Full text of “Computer Security” NIST Special Publication 800-46

NIST Special Publication 800-46
National Institute of
Standards and Technology
Technology Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Security for Telecommuting
and Broadband
Recommendations of the National Institute
of Standards and Technology
D. Richard Kuhn, Miles C. Tracy, and Sheila E. Frankel
* <&oo- y&
nist special Publication soo-46 Security for Telecommuting and
Broadband Communications
Recommendations of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology
D. Richard Kuhn, Miles C. Tracy, and Sheila E. Frankel
Computer Security Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930
August 2002
U.S. Department of Commerce
Donald L. Evans, Secretary
Technology Administration
Phillip J. Bond, Under Secretary for Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director
Reports on Computer Systems Technology
The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) promotes the U.S. economy and public welfare by providing
technical leadership for the Nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure. ITL
develops tests, test methods, reference data, proof of concept implementations, and
technical analysis to advance the development and productive use of information
technology. ITL’s responsibilities include the development of technical, physical,
administrative, and management standards and guidelines for the cost-effective
security and privacy of sensitive unclassified information in Federal computer
systems. This Special Publication 800-series reports on ITL’s research, guidance, and
outreach efforts in computer security and its collaborative activities with industry,
government, and academic organizations.
National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-46
NatL Inst. Stand. Technol. Spec. P ubl. 800-4 6, xx pages (Mon. 2002)
Certain commercial entities, equipment, or materials may be identified in this document in
order to describe an experimental procedure or concept adequately. Such identification is
not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of
Standards and Technology, nor is it intended to imply that the entities, materials, or
equipment are necessarily the best available for the purpose.
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov — Phone: (202)512-1800 — Fax:(202)512-2250
Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001
Note to Readers
This document is a publication of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is not
subject to U.S. copyright D.R. Kuhn and S.E. Frankel are employees of NIST; M. Tracy is an
employee of Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH). Certain commercial products are described in this
document as examples only. Inclusion or exclusion of any product does not imply endorsement or non-
endorsement by NIST or any agency of the U.S. Government. Inclusion of a product name does not
imply that the product is the best or only product suitable for the specified purpose. Portions of this
document were used with permission from Demystifying the IPsec Puzzle, by Sheila Frankel, Artech
House Publishers, 2001.
For questions or comments on this document, contact Richard Kuhn at kuhn@nist.gov.
Murugiah Souppaya authored recommendations in Section 3.2. The authors wish to express their
thanks to staff at NIST and BAH who reviewed drafts of this document. In particular, Timothy Grance,
Murugiah Souppaya , Wayne Jansen, and John Wack of NIST and Alexis Feringa and Kevin Kulhkin
of BAH provided valuable and substantial contributions to the technical content of this publication.
Benjamin A. Kuperman of Purdue University provided an especially valuable critique.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
1.1 authority 1
1 .2 document purpose and scope 1
1 .3 audience and assumptions 1
1 .4 document organization 2
1.5 Background 2
2. 1 Cable Modem Network Architecture 4
2.2 DSL Network Architecture 4
2.3 Satellite 5
2.4 Risks of Broadband Connections 6
3 . l Firewall Features 10
3.2 Establishing a Secure Firewall Configuration 11
3.3 Running an Online Security Assessment 13
3.4 Summary Recommendations 14
4.2 ACTIVEX 17
4.3 JavaScript 18
4.4 Java Applets 19
4.5 Cookies 20
4.6 Internet Proxies 23
4.7 Summary Recommendations 25
5. 1 Strong Passwords 26
5.2 Securing File and Printer Sharing .• 26
5.3 Reducing Operating System and Application Vulnerabilities 27
5.4 anti Virus Software 30
5.5 Protecting Yourself from E-mail worms and Viruses 3 1
5.6 Spyware Removal Tools 32
5.7 Encryption Software to Protect Privacy 33
5.8 Summary Recommendations 36
6. 1 Ethernet Networking 37
6.2 Phone-Line Networktng 39
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
6.3 power-Line Networking 40
6.4 Wireless Networking 41
6.5 Wireless Networking Security Issues 44
6.6 Summary Recommendations 46
7.1 VPN Security 47
7.2 VPN Modes of Operation 47
7.3 VPN Protocols 48
7.4 peer Authentication 50
7.5 policy Configuration 50
7.6 VPN Operation 5 1
7.7 Summary Recommendations 5 1
8.1 voice Communication 53
8.2 Electronic Mail 54
8.3 document and data exchange 55
8.4 Selecting Components 56
8.5 Summary Recommendations 58
9.4 Using Public Wireless LANs 63
Laptop security Checklist A-2
Scanning a Single Computer B-3
Scanning Multiple Computers B-5
Security Report… B-7
Viewing a Security Report B-8
Additional Resources B-9
1^ fcjI^J D I U^^II^JOr I^f D O Uf^D/^TEj ••••••••••••••••••••••«••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 1
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
List of Figures
Figure 2. 1 : Cable Modem Connections to Internet 4
Figure 2.2: Satellite Broadband Network Architecture 5
Figure 2.3: 10-Day Record of Intrusion Attempts 6
Figure 3.1: Hardware Firewall Network Diagram 9
Figure 4.1: Netscape Plugins 16
Figure 4.2: Internet Explorer Plugins 17
Figure 4.3: Web Proxy Example 24
Figure 5. 1 : Windows Update Feature 29
Figure 5.2: Secret Key (Symmetric) encryption 34
Figure 5.3: Public Key (Asymmetric) Encryption 35
Figure 7. 1 : VPN Example 48
Figure B. 1 : MBSA Welcome Screen B-2
Figure B.2: MBSA Navigation Menu B-2
Figure B.3: Unable to Scan All Computers Screen B-3
Figure B.4: Welcome Screen Options B-3
Figure B.5: Pick a Computer to Scan Screen B-4
Figure B.6: MBSA Scanning Screen B-5
Figure B.7: Pick Multiple Computers to Scan Screen B-5
Figure B.8: MBSA Scanning Screen B-6
Figure B.9: MBSA Scan Summary Information B-7
Figure B. 1 0: MBSA Vulnerability assessment : B-8
Figure B. 1 1 : Pick a Security Report to View Screen B-9
Figure B. 1 2: Print and Copy Options B-9
Figure C. 1 : Accessing Windows Update Though Internet Explorer C- 1
Figure C.2: accessing Windows Update though the ‘Start’ Menu C-2
Figure C.3: Windows Update Homepage C-2
Figure C.4: Windows Update Scan C-3
Figure C.5: Windows Update Recommend Updates C-4
Figure C.6: Windows Update Multiple Downloads not Permitted Warning C-4
Figure C.7: Windows Update Download Checklist C-5
Figure C.8: Windows Update Confirmation and License Agreement C-5
Figure C.9: Wpndows Update Download Status Window C-6
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Figure C. 10: Windows Update Install Status Window C-6
Figure C. 1 1 : Windows Update Install Success Confirmation Window C-7
Figure C. 1 2: Windows Update Restart Dialog Box C-7
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Table 3. 1 : Manufacturers of Software Personal Firewalls 8
Table 3.2: Online Security Assessment Web Sites 13
Table 4. 1 : Cookie Management and Removal Tools 22
Table 4.2: Web Proxy Services 25
Table 8. 1 : Alternatives for Voice, E-mail, and File Transfer 56
Table 8.2: Summary of Telecommuting ARCHrrECTURES 58
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Executive Summary
Telecommuting has become a popular trend in the workplace. As employees and
organizations employ remote connectivity to corporate and government networks, the security
of these remote end points becomes increasingly important to the overall security of a network.
Accompanying and contributing to this trend is the explosive growth in the popularity of
broadband connections for telecommuters. These developments complicate the process of
securing organizational and home networks. This document assists organizations in
addressing security issues by providing recommendations on securing a variety of applications,
protocols, and networking architectures. Recommendations in this publication are designed
for Federal agencies, but may be useful to commercial organizations and home users as well.
Home broadband architectures face a variety of threats that, while present on dial-up
connections, are easier to exploit using the faster, always-on qualities of broadband
connections. The relatively short duration of most dial-up connection makes it more difficult
for attackers to compromise telecommuters dialed-up to the Internet. “Always on” broadband
connections provide attackers with the speed and communications bandwidth necessary to
compromise home computers and networks. Ironically, as governmental and corporate
organizations have hardened their networks and become more sophisticated at protecting their
computing resources, they have driven some malicious entities to pursue other targets of
opportunity. Telecommuters with broadband connections are these new targets of opportunity
both for their own computing resources and as an alternative method for attacking and gaining
access to government and corporate networks.
Federal agencies and their employees can take a variety of actions to better secure their
telecommuting and home networking resources:
All home networks connected to the Internet via a broadband connection should have
some firewall device installed. Personal software firewalls installed on each computer are
useful and effective, but separate, dedicated, and relatively inexpensive hardware firewalls that
connect between the broadband connection and the telecommuter’s computer or network can
provide greater protection. NIST strongly recommends that organizations consider using both
personal and hardware firewall devices for high-speed connections. When both a software
personal firewall and a separate device are in operation, the organization can screen out
intruders and identify any rogue software that attempts to transmit messages from the user’s
computer to an external system. See Section 3 for details.
Web browsers should be configured to limit vulnerability to intrusion. Web browsers also
represent a threat of compromise and require additional configuration beyond the default
installation. Browser plugins should be limited to only those required by the end user. Active
code should be disabled or used only in conjunction with trusted sites. The browser should
always be updated to the latest or most secure version. Privacy is always a concern with web
browsers. The two greatest threats to this privacy are the use of cookies and monitoring of
web browsing habits of users by third parties. Cookies can be disabled or selectively removed
using a variety of built-in web browser features or third-party applications. See Section 4 for
Operating system configuration options should be selected to increase security. The
default configuration of most home operating systems is generally inadequate from a security
standpoint. File and printer sharing should almost always be disabled The operating system
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
and major applications should be updated to the latest and most secure version or patch level.
All home computers should have an anti virus program installed and configured to scan all
incoming files and e-mails. The and virus program should have its virus database updated on a
regular basis. Another concern for many telecommuters is the surreptitious installation of
spyware by certain software applications. This spyware, while usually not intended to be
malicious, reports information on users (generally without their knowledge) back to a third
party. This information could be general information about their system or specifics on their
web browsing habits. A variety of programs are available for detecting and removing this
spyware. See Section 5 for details.
