internet. It also includes Pidgin with OTR for encrypted IM communications.

 

Note: These won't protect you from Trojans/Keyloggers/Viruses on insecure public terminals. Never type important passwords or login to important accounts on a public computer unless it is absolutely necessary!

 

Alternatives

I2P

functions similar to Tor, allowing you to surf the general internet with anonymity.

 

is a VPN that can be used to anonymize P2P/BitTorrent downloads.

 

is notable, but not for surfing the general internet, it's its own network with its own content.

 

b. Encryption

For most people, encryption may be unnecessary. But if you have a laptop, or any sort of sensitive data (whether it be trade secrets, corporate documents, legal or medical documents) then you can't beat the kind of protection that encryption will offer. There are a variety of options available today, including a lot of software not listed here. A word to the wise, please, please don't fall for snake oil, use well established applications that use time tested (and unbroken) ciphers.

 

Regardless of what software you use, the following "what to pick" charts will apply universally.

 

If you have to pick an encryption cipher:

 

When encrypting large volumes of data, it is important to pick a cipher that has a block size of at least 128-bytes. This affords you protection for up to 2^64x16 bytes (264 exabytes) . 64-bit block ciphers only afford protection of up to 2^32x8 bytes (32 gigabytes) so using it as a full disk or whole disk encryption cipher is not recommended. The depreciated list is only because some of you might be stuck using software that only supports older encryption methods, so I've ordered it from what I feel is best to worst (though all three that are on there are pretty time tested and if properly implemented, quite secure).

 

If you have to pick a hash to use:

 

With all the recent advances in cryptanalysis (specifically with work on hash collisions) These days I wouldn't trust any hash that is less than 160-bits on principle. To be on the safe side, use a 192-bit, 256-bit, or 512-bit hash where available. There will be cases where your only options are insecure hashes, in which case I've ordered the "depreciated" list from best to worst (they are all varying levels of insecure). Many older hashes (MD4, MD2, RIPEMD(original), and others) are totally broken, and are not to be used.

 

A quick software rundown, these applications are popular and trusted:

 

Highly Recommended

Freeware Whole Disk Encryption

TrueCrypt

 

Based upon E4M, TrueCrypt is a full featured disk encryption suite, and can even be run off a USB memory stick. TrueCrypt supports the whole disk encryption of Windows, with pre-boot authentication. Very nice. If you can't use whole-disk encryption (WDE), you can use the TCTEMP add-on to encrypt your swapfile, temp files and print spooler, and you can use the TCGINA add-on to encrypt your windows home directory.

(Note: TCTEMP/TCGINA is less secure than WDE, and only preferable if WDE is not an option. WDE is highly recommended.)
 
Freeware PKI Encryption

GnuPG (GPG)

GnuPG provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, and encryption and decryption of documents and email messages.

 

Freeware Email Encryption

Enigmail

Enigmail is truly a work of art, it integrates with GnuPG and provides seamless support for encryption and decryption of email messages, and can automatically check PGP signed documents for validity. (Enigmail requires both Mozilla Thunderbird and GnuPG)

 

Alternatives

Encryption Suite (with Whole Disk and Email Encryption)

PGP Full Disk Encryption $

PGP provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, encryption and decryption of documents and email messages, volume disk encryption, whole disk encryption, outlook integration, and instant messenger encryption support.

 

c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery

// This section is under construction.

 

Backups

Your data might be safe from prying eyes, but what if you are affected by hardware failure, theft, flood or fire? Regular backups of your important data can help you recover from a disaster. You should consider encryption of your backups for enhanced security.

 

Local Backup

Cobian Backup

Cobian Backup is a fully-featured freeware backup utility.

 

SyncBack FreewareMacrium Reflect Free

SyncBack Freeware and Macrium Reflect Free are feature-limited freeware backup utilities.

 

Off-site Backup

SkyDrive (25GB, filesize limited to 100MB)box.net (5GB)

SkyDrive and box.net offer free online storage, useful for easy offsite backups. Be sure to utilize encrypted containers for any sensitive documents.

 

Data Destruction

It would be better to have your data residing in an encrypted partition, but sometimes that may not be possible. When sanitizing a hard drive, I recommend using a quality Block Erase tool like DBAN followed by a run-through with ATA Secure Erase if you really want a drive squeaky clean. Block erasing is good for data you can normally reach, but ATA secure erase can hit areas of the drive block erasers can't.

