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Secure Configuration of Windows XP Desktops

Ezine

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4 USE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
It may seem obvious, but antivirus software is absolutely critical to a computer's security, and it must be kept up-to-date. Also check to see whether your antivirus application provides comprehensive protection against spyware and other malware. Many antivirus applications claim to protect against spyware but guard only against a handful of the more common varieties.

If a machine is a member of a domain, it's best to run different antivirus brands on the workstations and network servers. When new viruses are discovered, antivirus companies eventually develop detection signatures, but it's impossible to know which one will first, or how long it will take. By using different brands of antivirus at different layers of the network, an organization increases the odds new malware will be caught. If one antivirus product doesn't have a signature, the other might.

5 ENABLE THE WINDOWS FIREWALL
This might seem like another obvious step in securing a computer, but it is extremely important to either enable the Windows Firewall or install a third-party personal firewall. A network's perimeter firewall protects against malicious traffic coming in from the outside world, but not against attacks from within the network perimeter. With insiders often at the root of

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network breaches, it's tremendously important to use a firewall on each PC.

To manually enable the Windows Firewall, open the Control Panel and click on the Security Center link. Next, click on the Windows Firewall link. When the Windows Firewall properties sheet appears, click the On button (see Step 4, below), and then click OK.

  1. turn on the Windows Firewall
    While a network firewall defends an enterprise from outside attacks, it can't protect a computer from attacks coming from within the network perimeter. Enabling the Windows Firewall is critical.


This was first published in July 2008

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