Selection of wireless and other home networking technologies should be in accordance
with security goals. Several home networking technologies are available for telecommuters
who wish to connect their home PCs together to share resources. Some of these technologies
are the same as their office counterparts (e.g., Ethernet), and others are designed specifically to
meet the needs of telecommuters (e.g., phone- and power-line networking). While most of
these technologies can be made relatively secure, some represent a threat to security of both
the home network and, sometimes, the office network. In particular, wireless networking has
vulnerabilities that should be carefully considered before any installation. See Section 6 for
Federal agencies should provide telecommuting users with guidance on selecting
appropriate technologies, software, and tools that are consistent with the agency network
and with agency security policies. Users have many approaches to choose from in
establishing an off-site office. Sophisticated technologies such as virtual private networks can
provide a high level of security, but are more expensive and complex to implement than other
solutions. Whenever practical, agencies should provide telecommuting users with systems
containing pre-configured security software and necessary hardware. If possible, agency
security adrninistrators should update and maintain the systems as well, to minimize reliance
on users who are not specialists in security features. (It is not always financially or logistically
practical for agencies to provide users with pre-configured systems, and this recommendation
should not be taken as a requirement of this publication. Many users, particularly if they do not
require interactive access to agency databases, can obtain an adequate degree of security at
very low cost and with little additional software, easing burdens on both the user and system
adrninistrators at the central computing system. See Sections 7, 8, and 9 for details.
The benefits and risks of telecommuting are here to stay. Computing resources and access to
office networks while on the road or working from home is too valuable for most
organizations or employees to give up. While there will always be risks associated with
remote access to an organization’s resources, most of these risks can be mitigated through
careful planning and implementation. By the same token, even though broadband connections
generally represent a greater threat than dial-up connections, the threat can be reduced through
careful configuration and the judicious use of the security tools and techniques discussed in
this document.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
1 Introduction
1.1 Authority
This document has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) in furtherance of its statutory responsibilities under the Computer Security Act of 1987
and the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996, specifically 15 United
States Code (U.S.C.) 278 g-3 (a)(5). This document is not a guideline within the meaning of
15 U.S.C 278 g-3 (a)(3).
These guidelines are for use by federal organizations that process sensitive information. They
are consistent with the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular
A- 130, Appendix HI.
This document may be used by nongovernmental organizations on a voluntary basis. It is not
subject to copyright.
Nothing in this document should be taken to contradict standards and guidelines made
mandatory and binding upon federal agencies by the Secretary of Commerce under statutory
authority. Nor should these guidelines be interpreted as altering or superseding the existing
authorities of the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the OMB, or any other federal
1 2 Document Purpose and Scope
This document is intended to assist those responsible – users, system administrators, and
management – for telecommuting security, by providing introductory information about
broadband communication security and policy, security of home office systems, and
considerations for system administrators in the central office. It addresses concepts relating to
the selection, deployment, and management of broadband communications for a
telecommuting user. This document is not intended to provide a mandatory framework for
telecommuting or home office broadband communication environments, but rather to present
suggested approaches to the topic.
1 .3 Audience and Assumptions
The intended audience for this document includes end-users, system administrators, and
management personnel. Wherever possible, we have taken a “cookbook” approach, providing
step-by-step instructions for configuring systems and selecting security options. This
document is not technically detailed; however some sections assume background knowledge
of TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), the protocol suite used by the
Internet, and various other aspects of networking and information security. Less technical
readers may find NIST SP 800-41, Guidelines on Firewalls and Firewall Policy, January 2002
a useful starting point for network security topics and then go on to read this publication.
1 Available at http://csrc.nistgov/pubIications/nistpubs/800^tl/sp800^H.pdf
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
1 .4 Document Organization
Section 2 introduces broadband communication technologies and the security considerations
associated with them. Section 3 discusses the use of a personal firewall, which is essential in
protecting a home computer from intrusion. Sections 4 and 5 provide instructions on how to
configure PCs and web browsers for added security. In Sections 6 and 7, advanced topics are
introduced Section 6 explains home networking and how a home network can be protected.
Section 7 describes virtual private networks, which are sophisticated technologies that can
provide telecommuters with security approximating that available from an isolated inter-office
network. Section 8 compares alternative approaches for securing e-mail and data transfer,
depending on the user’s needs and value of the data. Section 9 summarizes considerations for
telecommuting security. Appendices provide useful checklists, software update procedures,
and pointers to additional resources available on the Internet.
1.5 Background
One of the fastest-growing trends in the workplace today is the movement toward
telecommuting, both for employees who work from home and those who carry notebook
computers with them to work while on travel. Accompanying the growth of telecommuting is
the rapidly rising popularity of broadband networks for home use. Employees who need
extensive off-site access to office systems frequently find dial-up access impractical.
Broadband systems provide data transfer rates that may be 10 – 100 times as fast as dial-up
access, making it possible for off-site employees to work with large documents, spreadsheets,
and other business information as easily at home as at the office. But the storage of sensitive
information on home systems often raises real security concerns. The features that make
broadband networks useful for telecommuting also make them attractive targets for intruders.
Broadband users face a variety of security threats that depend on how their system is used.
Almost all users face a risk that intruders can read, change, or delete files on their personal
computers. Another concern for the average user is the potential for an intruder to hijack the
user’s computer, establishing a “backdoor” that can be activated anytime the machine is
online, giving the intruder control over the user’s machine. The best-known backdoor tool
today is Back Orifice 2000 (B02K), from the U.S. hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow.
B02K is available at web sites all over the world and can be downloaded by anyone who has
access to the Internet. SourceForge.net, a clearinghouse for open source software, shows over
1,440,000 downloads of B02K as of November 2001 . Only a fraction of those downloading
B02K are likely to use it maliciously, but its widespread distribution demonstrates that
sophisticated hacking tools are readily available.
The most widely reported Internet security problems of the past few years are “denial of
service” attacks against large commercial sites. In these attacks, intruders placed Trojan horse
programs on computers operated by universities and other organizations that had
persistent/high-speed Internet access and relatively little security. At a predetermined time, the
attacker’s Trojan horse programs conduct a coordinated attack against other sites, sending
messages at a rate too high for the sites to handle. With the explosive growth in broadband
services, high-speed Internet access for telecommuters makes it likely that future denial of
service attacks will use Trojan horse programs planted on home computers.
Until recently, consumer use of the Internet was generally limited to dial-up connections using
a modem over telephone lines. Transmission speeds were typically limited to a range of 28K
through 56K. With the advent of cable modems, digital subscriber lines (DSL), and other
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
broadband connection options, connection speeds for telecommuters have begun to approach
those previously available only to large corporate and government subscribers. High-speed
connections bring a variety of benefits to telecommuters – streaming video over the Internet,
fast software downloads, interactive multiplayer games, and two-way video communications –
but the new Internet technologies can also increase risks for telecommuters.
In general, broadband connections supply the same services as dial-up connections to an
Internet service provider (ISP): e-mail, web browsing, online purchasing, and music and video
access. The most obvious difference between dial-up connections and broadband connections
is the latter’s much higher transmission speed. From an end-user perspective, broadband
technologies differ in two fundamental ways from dial-up modems:
° “Always on” connectivity. One of broadband’ s greatest advantages, the relatively
permanent nature of the connection, leaves a system exposed to potential intruders for
much longer periods than dial-up. This makes it more likely for intruders to detect the
system in a random scan and provides a longer window of opportunity to compromise a
° High-speed access. Because broadband connections arc so much faster than dial-up,
intruders can download information from a system in seconds that would otherwise take
long enough for the user to notice the activity. Similarly, intruders can upload viruses or
other types of Trojan horse programs without the user detecting the suspicious activity.
Malicious software loaded in this way may be used to steal private information from the
user, launch denial of service attacks, or turn a user’s machine into a pirated software
(“warez”) distribution server.
These features change the nature of the risks involved in Internet access, and require
additional security measures not maintained by most users. Although the risks and
safeguards are different for broadband connections, DSL and cable modem connections
can be brought to a reasonable level of security with modest additional resources. This
document explains the risks involved with broadband connections and outlines ways in
which telecommuters can protect their computing systems at reasonable cost and effort.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
2 Overview of Broadband Communication
Although cable modem, DSL, and satellite systems deliver high-speed access to the Internet,
they work differently and have different security considerations. This section provides an
overview of the different types of broadband network architectures.
2.1 Cable Modem Network Architecture
Cable television connections typically provide capacity for 1 10 channels of programming. For
subscribers, some of this capacity will be unused. A cable modem takes advantage of the
unused capacity to provide Internet access. One channel (usually in the 50 – 750 MHz range)
is used for “downstream” traffic from the Internet to the home, while a second (normally 5-42
MHz) is allocated for “upstream” traffic from the user’s computer to the Internet. Cable
modems allow download speeds of up to 1 .5Mbps. A cable modem converts data to and from
the user’s PC into signals on the cable line. At the cable provider facilities, a headend cable
modem termination system (CMTS) connects the cable modems to the Internet, similar to an
office local area network (LAN). A simplified diagram of this architecture is shown in Figure
The cable modem system employs a “bus” approach where several cable modems connect to a
common point and share the available bandwidth between that point and the Internet.
Generally, each cable modem on the system has an individual Internet Protocol (TP) address,
which usually changes infrequently. Certain installations or services also use or provide
semipermanent static IP addresses.
Distribution Hub
Cable Modem
Caching Servers
Figure 2.1: Cable Modem Connections to Internet
to internet)
22 DSL Network Architecture
DSL is another popular high-speed connection technology that works over ordinary telephone
lines. A variety of DSL systems are available, but Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
(ADSL) is most common for home use. With ADSL, frequencies below 4KHz are reserved
for voice and the frequencies above that allocated for data. The telephone line can thus carry
both voice and data simultaneously, and the PC can remain continuously connected to the
Internet. Depending on the type of service, DSL download speeds range from 256Kbps to
8Mbs, and 16 Kbps to 640Kbs bits for uploads. The bandwidth is relatively constant because
connections do not share a common line. Many DSL systems allocate IP addresses from a
common pool each time the PC is rebooted or after a fixed period of time (dynamic IP
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
addressing), but some DSL services now provide a semipermanent IP address (static IP
addressing), as a result of demand for online gaming and web servers. Static IP addresses,
since they do not change, are somewhat more risky than dynamic EP addresses. IP addresses
that do not change regularly are easier for a hacker to attack and allow the hacker to easily
locate the compromised host in the future for further exploitation.
2.3 Satellite
Although less popular than either cable modems or DSL, satellite broadband is the only
service that is available nearly nationwide. In most cases, satellite broadband is a hybrid
system that uses a regular phone line and modem for data and requests sent from the user’s
machine, but uses a satellite link to send data to the user, although some satellite broadband
systems use DSL for the uplink when available 2 . The uplink (modem) is, of course, restricted
to the bandwidth the user can achieve with a regular modem (28.8 Kbps to 33.6 Kbps). The
downlink (satellite) supports speeds up to 400 Kbps. Since it relies on a modem, satellite
service generally does not face the same threat as other broadband connection since it is not
“always on”. (Note however that if DSL is used, the system will be always on.) Figure 2.2
below illustrates an example satellite broadband connection. When a user attempts to access a
web page, the request is sent from the modem to the ISP. The ISP then forwards the request to
the appropriate web server, which processes the request. Instead of sending it back via the
modem, it sends the web page to the satellite provider’s uplink station. The web server does
this because the user’s request contains a special hidden “tag”. The satellite uplink station
broadcasts the data to the appropriate satellite, which rebroadcasts the data to the user’s
satellite receiver. The data is then forwarded to the web browser.