 

As for multiple overwrite passes, there is no proof that data overwritten even one time can be recovered by professional data recovery corporations. For moderate security, a single pseudorandom block-erase pass (random-write) followed by an ATA Secure Erase pass (zero-write) is sufficient to thwart any attempts at data recovery. For a high level of security, a "DoD Short (3 pass)" block-erase pass followed by an ATA Enhanced Secure Erase will ensure no recovery is possible.

 

Single-File/Free Space Erase
If you are interested in just erasing single files or wiping free space, you can use the Eraser utility.

 

Block Erase

For hard drive block-erasure, use DBAN.

 

ATA Secure Erase
For ATA Secure Erasing, use the CMRR Secure Erase Utility.

 

CMRR Secure Erase Protocols (.pdf)

http://cmrr.ucsd.edu...seProtocols.pdf

 

NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitation (.pdf) -

 

 

File Recovery Software

This is kind of the opposite of data destruction. Keep in mind no software utility can recover properly overwritten data, so if it's overwritten there is no recovery.

 

Highly Recommended

Recuva

Recuva is an easy to use GUI-based recovery utility.

 

Alternatives

TestDisk and PhotoRec

These tools are powerful command-line recovery utilities. TestDisk can recover partitions, and PhotoRec is for general file recovery.

 

Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional $

EasyRecovery is one of the best paid utilites for file recovery.

 

d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens)

// This section is under construction.

 

Secure Passwords

//Section under construction.

 

Your security is only as strong as its weakest password. There are a few basic rules to follow when creating a strong password.

 

Length
- Passwords should be at least 12 characters long. When possible, use a password of 12 or more characters, or a "passphrase". If you are limited to using less than 12 characters, you should try and make your password as long as allowable.

 

Complexity

- Passwords should have an element of complexity, a combination of upper and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols will make your passwords much harder to guess, and harder to bruteforce.

 

Uniqueness
- Passwords should avoid containing common dictionary words, names, birthdays, or any identification related to you (social security, drivers license, or phone numbers for example).

 

Secret

- If you have a password of the utmost importance, do not write it down. Do not type them in plain view of another person or share them with anyone. Avoid use of the same password in multiple places.

 

Security Tokens

Security Tokens are cryptographic devices that allow for two-factor authentication.

 

Google Titan

Yubikey 5 Series

 

6. Conclusion

And here we are at the end! I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my guide, it's a few (slow) years in the making and I've kept it up to date.

 

This guide is always changing, so check back from time to time.

 

Revision 1.10.020

Copyright © 2004-2012 Malakai1911, All Rights Reserved

The information contained within this guide is intended solely for the general information of the reader and is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty expressed or implied. Any use of this material is at your own risk, its authors are not liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages of any kind. This guide is subject to change without notice.

Windows_Security_Template__1.10.015_.zip

Edited by malakai1911
condensed, added note

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malakai1911

Reserved for future use.

See above message for content.

You may all know this guide from Zeropaid (my guide started nearly 5 years ago on ZP and has been evolving since!) and I've decided to cross-post it to nsanedown, because I love nsanedown.

Edited by malakai1911

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shought

Nice guide, I read it over(skipped some bits), but overall I agree with your opinion. However I'd recommend having a look at Trojan Remover, just like Spybot S&D(in the good old days) saved my ass quite a few times Trojan Remover did the same for me some time ago :D

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Rock Lee

Nice guide. I added a few similar things to the new edition of my guide (will be here soon).

You put it together really well I must say that. I'd suggest different software in a couple areas

as shought mentioned but overall its good :)

Thumbs up malakai1911,

► Rock Lee

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KotaXor

Nice! good work. good recommendation too!

Maybe you should add Malwarebytes.

Edited by kotaxor

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Donaldo

:) Great effort & a nice compilation.

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Nessjirval

Great job, nice guide

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malakai1911

Thank you all for your comments so far, as a result I've decided to merge anti-trojan, spyware removal, and rootkit detection into one section (Malware Removal) and added a new utility (Malwarebytes Anti-malware).