Home Computer
Web Sever
Figure 2.2: Satellite Broadband Network Architecture
2 As of this writing, at least one satellite Internet service provider is in the process of upgrading its system to enable all
traffic to be sent and received via satellite.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
2.4 Risks of Broadband Connections
Whenever a computer is connected to the Internet, there is risk of unauthorized access. When
a dial-up connection is used, the risk is decreased because the duration of the connection is
short for most users. For most users dialing into an Internet Service Provider (ISP), the user
receives a different EP address with each logon. To penetrate a system connected via dial-up,
an intruder would need the host’s current IP address and would have to compromise the host in
a relatively short period of time before it was disconnected.
With dedicated broadband connections, a computer is connected to the Internet — and capable
of sending and receiving data — whenever it is on. If the computer is turned on in the morning
and off in the evening, connection time may be 10 – 14 hours a day, which significantly
increases the risk that the computer may be attacked. Even though a user may be using the
machine only a few hours each day, the machine remains connected to the Internet and
therefore vulnerable to attack
Certain dedicated connections, particularly DSL lines, use dynamic IP addresses, similar to the
way dial-up connections operate. While this may reduce the risk of an attacker targeting a
specific user, it does not significantly reduce the risk to the average user. Most intruders
arbitrarily scan the Internet for vulnerable systems. If a computer is powered on in the
morning and powered off at night, the IP address will remain the same during the entire day.
An attacker who finds the machine during a random scan may potentially have several hours to
penetrate the system.
Figure 2.3: 10-Day Record of Intrusion Attempts
While many users are aware of the risks associated with using the Internet, relatively few have
a sense of the magnitude of risk. Figure 2.3 shows a log of intrusion attempts recorded over a
10-day period on a machine connected by cable modem running 24 hours a day. The log was
generated by a firewall configured to a high security level, and most of the apparent attempts
were judged to be false alarms. However, potentially serious intrusion attempts were recorded
at a rate of more than three per day.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
“Probing” is the first step an attacker takes when identifying vulnerable systems. Probing is
the hacker equivalent to “rattling door knobs” looking for unlocked doors. Probes attempt to
determine if a computer will respond to particular kinds of messages. This “banner grabbing”
process can also help an attacker identify various services or server programs that a system is
running so that the attacker can exploit known vulnerabilities. More serious probes are
“fingerprint” efforts, which attempt to determine what operating system is running on a
particular computer by analyzing the pattern of communication services listening. The
intrusion attempts depicted in Figure 2.3 occurred on a machine with a cable modem
connection, so nearly all are the result of probes against random EP addresses. If you operate a
computer connected to the Internet by broadband, your computer will be scanned.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
3 Personal Firewalls
The first line of defense for the home broadband user is a good network firewall. Although
most users are aware of highly publicized Internet break-ins and denial of service attacks, few
have evaluated their own system’s vulnerability to such attacks. Those who have are often
surprised to learn that their PCs have significant weaknesses. One online scanning service
( www.DSLreports.com ) found that more than 95 percent of the machines scanned have one or
more possible vulnerabilities. Typical problems included publicly known machine names or
user names, guest accounts, routers with weak configuration protection, and printers visible for
anyone to use.
Table 3.1 : Manufacturers of Software Personal Firewalls
Personal Firewall
McAfee Personal
Neo Watch Personal
Norton Personal
PC Viper
Sygate Personal Firewall
✓ 3
Tiny Firewall
http://w’wv^^ifi.unizh.ch/ikra / SINUS/
Net Barrier
Mac OS
For years, large organizations have operated firewalls to reduce the risk of unauthorized access
to their networks. A firewall is simply a filter that allows certain types of packets, or message
fragments, to enter and exit a network, while rejecting others. Network firewalls can have
complex rule sets that determine which packets are accepted and which are rejected.
Corporate firewalls can be costly to configure and operate. The advent of broadband access
for telecommuters has established a market for firewalls for home use. In most cases these
“personal firewalls” are software add-ins that filter packets going to and from the cable modem
Free for personal use only.
4 Free for personal use only. Cost for business use.
5 Free for certain versions for personal use.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
or DSL connection. Several are available free to home users and others are relatively
inexpensive, typically below $40 (see Table 3.1). Personal firewalls are designed to be easy to
install and operate, and can significantly reduce the risk of intrusion.
In addition to the personal firewall software installed directly on your computer, dedicated
hardware-based personal firewall/router devices are available. These devices are installed
between the cable/DSL modem and your computers). See Figure 3. 1 for an example of a
home network employing a hardware-based firewall.
Personal computer
Figure 3.1: Hardware Firewall Network Diagram
Although these devices generally cost more ($75-$200), they offer several advantages over the
software firewalls. Perhaps most important is that they allow several computers to share the
same cable/DSL modem without an additional charge from the service provider (check service
agreement to determine if this is permitted by the ISP). This is accomplished through network
address translation (NAT). NAT translates your external public IP (assigned by your ISP) into
multiple internal private IPs. This allows each computer system to be on an internal network
with a private IP address space that is not accessible from outside of the network. This
improves security, as all connections from the internal network to the Internet must be initiated
from an internal system. The NAT capabilities within the router translate the internal private
addresses to the external public IP. This allows all internal systems to share one external IP
while adding another layer of protection. When combined with the firewall capabilities inside
the router, access to each individual computer can be controlled while preventing outside
access. Unauthorized and un-initiated traffic from outside the router is not allowed while
traffic from inside can either be allowed or denied depending on the firewall rule settings. In
addition, due to their specialized design, dedicated hardware firewall implementations are
generally more difficult to compromise than software that depends on an underlying operating
system for security.
With hardware firewalls, it is critical that all default passwords are changed immediately to
stronger passwords. If this is not done, anyone who knows these default passwords can have
complete control over your firewall. Lists of manufacturer-assigned default passwords are
widely available on the Internet. In addition, many router/firewall combinations come pre-
configured with machine firmware. Firmware is analogous to an operating system for a
desktop computer, dictating how the device will operate, including firewall functionality.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Often, firmware contains memory space to store passwords for administering the device.
Because manufacturers publish updates to their machine firmware to mitigate security
vulnerabilities, it is critical to check the manufacturer’s web site for firmware updates and to
apply them.
Firewall Features
Not all personal firewall products have the same set of features and options. A number do not
provide all the features discussed below. Users should review products carefully.
Logging: Ensure that logging is enabled on the firewall. If an intruder breaks into your
machine, the log may help to identify the source of the intrusion. In addition, cooperative
efforts have been organized to collect log information to help identify attackers who scan
thousands of IP addresses. System administrators can forward logs to a collection site that
combines the information with other logs, making it possible to track and potentially identify
attackers that have scanned IP addresses.
Port hiding or “stealth” mode: Computers receive packets directed to specific port numbers,
each allocated to a specific service such as web servers or remote file access. When a packet
is received, the service sends back a reply packet to establish the connection. When a closed
port receives a packet, an RST packet is returned. A system in “stealth” mode will not respond
to any requests for any port, effectively hiding the target machine. A firewall ignores selected
ports, effectively hiding the existence of that port. Most firewall products require no special
user knowledge to configure ports that should be hidden.
Automatic lockout: One of the most significant security problems with broadband
connections is their “always on” nature. Certain firewall products allow users to set a timer
that will stop all Internet access to and/or from the machine after a specified length of
inactivity. When the user resumes activity, the Internet connection is restored. This feature
greatly reduces the amount of time that a machine is accessible to intruders, since a connection
exists only when the user is active on the machine.
Connection notification: A number of firewalls can be configured to notify users when a
particular program requests access to the Internet. When a program initially attempts to send
out packets, the firewall will interrupt the user with a message such as “Should [program
name] be permitted to connect to the Internet?” The user can then answer “yes”, usually with
an option to not require confirmation for the same program again, or “no”, to provide time to
investigate further. This feature sometimes identifies the existence of “spyware” or backdoor
programs that may have been installed without the user’s knowledge.
“Paranoia level” tuning: If a firewall is configured for a high level of security, the potential
for false alarms increases. Most firewalls allow users to set a level of security that is
appropriate for the intended use. For example, if users are operating a file-sharing program,
particular packets may trigger the firewall unnecessarily. A more moderate level may reduce
false alarms while providing security that the user considers appropriate. The appropriate
security level for an end-user may not necessarily be apparent as soon as the firewall is
installed or configured. For this reason, manufacturers make changing the security level a
simple task to accomplish.
Configurable rule set: Certain firewalls are designed to operate under a rule set determining
access control. Often this rule set will examine all packets both inbound and outbound for
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
their protocol specific properties such as: port, type of service (FTP, HTTP, SMTP, etc.),
destination/source UP address, etc. Firewall rule sets are designed to limit these values at the
user’s discretion. This rule set can be extended with custom rules that match an individual’s
needs. Adding rules or changing existing ones requires some degree of networking
experience and should be performed only by qualified personnel.
Password protected configuration: Certain firewalls offer the ability to assign a password to
the settings you define during configuration. This password may then be prompted for each
time another user wishes to make a configuration change to your firewall. This protects your
firewall and network from an inside user with bad intent.
Establishing a Secure Firewall Configuration
Establishing a secure firewall configuration depends on the type of firewall a user has
implemented, either software or hardware based. To establish a secure configuration for a
software-based firewall, set the firewall to the highest level of security and decrease it as
needed. You should be aware that improper configuration of your firewall or an overly
restrictive security setting can prevent all types of network access, both inbound and outbound.
Although not all of the steps described below can be performed on all software-based
firewalls, at a minimum, the most secure setting for a software-based firewall should do the
â–  Log the IP address and date/time of possible infractions. This functionality is
implemented by default for virtually every major firewall available, and in many cases this
information is found in the firewall log. You should still examine the log settings on your
firewall, and the contents of the log file itself to familiarize yourself with it. Those users
operating on broadband Internet connections should be aware of the possibility of a high
number of false positives from their firewall. Although a firewall may alert that your
computer was just scanned for infection of a common Trojan horse, this does not mean
you are actually infected. Depending on the connection attempt being made, your firewall
may have interpreted certain packets incorrectly, or your computer may be one in a block
of hundreds of IP addresses just scanned for possible infection.
â–  Drop all incoming packets to known insecure services (e.g., TCP/UDP ports 135 to
139 which support NetBIOS protocol). You have the ability to restrict access to
arbitrary ports during the configuration of your firewall. While restricted, the firewall is
causing these ports to operate in stealth mode, not responding to connection attempts,
behaving as if the computer were turned off. Many host-based security scanners will list
stealthed/blocked ports as closed when scanning a system with a personal firewall. Lists
of insecure ports are widely available on the Internet.
â–  Drop all outgoing packets, except for the services that are allowed (e.g., DNS,
SMTP/POP/IMAP, HTTP, FTP, etc.). Although this ability is implemented in many
different ways depending on the firewall vendor, the underlying concept is that all network
activity originating from your machine, or destined for it, should be dropped or ignored
immediately unless you have explicitly allowed it in your configuration. Certain firewalls
are configured to automatically look for and prevent activity that matches communication
from well-known Trojan horses. These settings should not be disabled unless you are
aware of the ramifications.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  Enable stealth mode. Certain firewalls have the ability to enable “stealth” mode on both
a specific port level and a system-wide level. When operating in stealth mode on a
system-wide level, the firewall forces your computer not to respond to requests from
network discovery tools such as ping and port scanners. Even though your computer does
not respond to these tools, you can still access network services such as e-mail and web
sites in a normal fashion.
â–  Shut down system’s Internet connection when not in use. Although you can operate
proactively to enhance the security of your systems in many ways, you should assume that
there is no “perfect security” that will protect your systems and personal data in the long
run. Because of this, preventing all access to the Internet when your computer is not in use
ensures that rogue services cannot operate when you are not around to catch them. This
feature is often very easy to implement on firewalls, forcing you to toggle a “lock”
between open and shut.
â–  Enable connection notification. Firewalls that are built with connection notification can
alert you to every single service that is attempting to access the network on your computer.
As stated previously, this can possibly help to detect the presence of a Trojan horse
service. If you interact with a computer long enough, you begin to create a functional
baseline in your mind of the normal operation of your system. If an alert appears for a
service that you are not familiar with, you should investigate this further, search for this
service on your hard drive, determine if it should be there or not, and consult support
services if you are unsure of what to do.
Because hardware-based firewalls often offer functionality that is not found on software-based
firewalls, establishing a secure configuration follows a slightly different process. You should
be aware that many hardware-based firewalls ship with all security settings disabled out of the
box. To install these systems, do the following:
â–  Change default administration password. As discussed earlier, those devices that offer
configurable settings are set with a default password. The first step in configuring your
hardware-based firewall is changing the default password.
â–  Check for hardware and firmware updates. Hardware-based firewalls use firmware to
configure and store settings. This firmware is often stored in programmable read only
memory (PROM) or flash memory. Manufacturers publish updates to firmware when
security vulnerabilities or defects are discovered. Develop a habit of checking for and
applying possible firmware updates to your hardware-based firewall at least monthly.
â–  Disable WAN requests/enable stealth mode. Many hardware-based firewalls are
designed to not respond to WAN requests. WAN requests include traffic generated from
network discovery tools such as ping or port scanners. Enabling this setting causes the
device to behave in a stealth mode, essentially rendering your entire network invisible to
the outside world.
â–  Block all unnecessary public/DMZ machines. Many hardware-based firewalls offer
some type of publicly visible machine/DMZ machine option. Be very careful about
enabling this option for any machine(s) on your network because this causes them to be
accessible by the outside world. Disable all public machines unless explicitly necessary.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  Ensure all unnecessary ports are closed (port forwarding). As an alternative to, or in
tandem with a DMZ option, many hardware-based firewalls allow port forwarding. This
occurs when only a specific port may be visible to the outside world. If you are
implementing port forwarding, open only those ports that are explicitly needed. Any other
publicly visible port should be considered a security risk.
â–  Restrict or disable remote administration from a WAN interface. Remote
administration is rarely necessary for a home system, since the user will normally have
daily access to the system. Disabling remote administration prevents intruders from taking
control of a firewall across the Internet. (Note: This recommendation does not apply if
the organization manages the offsite system remotely.)
Running an Online Security Assessment
There are numerous free web sites that will “scan” your home PC and provide a report of its
network security posture. When these sites scan your machine, they attempt to connect to
various services (sometimes referred to as ports) that are running on your machine. If the
scanner finds an operational service, it will attempt to gather additional information from that
service (e.g. version, operating system identification, etc.). The information gathered in this
enumeration phase will then be compared to a database of known vulnerabilities, and the site
will provide a score or rating of your computer’s network security posture.
To have one of these sites scan your home PC or network, you will need to visit their web site
and request a test. Generally, the results are provided in real time via an encrypted web page
as the scan is performed. There are two types of tests performed by these sites. The most
basic is a “port scan” that reports what services or applications are available from the Internet.
A port scan helps to quickly identify possible problems, but it makes no attempt to identify the
vulnerabilities associated with the identified services. Therefore, most users should also run a
vulnerability scan. While there is very limited risk associated with these tests, it is recommend
that users close all applications and save data to the hard disk prior to starting the test. Table
3.2 provides a comparison of several popular online security assessment web sites. Note that
some of these sites scan different sets of ports; it is advisable to run scans using more than one
assessment site. After running the scan, print or save the results, then consult the local system
administrator about how to resolve any potential security issues raised by the scan.
Table 3.2: Online Security Assessment Web Sites
DSL Reports
â– /
MS Baseline Security
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Summary Recommendations
All home networks connected to the Internet via a broadband connection should have some
firewall device installed. Personal software firewalls installed on each computer give some
protection but separate, dedicated hardware firewalls that connect between the broadband
connection and the telecommuter’s computer or network provide greater protection. Operating
both a software personal firewall and a separate device provides the opportunity to screen out
intruders and to identify any rogue software that attempts to transmit messages from the user’s
computer to an external system.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
4 Securing Web Browsers
Browser security considerations discussed in this section apply to dial-up and broadband
connections, but concerns may be more acute with broadband because of the higher speed
connection. Not every user will require all of the browser features described below, but users
need to be aware of the security concerns with each because they are increasingly used on web
sites. The discussion includes precautions for using the features with less risk and procedures
for disabling the feature if a user considers it a significant risk.
4.1 Browser Plugins
A browser plugin is a software application that handles a particular type of file on the Internet.
Popular examples include plugins for video, such as Microsoft Media® or Real®, and
electronic publishing applications such as Adobe Acrobat® for displaying documents online.
Although these examples are used in thousands of web sites, it is common for users to
download a plugin for an interesting web site, but never use that plugin again for months
because the content type is unusual. This situation is likely to occur in newer application types
where standards have not yet been developed. For example, a user may download a 3D image
plugin to view a particular web site, but never encounter that particular 3D image type on other
Normally, a particular type of content automatically triggers the associated plugin. That means
that every plugin is an additional potential source of attack. A number of plugins have been
shown to have extremely serious security vulnerabilities. For example, the Microsoft Office®
plugin in Internet Explorer® 3 and 4 can be exploited allowing an attacker to run arbitrary
code on the client machine. 6
4.1.1 Precautions for Using Plugins
â–  Restrict plugin use to essentials. For example, users may need to access document files
using Adobe Acrobat or a Postscript® viewer, but may not need other plugins.
â–  If possible, rum off potentially dangerous options on plugins that are not in use. For
example, some Postscript viewers make it possible to disable Postscript’s ability to modify
arbitrary files when a document is viewed or printed.
4.1 .2 Reviewing and Disabling Plugins in Netscape®
1 . To review plugins that are installed on your machine, enter the Uniform Resource Locator
(URL): “about:plugins” in the location bar. (This works even if the machine is not online
at the time.)
2. From the menu bar, select “Edit” then “Preferences.”
3. Select the “Applications” item from the tree at the left.
4. A scroll list of various document types will appear on the right. (See Figure 4. 1).
5. To remove a particular plugin, select it and press the “Remove” button. If you are unsure
if it can be removed, you can click the “Edit” button and check “Ask me before opening
6 See www.cve.mitre.org : Vulnerability ID: CVE-2000-0765. “Buffer overflow in the HTML interpreter in
Microsoft Office 2000 allows an attacker to execute arbitrary commands via a long embedded object tag, a.k.a. the
“Microsoft Office HTML Object Tag” vulnerability.”
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
downloaded files of this type” to tell Netscape to inform you whenever it would run this
particular plugin. This will allow you to prevent a plugin from running if it seems
inappropriate. For example, if the web page you are viewing does not appear to have any
spreadsheet content but a spreadsheet plugin is triggered, there may be an attempt to
exploit a security hole in the plugin.
S Appearance
; â– -â–  Fonts
:■• Colors
3- Navigator
Smart Browsing
S Mail & Newsgroups
S Roaming Access
H Composer
S Offline
E Advanced
CMU Raster Image
Compied HTML Help file
Compiled Python File
Configuration Settings
PCX Image Docurosnt
Desktop Theme Re
Dial-Up Networking Exported file
Dial-Up Networking Script
Dr. Watson Log
– File type details —
Ejjtemion: OCX
MjME Type:
Handed By: K.ODAKPRV
~3 Hew type..
Figure 4.1: Netscape Plugins
4.1 .3 Reviewing and Disabling Plugins in Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer’s settings for plugins are linked with the settings for ActiveX (see next
section). The changes you make for plugins will affect ActiveX settings as well.
1. Open Internet Explorer.
2. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.”
3. The “Internet Options” window will open. From this window, select the “Security” tab.
4. Select “Internet” by clicking on the picture of a globe. (See Figure 4.2).
5. Once Internet has been selected, click on the “Custom Level” button.
6. This will open the “Security Settings” Window.
7. From this window, scroll down until you see the “Active-X and Plug-ins” section. There
may be five or so different subsections in which you should select “Disable” in order to
completely rum off all ActiveX components.
8. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Security Settings” window.
9. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Internet Options” window.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
iotmnel Option*
Genewl Security | Center* j Cotinectiorwj Programs j AoV«ocod|
Select a Web content jone to epedry it» tecwrity setting*.
This zone contains 38 Web *8es you
hsvenf pieced in oth« 20DM
Security levelfa this zone â–
Custom settings
– To change the retting*, dick Custom Level
• To use the recommended seHihgs, click Deist* Level
ZfUkm Level.-, j Sefaiit Level j
Figure 4.2: Internet Explorer Plugins
ActiveX® is a powerful and useful technology from Microsoft that allows software applets
(mini-applications) to be reused in a variety of applications (comparable to Lego® blocks).