I've begun reviewing some popular HIPS software and the HIPS section will be on its way next (I used SSM awhile back, but hadn't tested others, but as this category of software is becoming more mature it is about time proactive defense gets its own section). I think after HIPS is finished and I knock off the last things on my 'Future' list, it should be just about perfect :).

Thank you all.

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malakai1911

Also, has anyone noticed the extra unnecessary spacing between lines? What is up with that.

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Noddy

Lovely tutorial !!!!

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shought
Also, has anyone noticed the extra unnecessary spacing between lines? What is up with that.

I can fix it, if you'd like, it's probably because you used HTML, am I right?

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malakai1911

Edited by malakai1911

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shought

Oh, you're pointing at that, well that won't change I guess. It's to make reading a little easier on the eyez ;)

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AshTheGamer

Great job man! A fantastic guide for the community!

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malakai1911

I've updated and reorganized the guide a little.

I was considering adding a small section to the Appendix on creating strong passwords, and maybe elaborate some in the Anonymity section on not revealing personal information online... anyone think I should bother?

Edited by malakai1911

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shought

Maybe, but the people who need secure passwords have them, and the people who don't don't deserve them :blink:

Nah, just kidding :rolleyes:

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Toshiro

Nicely done.. Glad you merged Malwarebytes' with it.

Compliments!

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malakai1911

I added sections and reordered them...

I moved "Hardening Windows" from 5th to 3rd section, because I think it fits more logically there.

I moved "Privacy" from 3rd to 5th, renamed it to "Information and Data Security" and added sections on erasing/recovery/backup and access control (being written now).

And I added things here and there.

...so I ask you...is the guide more, less, or equally confusing to navigate through compared to before?

Edited by malakai1911

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Bizarre™

I think you should make a PDF out of this... it's good already ;)

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demonon

A few suggestions.

You might want to add a few more free VPN's

UltraVPN and itshidden are very good for general surfing. They are a bit slow, but superior compared to TOR.

Also, LUA + SRP are one of the best ways for a advanced user to secure their windows OS.

If not, the best.

Edited by demonon

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Aeracier

just discovered this Security bible

really good and many thanx

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malakai1911
A few suggestions.

You might want to add a few more free VPN's

UltraVPN and itshidden are very good for general surfing. They are a bit slow, but superior compared to TOR.

Also, LUA + SRP are one of the best ways for a advanced user to secure their windows OS.

If not, the best.

I'll look into UltraVPN as I had not heard of it.

itshidden was already in consideration for my latest draft, as I saw them on TF about 'anonymizing torrents', but until I find out more about the company I am not going to include them. (Port 80 Limited, but not).

LUA + SRP is not a panacea.

"Software Restrictions Policies provide a much lower assurance than I previously assumed. They can be easily bypassed by users, even with the lowest privilege level.

The bypass can be performed directly from x86 code (for example by exploiting a running process and executing shellcode in it) or from scripting languages which offer access to the Win32 API (such as the MS Office macros)."

- http://hype-free.blogspot.com/2008/10/limi...estriction.html

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demonon

Check this out: mechbgon

Of course no software is perfect, but test out 0day exploits yourself, allot of them are stopped by LUA+SRP combination or SRP alone.

Also, allot of malware writers don't think about bypassing SRP. It's also security through obscurity.

Also these post has some good arguments:

Interesting stuff! Shame that I found this blogpost only so long after it was made...

About these bypassing techniques, though...

The runas method is obviously very easy to prevent by blocking runas.exe in the policy by hash & path.

The method of using Office macros to load a DLL or directly edit the Excel process is also easy to prevent by setting macro security to high.

How about the other methods, though?

Alternative bypass 1, or in-process patching of the SRP check routine? How would one perform in-process patching? Wouldn't you first have to execute code through scripting like Office macros, for example, which is easy to prevent, or by exploiting a bug that allows you to run arbitrary code?

How would one be able to use Alternative bypass 2 or NTCreateProcess to bypass SRP? Wouldn't that require that you could first execute some code and then use that code to NTCreateProcess what you wanted? And wouldn't the initial code execution be preventable, either by SRP or by script language security settings such as the Office macro security settings?

Point is, aren't these methods of attacking SRP rather extremely limited, in that they are mostly preventable?

Edited by demonon

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