Internet Explorer comes bundled with ActiveX support; Netscape requires a separate
(nonstandard) plugin. The ActiveX security model places no restrictions on what applications
can do; applications are simply signed by their developers using a signature scheme called
Authenticode. Security thus depends on the trustworthiness of the developer, and the user’s
willingness to trust web sites accessed employing ActiveX. 7
ActiveX digital signatures are verified using identity certificates issued by a trusted third party
certificate authority to an ActiveX software publisher. For an ActiveX publisher’s certificate to
be granted, the software publisher must pledge that no harmful code will be knowingly
distributed under this scheme. The Authenticode process ensures that ActiveX applets cannot
be distributed anonymously, and that tampering with the controls can be detected. This
certification process, however, does not ensure that an applet will be free of software errors.
The ActiveX security model leaves the responsibility for the computer system’s security to the
user’s best judgment. This is theoretically sound when all users are security experts, but this
policy is unrealistic in the real world.
Before the browser downloads an unsigned ActiveX control, or a control whose corresponding
publisher’s certificate was issued by an unknown certifying authority, the browser presents a
dialog box warning the user that this action may be unsafe. Users can choose to abort or
continue the transfer based on their best judgment. Unfortunately, users may be unaware of the
security implications of the decision, which may have serious repercussions. Even when the
user is well informed, attackers may trick the user into approving the transfer. In the past,
attackers have exploited implementation flaws to cover the user dialogue window with another
that displays an unobtrusive message, such as “Do you want to continue?” while exposing the
7 This discussion is derived from NIST SP 800-28, Guidelines on Active Content and Mobile Code,
October 2001 , which may be consulted for more on ActiveX.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
positive indication button needed to launch active content. Hackers have also been successful
at forging certificates in order to distribute malicious code.
. 1 Precautions for Using ActiveX
Because ActiveX is becoming more widely used and is required for certain applications, it
may not be practical to avoid ActiveX. If it is used, certain basic precautions should be
â–  Ensure that web sites viewed using ActiveX are operated by trusted organizations.
â–  Use the built-in ActiveX security features.
â–  Only download ActiveX controls that have been digitally signed by a reputable software
developer or publisher.
.2 Disabling ActiveX
Although ActiveX employs digital signatures to verify the source of the component, it takes a
moderately sophisticated user to investigate the source of the component and the source of the
web page that is applying the component As a result, certain organizations prefer to disable
ActiveX rather than have their users take responsibility for determining the security of
ActiveX applets. (Note: ActiveX controls are not natively supported on Netscape
Communicator. This section applies only to Internet Explorer.)
From the menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.” A dialog window will appear.
From this window, select the “Security” tab.
1 . Open Internet Explorer.
2. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.”
3. The “Internet Options” window will open. From this window, select the “Security” tab.
4. Select “Internet” by clicking on the picture of a globe.
5. Once Internet has been selected, click on the “Custom Level” button.
6. This will open the “Security Settings” Window.
7. From this window, scroll down until you see the “Active-X and Plug-ins” section. There
may be five or so different subsections from which you should select “Disable” in order to
completely turn off all ActiveX components.
8. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Security Settings” window.
9. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Internet Options” window.
Scripting languages, such as JavaScript®, have been a source of security vulnerabihties in web
browsers. (Despite the similarity in name, JavaScript is completely different from Java and
does not contain the same security features as Java.) Many browser-based attacks stem from
the use of a scripting language in combination with some other security vulnerability. For
example, attacks that let web sites steal files from client machines typically result from an
interaction between JavaScript’s ability to automatically submit forms and a programming
error in the way form fields are initialized. A variety of attacks have been reported where
JavaScript is used to mimic a trusted site. However, a large number of legitimate sites depend
on JavaScript. Disabling it may render these sites completely unusable.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
4.3. 1 Precautions for Using JavaScript
JavaScript is used extensively on the Internet, but most web sites can be used (with some
degradation in functionality) without it. No solutions have been developed for increasing the
security of JavaScript. However, it is relatively low risk when browsing reputable sites. Users
concerned with JavaScript security may wish to disable it when browsing sites that may not be
trustworthy (see procedure below).
4.3.2 Disabling JavaScript in Netscape:
1. Open Netscape.
2. From the menu bar, select “Edit” and then Preferences.”
3. The “Preferences” window will open.
4. From left side of the “Preferences” window, select the “Advanced” category.
5. Deselect the checkbox labeled “Enable JavaScript.”
6. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the dialog window.
4.3.3 Disabling JavaScript in Internet Explorer
1 . Open Internet Explorer.
2. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.”
3. The “Internet Options” window will open. From this window, select the “Security” tab.
4. Select “Internet” by clicking on the picture of a globe.
5. Once Internet has been selected, click on the “Custom Level” button.
6. This will open the “Security Settings” Window.
7. From this Window, scroll down until you see the “Scripting” section.
8. Directly below this, there will be a “Active Scripting” subsection.
9. Select “Disable” from the subsection.
10. Click “OK” at the bottom of the ” Security Settings” window.
1 1 . Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Internet Options” window.
4.4 Java Applets
Java applets are programs written in the Java® programming language 8 that can be run in web
browsers. Applets might be used to add graphical drawings to a web page or to act as a user
interface to server-side programs. Java has a large number of built-in security features that are
intended to prevent attacks and has typically been one of the stronger links in the chain of web
browser security products. Nevertheless, several Java-based attacks have been conducted on
various platforms, and disabling Java is an option that the security-conscious user may
consider after performing other security safeguards.
4.4. 1 Precautions for Using Java Applets
When Java is enabled on Windows or Unix, ensure that the environment variable
CLASSPATH is not set when the browser is launched. This variable refers to directories
containing trusted Java classes that are executed with relaxed security restrictions on most
s Although named similarly, Java and JavaScript are two unrelated technologies. They were originally given similar
names for marketing purposes.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
4.4.2 Disabling Java Applets in Netscape
1 . Open Netscape.
2. From the menu bar select “Edit” and then Preferences.”
3. The “Preferences” window will open.
4. From left side of the “Preferences” window, select the “Advanced” category.
5. Deselect the checkbox labeled “Enable Java.”
6. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the dialog window.
4.4.3 Disabling Java Applets in Internet Explorer
1 . Open Internet Explorer.
2. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.”
3. The “Internet Options” window will open. From this window, select the “Security” tab.
4. Select “Internet” by clicking on the picture of a globe.
5. Once Internet has been selected, click on the “Custom Level” button.
6. This will open the “Security Settings” Window.
7. From this Window, scroll down until you see the “Microsoft VM”, or (depending on the
version of Explorer), “Java” section.
8. Select “Disable Java.”
9. Click “OK” at the bottom of” Security Settings” window.
10. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Internet Options” window.
4.5 Cookies
Probably no aspect of web browsers is better known – or more widely misunderstood – than
cookies. Many web sites offer users the option of “remembering” their password or retaining
information used in greeting the user for later logins. This is accomplished using cookies,
small files that let a web server record some information on the user’s PC hard disk 9 . This
information (such as user ED and password) is then transmitted to the web server every time
the browser requests a page from that site. This lets the site “remember” what the user did on
the site previously and lets the site associate that information with the user when they return in
the future. This is a convenient feature in many contexts: a cookie can be used to
automatically display weather for a user’s location, or remember a password or credit card
number. If not handled carefully by the web sites that use them, cookies can create a
significant privacy risk. For example:
â–  Cookie data is not encrypted; as a result, anyone with access to your hard disk can view
your cookie data. This is a problem if poorly designed sites use cookies to store sensitive
data, rather than using an innocuous user ED which is only associated with real data on the
â–  Although most reputable e-commerce companies have explicit privacy statements,
companies can share or exchange cookie information without a user’s knowledge. This
sharing can give a third party indirect access to personal information.
â–  By loading images from a mutual third party, two different sites can share cookies. This
could let one site gain information about what you did at a different site. Netscape has a
9 A cookie is a small piece of information that may be written to the user’s hard drive when they visit a Web site.
These files can be used to track users and gather a variety of information.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
setting that still allows most cookies but prevents this problem (see below), but Internet
Explorer does not.
4.5. 1 Precautions for Using Cookies
Relatively few options are available for cookie management using the browser configuration
settings. Some basic precautions follow:
â–  Users concerned about privacy should consider disabling cookies for general web
browsing and temporarily enabling them only when necessary (for example, for an online
reservation service). After completion of the service that requires cookies, turn off the
cookie option and delete cookie files (see information below for how to do this).
â–  Netscape users can select the checkbox “Accept only cookies that get sent back to the
originating server” under “Advanced” preferences (see procedures below). This will
reduce “profiling” cookies, which reduces privacy concerns.
4.5.2 Disabling Cookies in Netscape
1. Open Netscape.
2. From the menu bar, select “Edit” and then “Preferences.”
3. The “Preferences” window will open.
4. From left side of the “Preferences” window, select the “Advanced” category.
5. Select the checkbox labeled “Accept only cookies that get sent back to the originating
server” or (on earlier versions) “Only accept cookies originating from the same server as
the page being viewed.” To turn off cookies completely, select “Do not accept or send
6. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the dialog window.
4.5.3 Removing Cookies in Netscape
Netscape 6. Use the menu sequence Tasks > Privacy and Security > Cookie Manager, then
select “Remove cookies.”
Netscape 4.x. It is recommended that the Netscape 4.x application be terminated before
conducting these procedures. There are two options for deleting cookies with Netscape 4.x
1. Use “Search” from the “Start” menu to locate the file called “cookies.txt”, then edit this
file (use Wordpad or Notepad for Windows systems).
2. Delete all lines except the first line that says “Do not edit.”
Delete the “cookies.txt” file and let the Netscape browser re-create it when needed.
4.5.4 Disabling Cookies in Internet Explorer
1 . Open Internet Explorer.
2. From the Internet Explorer menu bar, select “Tools” and then “Internet Options.”
3. The “Internet Options” window will open. From this window, select the “Security” tab.
4. Select “Internet” by clicking on the picture of a globe.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
5. Once Internet has been selected, click on the “Custom Level” button.
6. This will open the “Security Settings” Window.
7. From this Window, scroll down until you see the “Cookies” section.
8. Directly below this there will be a subsection entitled “Allow cookies that are stored on
your computer.”
9. Select “Disable” from the subsection.
10. Directly below this there will be another subsection “Allow per-session cookies (not
1 1. Select “Disable” from the subsection.
12. Click “OK” at the bottom of the ” Security Settings” window.
13. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Internet Options” window.
4.5.5 Removing Cookies in Internet Explorer
IE version 6. Use the menu sequence Tools > Internet Options, then select “Delete cookies.”
IE version 5.x. The process for removing cookies in older versions of Internet Explorer
requires knowledge of several directories and operating system files. If done improperly the
browser may become unstable. Knowledgeable users should consult their system
ao^ministrator for instructions on how to remove cookies from IE.
4.5.6 Applications for Control of Cookies
There are a number of free and low-cost applications available that assist users in controlling
and removing cookies on their computer as shown is Table 4. 1 . These programs give users
more options than those available through web browser settings.
Table 4.1: Cookie Management and Removal Tools
Web Site
Cruncher 2. 11
Differentiates between AOL, EE, and
Netscape cookies.
AOL 3,4;
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
Crusher 2.1
Intercepts cookies before they are
stored on your hard disk, and
provides session statistics on most
cookie types.
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
Cookie Cutter
PC 2.61
Deletes all cookies or selects
individual cookies for deletion or
retention. It can also search a hard
disk for cookies.
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
PC Cookie Pal
It handles IE4 shell integration,
monitors current sessions, and lets
cookies to be accepted or rejected on
a session basis.
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Wcu oiie
Drowse rs
Cookie Server
http://www. ne vvfan pled, san-
Manages persistent cookies and
cookies in communication flow. It
multiple browser profiles in
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
4 08- Onpra
Single-screen interface with limited
dialogs. Cookies can be detected
automatically or manually,
individually or en masse.
IE3, IE4, IE5;
Navigator 3.x,
Internet Proxies
Another method of increasing security and privacy is by using a third-party proxy service that
allows users to surf the web and e-mail anonymously. Depending on the service, proxies
provide additional security features such as:
â–  Encryption of web pages
â–  Protection from cookies
â–  Removal of scripts and other executable code (ActiveX, Java, etc.) embedded in web
pages and e-mail.
Many of these services are available free of charge or for a nominal charge.
When a proxy is used to surf the web, all requests for web pages are made to the proxy server.
The server then requests the web page on behalf of the end user. After receiving the page, the
proxy forwards it to the end user (sometimes encrypted). This process provides several
benefits. The web server that provides the requested content only “sees” the proxy; it does not
“see” the end user and thus cannot record or track the end user. Information transmitted from
the proxy to the user may be encrypted and, therefore, cannot be intercepted. (The traffic
between proxy and the target web server is not generally encrypted unless the target web
server offers encryption.) The proxy server can also analyze the content of the page prior to
forwarding it and can be configured to delete any cookie programs or active code that may be
embedded in the page. Note that encrypting proxies may be incompatible with the
organization’s firewall and virus protection. If e-mail is encrypted in transit to and from the
central office mail server, the server’s virus protection software will not be able to detect the
presence of viruses or other malicious files or attachments. Figure 4.3 depicts the proxy
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Figure 4.3: Web Proxy Example
Before choosing a proxy service, it is important to understand the features that the service
â–  What is the cost?
â–  Does the service provide encryption between your computer and the proxy server?
â–  Does it offer the option of removing ActiveX, Java, and JavaScript?
â–  How are cookies handled (e.g., block all, block only profiling, or delete after each
â–  Is it compatible with the web sites you frequent?
Although useful, proxy services have limitations. Performance can be an issue since the
additional overhead of a proxy can slow access. The degradation in performance is
generally due to encryption and the extra “step” of going through the proxy. Some web
sites block proxy servers from accessing their content. Even when access is granted,
proxies can be incompatible with certain web sites. Sites with significant interactive
content and dynamically generated pages are less likely to be compatible with a proxy.
Table 4.2 lists commonly used third-party proxy services. Services and costs associated
with these proxies change frequently.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Table 4.2: Web Proxy Services
p n r* n/nt i on
i Hid O
â– /
Ponoi 10
â– /
Summary Recommendations
Web browsers should be configured to limit vulnerability to intrusions. Because they represent
a threat of compromise, web browsers require some additional configuration beyond the
default-installed configuration. Browser plugins should be limited to only those required by
the end user. Active code should be disabled or used only in conjunction with trusted sites.
The browser should always be updated to the latest or most secure version. Privacy is always a
concern with web browsers, particularly the use of cookies and monitoring of web browsing
habits of users by third parties. The range of options for addressing cookies includes disabling
or selective removal using a variety of third-party applications or built-in browser features.
Internet proxies that encrypt all data protect home web surfers from monitoring and allow
them to use both the web and e-mail anonymously.
10 Ponoi presently supports only Windows machines that are running Internet Explorer 5.0 or later.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
5 Securing PC Configurations
Information security risks can be broadly categorized into the following three types:
confidentiality, integrity, and availability (which can be remembered with the mnemonic
Confidentiality refers to the need to keep information secure and private. For most users, this
category includes confidential memoranda, financial information, and security information
such as passwords. A personal computer (PC) used as a home office computer may also
contain company proprietary information or trade secrets.
Integrity of information means that information remains unaltered by unauthorized users. For
example, most users want to ensure that bank account numbers cannot be changed by anyone
else, or that passwords are changed only by the user or an authorized security administrator.
Availability refers to the notion that information be available for use when needed. The
previously described denial of service attacks were assaults on the availability of web servers
owned by large commercial enterprises. For broadband users, concern for availability includes
both ensuring that their own systems are not disabled by intruders, as well as preventing
intruders from hijacking systems for use in attacks against other systems.
Vulnerabilities can arise in a number of ways, including system configuration problems,
software defects, and errors. Default configurations for most PCs are insecure. While this
presents less of a problem for dial-up connections where users have reduced exposure to risk, a
default configuration should be avoided. Certain simple configuration options can make a big
difference in reducing system vulnerability.
5.1 Strong Passwords
So many computer tasks involve passwords that it is essential to develop a habit of choosing
passwords that are not easily guessed or cracked. Password cracking programs are widely
available on the Internet. Cracking programs use a dictionary of thousands of words and
names, seeking to find one that the user has selected for a password. Dictionaries of 500,000
passwords have been reported, and an intruder can try all of them in an overnight run.
Common names of people or pets are the first passwords tried, because they are frequently
used as passwords. Ordinary words are tried next, followed by words and names with one or
two digits tacked on at the end. Use at least eight characters, including two or more digits, and
special characters. Digits and characters should be placed in random positions between letters,
not just at the beginning or end. Also password crackers will attempt common substitutions of
numbers and characters for letters (e.g., h4ckm3 for hackme, r@ts for rats, pOOl for pool, etc.).
A complicated password may be harder to remember, so most users will keep a written record
of their passwords. This practice is much safer for the telecommuter than it might be in an
office, since normally strangers will not have access to your home office.
52 Securing File and Printer Sharing
Both Windows and Macintosh operating systems have file and printer sharing features that
allow complete access to files and printers from other machines on a local area network.
While appropriate for a secure private network, these features are extremely helpful to an
attacker if accessible from the Internet. For example, an intruder could modify or delete files
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
and eventually compromise a system. The simplest (and most secure) solution to mitigate this
vulnerability is to disable these features. In certain cases, a cable modem or DSL provider will
disable these options when the connection is installed, but users should verify that this has been
done and make corrections as required.
Disabling file and printer sharing for Windows 95/98/Millennium Edition (ME)
1 . From the “Start” menu, choose “Settings” > “Control Panel”.
2. Click on the “Network” icon and a window will appear.
3. Click on the “Configuration” button.
4. Click on the “File and Print Sharing” button.
5. Ensure that “I want to be able to give others access to my files” check box is unchecked.
6. Ensure that “I want to be able to allow others to print from my printers” check box is
7. Click the “OK” button, then the “OK” button again on the next panel for any changes to
take effect. The computer does not need to be restarted.
Disabling file and printer sharing for Windows 2000/XP
1 . From the Windows Desktop click on the “My Network Places” icon using the right mouse
2. From the “Network and Dial-up Connections” window that appears, double click on
“Local Area Connection.”
3 . Click on “Properties.”
4. From the “Local Area Connection Properties” window that appears, scroll down to “File
and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks” and ensure that the check box next to this
item is unchecked (if the item does not appear, then file and printer sharing had not been
enabled which is also secure).
5. Click the “OK” button and close the next panel for the changes to take effect.
Disabling file and printer sharing for Macintosh.
1 . Open “Sharing Setup” control panel.
2. In the “File Sharing” section of the window, ensure that file sharing is off.
3. A dialog box will appear with text stating: “How many minutes until file sharing is
disabled?” Enter “0” and click “OK”
Reducing Operating System and Application Vulnerabilities
Failure to keep operating system and application software up to date is the most common
mistake made by both telecommuters and information system professionals. Unfortunately,
despite extensive testing, operating systems and applications are released with errors in the
software that affect security, performance, and stability. These bugs are generally discovered
only after a large number of users begin using the software and hackers attempt to compromise
it. Once a bug is discovered, the software manufacturer often releases a piece of software to
fix the bug. This software is often called a patch, hotfix, or service pack.
Unfortunately, despite the importance of keeping software up to date, many users and
professional system administrators do not install the latest patches. The Code Red worm
exploited a vulnerability that was well known and for which a patch already existed. It was the
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
failure of web server administrators to upgrade their servers that greatly contributed to the
virulence of Code Red.
Until recently, applying patches was not user-friendly. Manufacturers have made this process
easier by allowing users to download fixes from their web sites, including detailed instructions,
and at times partially automating the process for ease of use.
.1 Operating System Updates
Linux. Linux updates can be found at a variety of Internet sites, but a reliable site must be
selected. Generally, downloads should be taken from the distributor of your particular version
of Linux.
â–  Red Hat: http://www.redhat.com/apps/download/
â–  Mandrake: htrp://www.linux-mandrakc.con”i/en/securitv/
â–  SuSE: http://www.suse.de/en/support/download 7
â–  VA: http://www.valinux.com/support/
Macintosh. Apple offers an automated process for updating the Mac operating system
through a Software Update feature. Patches and updates are also provided at
Windows 95. To find updates for the Windows 95 operating system, visit
Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP. To update Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, click on the “Start”
button and select “Windows Update.” This is shown in Figure 5.1. This will launch Microsoft
Internet Explorer, which will connect to the Windows Update web site
(http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/). This site will ascertain what patches are required for
your system. You can then download the patches you require. After the download, the
patches will automatically install on your system. For systems that require several patches, it
may be necessary to repeat this process several times as the patches may need to be installed
sequentially (the update site will alert you if this required). The Windows Update will also
update most other applications included with the Windows operating system including
Explorer, Media Player, and NetMeeting.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
MtivCf fret Doeyrwot
Wnd”o«w Update
! Jjyi Shut Down…
Figure 5.1: Windows Update Feature
See Appendix C for more information on using the Windows Update feature.
5.3.2 Application Updates
Although there are limited network vulnerabilities associated with most applications (with the
exception of web browsers and e-mail programs), you should keep applications current.
Microsoft Office. Microsoft provides a web based automated update process for most
versions of Microsoft Office at http://office.mictosoft.com/productupdates/ .
Word Perfect® Office. Updates for the Word Perfect Office suite and other Corel products
can be found at http.V/vvww.corel.com/suppott/’dowTtloads/index.htm .
5.3.3 Browser Updates
As one of the most widely used applications, web browsers can be a significant source of
security vulnerabilities. Browser weaknesses are rapidly shared by hackers via the Internet
when they are discovered, and the presence of web browsers on almost every PC makes them
a popular target. Because a web browser’s primary purpose is to communicate with other
machines, they are exposed to greater risks. Software manufacturers release new browsers and
patches regularly, and most security flaws are corrected in new releases, so most vulnerabilities
can be avoided by periodically downloading the latest patch or browser version. The patches
and versions are provided at the following sites:
â–  Microsoft Explorer: http.//wv\’w.microsoft.com/dowiiloads; /
â–  Mozilla: http.7/www.mozilla.com/
â–  Netscape Navigator®: http://home.netscapc.com 7 – click on “Downloads”
■ Opera®: http:/Avww.opera.coiTi/support/ (free and paid versions)
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Anti Virus Software
Nearly all computer systems are susceptible to viruses, Trojan horses, and worms 1 1 if they are
connected to the Internet, use removable media (e.g., floppy disks and CD-ROMs), allow
unsupervised access to users, or use shareware or pirated software (warez).
A computer virus is a string of code developed that purposely attaches itself to another
computer program or document. Once it is attached, it replicates itself by using some of the
resources of the co-opted program or document to replicate and attach itself to other host
programs and documents. Three categories of viruses are prominent:
â–  File Infectors work by attaching themselves to program files, such as word processors and
computer games. When the user runs an infected program, the virus adds itself to the
computer memory so that it can infect other programs the user runs. File infectors had
been the most common type of virus but are nearly “extinct” due to changes in operating
system design.
â–  Boot Sector Viruses locate themselves in a specific part of the hard disk or floppy disk
called the boot sector. Thus they are loaded into memory when the computer first boots
up. Once in memory, the boot sector viruses can infect any hard disk and floppy accessed
by the user. With the advent of more modem operating systems and a great reduction in
users sharing floppies, there has been a major reduction in this type of virus. These are
now relatively uncommon.
â–  Macro Viruses are the most successful because they attach themselves to documents
rather than to disks or programs, and users share the former far more often than the latter.
Macro viruses can infect multiple platforms (e.g., Windows and Macintosh). They are
currently the most dangerous of all viruses because they are common and spread rapidly.
Malicious code is not limited to viruses; there are several other types of malicious code that are
generally detected by anti virus software even though the code is not strictly speaking a virus.
Other categories of malicious code include:
â–  Worms are a type of malicious code particular to networked computers. They are self-
replicating programs (unlike viruses which need a host program) that work their way
through a computer network exploiting vulnerable hosts, replicating and causing whatever
harm they were programmed to accomplish.
â–  Trojan Horses, or Trojans are designed to fool a user into thinking that they are benign.
A Trojan horse is a program placed on a system by a hacker or installed unknowingly by
the user that conducts malicious actions while hiding or pretending to do something
â–  Malicious Mobile Code is a relatively recent development that has grown with the
increased use of web browsers. Mobile code is used by many web sites to add
functionality. This code is legitimate and includes ActiveX, JavaScript, and Java.
Unfortunately, although it was initially designed to be secure, mobile code has
vulnerabilities that allow entities to create malicious programs. A user can infect a
computer with malicious mobile code just by visiting a web site.
1 1 These are all examples of malicious computer code (programs) that are sometimes collectively referred to as
viruses even though they operate quite differently.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
The impact of a virus, worm, Trojan horse, or malicious mobile code can be as harmless as a
pop-up message on the computer screen or as destructive as deletion of all the files on a hard
drive. Any malicious code increases the risk of exposing or destroying sensitive or
confidential information.
Many anti virus applications are available to detect viruses, Trojan horses and worms
contained in e-mails, floppies, CD-ROMs, hard disks, and documents. Certain anti virus
applications also detect malicious mobile code from web sites. No matter what type of virus
detection program is being used, it cannot provide full protection unless it has an up-to-date
virus identification database (sometimes called virus signatures) that allows it to recognize
known viruses. If the virus detection program is not up-to-date, it will not be able to recognize
a new virus. To detect viruses, anti virus software compares file contents with the known
computer virus signatures, identifies infected files, and repairs them if possible or quarantines
(blocks access) them if not. More sophisticated programs also look for virus-like activity in an
attempt to identify new or “mutated” viruses that would not be recognized by the current virus
detection database. While not perfect, this feature can provide an additional layer of protection
with the cost of occasional false positives.
5.4. 1 Recommended Anti Virus Software Configuration
All computers should have an anti virus program installed. Today, viruses represent a greater
threat than previously. However, if the anti virus program is not properly configured, it cannot
offer full protection. Ensure that the anti virus software is configured to:
â–  Initialize with the boot of the operating system (enabling it to scan the “boot sector” and
other critical system files).
â–  Run in the background and automatically scan all incoming files (e.g., downloaded files,
mail, HTTP, FTP), files loaded from removable media (e.g., floppy, CD-ROM, Zip) and
files copied or loaded from the local area network (e.g., LAN share drives, file server).
This option is often called “Auto-Protect”, “Auto-Detect”, or other similar names.
â–  Enable web or browser protection. While not all anti virus programs offer this feature, it
should be enabled if available, as it offers protection against malicious mobile code that is
sometimes included with content from certain web sites.
â–  Automatically update virus signatures on a weekly basis. If this option is unavailable, then
the signatures should be updated manually on a weekly basis. When there is an outbreak
of a particularly virulent virus, it is wise to update immediately to protect your system
from the virus.
â–  Attempt to recognized unknown or “mutated” viruses not contained in the virus signature
database file. This feature is often called SmartScan, Heuristic Scan, etc.
5.5 Protecting Yourself from E-mail Worms and Viruses
Computer worms and viruses spread by e-mail and other means are becoming a common
hazard for users. As discussed previously, the term “virus” usually applies to executable code
that attaches itself to other programs. A “worm” is spread primarily through e-mail, but may
also travel through file sharing software (such as Gnutella and Napster), instant messaging, and
web file downloads. Malicious e-mail attachments such as the “love bug” (or “I love you”)
and “Melissa” viruses routinely make headlines. Some of these programs are merely
nuisances, spreading copies of themselves to as many users as possible. Others are truly
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
malicious, deleting files or reformatting PC disk drives. The “Magistr” virus/worm was
designed to overwrite the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) and Flash
Basic Input Output System (BIOS) of PCs; once these are damaged, it becomes impossible to
even reboot the machine. Both types are damaging; even the nuisance viruses cost money for
companies and government agencies that must dedicate resources to removing them.
Most organizations have installed defenses against viruses in their internal systems. E-mail
with suspicious executable attachments is rejected at the corporate firewall, virus scanners are
used on e-mail that is accepted, and desktop systems have additional anti virus software
installed. Telecommuting employees will have these same protections if their e-mail is sent
and received by the corporate server, but desktop protection is the user’s responsibility. Some
additional precautions can reduce the chance of damage resulting from malicious e-mail:
â–  Use desktop system security software. Install and configure a virus scanner to inspect e-
mail. If possible, obtain a virus scanner that automatically scans e-mail attachments.
Update the virus scanner at the beginning of each workweek, or use virus-scanning
software that automatically updates itself when you are connected to the Internet.
â–  Delete e-mail messages with attachments without opening them if received from an
unfamiliar source. Develop the habit of reviewing e-mail subject lines and removing
questionable messages before starting to read the body of the e-mail. Virus creators rely
on users to open the first in a list of e-mails, then blindly clicking “next” to step through
them one by one. Once the user has opened the malicious e-mail, it is too late to prevent
â–  Even if you recognize the sender of a message, do not open it if it seems suspicious. A
number of users avoided the “love bug” because the subject line-“I love you” was
obviously questionable when received from a business associate. Remember that e-mail
viruses propagate by replicating and sending copies to everyone in an infected host’s e-
mail address book.
Spyware Removal Tools
Spyware is an application installed on a user’s PC by manufacturers and/or market research
companies that communicates with its home site usually without the user’s knowledge.
Spyware programs have been discovered to be installed with some shareware or freeware
programs, children’s games, and by certain web sites. Users are often not notified of this
hidden functionality, or it may be buried in the license agreement. News reports have accused
various spyware programs of inventorying software on the user’s system, collecting or
searching for private information, and then periodically sending the information back to the
home site. Uninstalling the software that delivered the spyware often does NOT remove the
spyware itself, although removing spyware often disables the application that installed it.
Spyware can gather just about any type of information on users that the computer has stored.
The most common type of spyware is installed by shareware/freeware programs that are
supported by advertisers. In this instance, the spyware application monitors where the user
goes on the Internet and sends this information back to the company that created it (generally
for marketing purposes).
Spyware is not readily detectable by the average user and can be difficult to remove.
However, programs have been developed to assist the user in this process. Please note that the
removal of spyware may have an adverse effect on the program that installed it. This tends to
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
be the case more often for shareware/freeware applications than for commercial applications.
There are two types of spyware removal programs: those created by a spyware company to
remove their particular application and those that are created by third parties. Two freely
available spyware removal tools are listed in Table 5.1.
Table 5.1: Spyware Removal Tools
Web Site
Detects and Removes
Adware, Alexa 1.0-5.0, Aureate 1.0-3.0, Comet
Cursor 1.0-2.0, Cydoor, Doubleclick, DSSAgent,
EverAd, EzUla, Expedioware, Flyswat, Gator, Hotbar
1.0-2.0 OnFlow, NewDotNet, TimeSink 1 .0-2.0 and
5.0, Web3000, Webhancer
Does not remove the spyware software but blocks its
access to the Internet This is useful if you need the
functionality of a spyware-enabled product but do not
want to be spied on.
A number of companies have created programs specifically for removing the spyware they
developed. Table 5.2 lists some of these (free).
Table 5.2: Specific Spyware Removal Tools
Mattel (The Learning
Interactive broadcast
Aureate and Radiate
There are also several databases of known shareware/freeware programs that include spyware.
You can download one of these programs to check whether or not the program you are
considering installing contains a known spyware program (see Table 5.3).
Table 5.3: Spyware Databases
Spy Chaser
Encryption Software to Protect Privacy
Encryption is one of the most powerful methods of protecting data. It is the process of making
decipherable information indecipherable through a sophisticated mathematical conversion
process. Decryption takes encrypted information and makes it comprehensible again. There
are three components to the encryption/decryption process.
1 . The information to be encrypted/decrypted.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
2. The mathematical encryption/decryption process (the encryption algorithm). The
encryption/decryption process is publicly known; the security of data encrypted with a
public algorithm depends on the strength of the mathematical process and the encryption
key. The advantage of publicly available algorithms such as NIST’s Data Encryption
Standard (DES) and new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is that they have been
scrutinized extensively by some of the world’s best cryptographers, so you have greater
assurance of the encryption scheme’s strength.
3. The encryption/decryption key(s). The encryption/decryption key(s) are data string that are
mathematically combined with the information (clear or encrypted) by the algorithm to
produce the opposite version of the data (encrypted or clear).
There are two primary types of encryption: secret key (symmetric) encryption and public key
(asymmetric) encryption. Secret key encryption is the traditional method of encryption. In
this type of encryption, the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the message. The single
key has to be kept secret in order for the encryption to be secure as any party with the key can
decrypt the data. This is the method that has been used for centuries by military and
government organizations. Figure 5.2 shows a secret key encryption and decryption process.
User A encrypts using an User B decrypts using secret
encryption/decryption key he shares with encryption/decryption key she
User B shares with User A
Secret Secret
User A User B
Figure 5.2: Secret Key (Symmetric) Encryption
The greatest limitation with secret key encryption is the requirement to keep the key secret.
For example, how do two parties who wish to communicate securely exchange a secret key
without compromising it? On traditional military and governmental systems, there are secure
and dedicated channels for secure key transmission. On the Internet, however, there is no
secure channel to transmit a secret key securely. Another problem with secret key encryption
is that you need a secret key for each party with whom you wish to communicate. If a secret
key is shared with more than one party, those parties could eavesdrop on communications not
intended for them but that employ the same key. This limitation becomes critical if you wish
to communicate securely with more than a few parties. For example, if you wished to
communicate with 100 users securely, you would need 100 keys and each of those people in
turn would need 100 keys.
Public key encryption addresses these limitations. With public key encryption there are two
keys. One key is used to encrypt the data, and the other is used to decrypt the data. The key
that is used to encrypt cannot decrypt the data and vice versa. Now a secure channel is no
longer required to transmit the encryption key. Since the key that encrypts cannot decrypt, it
can be sent over an unsecured channel. Even if a malicious third-party intercepts the
encryption key, it cannot use it to decrypt messages. Only the second key, which is kept
private, is able to decrypt the message. Also, since you can freely share your public key with
more than one party (since it cannot be used to decrypt), each party needs only two keys (one
public and one private) to communicate with multiple parties securely. E-commerce and most
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
secure communications over the Internet could not take place without public key encryption.
Most Internet secure encryption schemes rely on hybrid schemes that employ both secret and
public key encryption. Figure 5.3 provides an example of public key encryption.
User A encrypts using the public key of the User B decrypts using her own
intended recipient (User B). private key.
User A UserB
Notes: 1. The public key and private key are mathematically related numerical values.
2. Security depends upon the secrecy of the pnvate keys and the authenticity of the public keys.
Figure 5.3: Pubiic Key (Asymmetric) Encryption
Encryption is important for both data transmission and data storage. Encryption is critical for
transmission whenever sensitive data is being transmitted over an insecure network such as the
Internet. Encryption is important for storage whenever the data is subject to compromise. It is
wise to encrypt stored data when a machine is shared between multiple users and for laptops
that are often a target for thieves (encryption will not get your laptop back, but it will protect
the data from compromise).
There are many commercial and freeware products available that will allow you to encrypt e-
mail and data on hard disks. Many new operating systems include a hard disk encryption
feature as standard. Encryption products are increasingly easy to use and should be considered
for situations where sensitive and critical data are subject to compromise.
Before using encryption, there are limitations to consider. You need to appropriately secure
your encryption key, or the key and encrypted data are subject to compromise. To secure
encryption, it is generally most secure to store the key on removable media that can be
protected with a strong password. If the key is stored on the hard drive with the encrypted
data, a strong password becomes critical. Also, encrypted data can complicate data backup
and restoration. For example, if the key is not backed up, the backed up data is useless.
A wide variety of different encryption products is available. NIST maintains a list of
cryptographic modules that have been validated to conform to Federal Information Processing
Standard (FIPS) 140-2 (see httpi/Vcsrc.nist.gov/crvptvaLQ . This standard is applicable to all
Federal agencies that use cryptographic-based security systems to protect sensitive unclassified
information in computer and telecommunication systems (including voice systems). Effective
July 1, 2002, all commercially available cryptographic modules processing national security
information are also required to conform to FIPS 140-2 requirements.
Some products and protocols provide encryption only during storage of data (e.g., saving to a
hard disk, floppy, or CD-RW). One example is Microsoft’s Encrypting File System (EFS),
which is included with Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP. These products encrypt the data as
it is stored onto media. This means that even if an attacker compromises a host via a remote
attack or is in physical possession of the media, they will be unable to read the encrypted data,
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
provided the keys are not stored on the system. However, these products and protocols do not
provide a means to protect data as it is being transmitted from one location to another. It is
also important to ensure that there is a safe and secure method to recover the data if the person
holding the key loses it. The corporate office should have some means of key recovery or data
recovery to prevent potential loss of valuable data.
Other products encrypt data only during transmission (e.g., an e-mail or web communication).
When data is encrypted during transmission, the data at each end of the transmission is
unencrypted but encryption is applied just prior to transmission. These products are useful for
transmitting data across unsecured communications links. An attacker intercepting the data
will be unable to decrypt and read the message. However, these products do not protect the
data once it has been received, so a hacker may attack the repository where the data is received
and stored. Examples of these types of products and protocols are Secure Multipurpose
Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL).
Some products combine both of these capabilities. A commonly used example is Pretty Good
Privacy (PGP) 12 , which provides the ability to encrypt e-mails and data stored on media such
as hard disks. The software you choose should be based on your personal requirements and
what products or protocols that are support by your organization. For example, Virtual Private
Network (VPN) client software provides some or all of the capabilities discussed above and
may be provided by your organization. For federal agencies, PGP has been approved under
FIPS 140, but only in FIPS mode using triple DES.
Summary Recommendations
Operating system configuration options should be selected to increase security. The default
configuration of most home operating systems is generally inadequate from a security
standpoint. File and printer sharing should almost always be disabled The operating system
and major applications should be updated to the latest and most secure version or patch level.
All home computers should have an anti virus program installed and configured to scan all
incoming files and e-mails. The anti virus program should have its virus database updated on a
regular basis. Another concern for many telecommuters is the surreptitious installation of
spyware by certain software applications. While normally not intended to be malicious, this
spyware reports information on a user (generally without their knowledge) back to a third
party. This information could be information about their system or their web browsing habits.
There are now a variety of programs available for detecting and removing this spyware.
l2 See The International PGP Home Page http://www.pgpi.org/
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
6 Home Networking Technologies
According to International Data Corp. (IDC), by the end of 2000 about half of all U.S.
households owned a computer, and more than 20 million of those owned more than one. In
fact, market research shows that current PC owners are buying most of the new computers.
This means that multi-computer households are becoming fairly common. Linking multiple
computers on a network introduces new security considerations. For example, previous
chapters explained reasons to turn off file and print sharing capabilities for an individual PC on
a broadband connection. If a home network is set up, users may want to be able to share files
and printers across the network. This section discusses methods of setting up these and other
network services securely.
Many of these multiple-PC households have, or soon will have, a home network that will
allow the multiple computers to communicate. Home networking permits:
â–  Sharing a single printer between computers
â–  Sharing a single Internet connection
â–  Sharing files such as images, spreadsheets, and documents
â–  Playing games that allow multiple users to participate in the game from different
â–  Transnutting the output of a device like a DVD player or webcam to other computers.
There are several different technologies for networking home computers. Each has its own
strengths and weaknesses that will be discussed in greater detail below. The most popular
techniques for home networking include:
â–  Wire your house with data cables (e.g., Ethernet)
â–  Link through existing home phone wiring.
â–  Link computers through existing home power lines
â–  Install wireless networking (e.g., 802. 1 lb)
Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. All of these methods require
configuring computers to share printers, files, Internet connection, and to set up a particular
level of security. Particular types of home network technologies may require the installation of
wiring and/or additional hardware inside the computer.
6.1 Ethernet Networking
Ethernet is the most popular networking system available today. The equipment needed for an
Ethernet-based network can be as simple as two network interface cards (NICs) and a cable or
as complex as multiple routers, bridges, and hubs. It is this versatility that makes it useful to
businesses and telecommuters.
Ethernet is available in three speeds: 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps (FastEthemet), and 1 Gbps. Most
commonly available NICs are capable of operating at either 10Mbps or 100Mbps speeds, but
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
check to be sure before purchasing. If the network infrastructure will support their use, 100-
Mbps data rate NICs are recornmended, as the cost difference is minimal.
There are two different methods to connect Ethernet cards: coaxial cable (similar to TV cable)
and Category 5 cabling. Coax was once the more popular of the two, but today almost all
installations use Category 5 because it is easier to configure. Category 5 uses a cable that
resembles a telephone cable. A cable runs from each computer and connects to a hub. A basic
hub for a home network is a small box that typically costs from $30 to $100 (depending on its
speed and how many connections it can support). The hub takes the signal from each
computer and sends it to all of the other computers connected to it. Hubs come in several
sizes, indicated by the number of ports available — a four-port hub can connect four computers,
an eight-port hub can connect up to eight computers, and so on. A cable/DSL router/hardware
firewall usually has a four-port Ethernet hub built in. Section 3 of this document contains
information on personal firewalls.
To connect the computers, an Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Category 5 cable is needed. This
type of cabling is designed to handle the 100-Mbps speed needed by FastEthernet. The RJ-45
connector at the end of the cable looks very similar to the RJ-1 1 connector on a phone cord but
is slightly bigger (and not compatible). You can buy Category 5 cables in standard lengths
with the connectors attached. If you install Category 5 cabling in the walls of your house, the
cable can be purchased in rolls, cut to length, and connected to special RJ-45 wall boxes.
Unless you have done this type of installation before, you will probably want to hire a
If you are comfortable running the cables along the floor, you can install an Ethernet network
for two computers in your home for $100 or less, which includes the cost of two Ethernet
cards, a small hub and two cables. Each additional computer will cost about $30 to $40 to
connect using inexpensive network cards. (Note: If you want to connect just two computers,
you can avoid the hub and buy what is called a crossover Category 5 cable. With a crossover
cable, you directly connect one NIC card to the other without a hub. This only works for two
computers. To connect more than two, you will need a hub.)
Ethernet has many advantages:
â–  Fastest home-networking technology (up to 100 Mbps)
â–  Relatively inexpensive (if the computers are in the same room or appropriate wiring is
already installed in your home)
â–  Extremely reliable
â–  Easy to maintain
â–  Supports a large number of devices on a network
â–  Supports nearly all types of computers and operating systems
â–  Widely available technical support and information.
Ethernet also has a number of disadvantages:
â–  Additional equipment (e.g., hub, switch, router, etc.) required when connecting more than
two computers.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  Expensive if wiring and jacks need to be installed.
â–  Set-up and configuration can be difficult.
â–  Installation on desktop machines often requires that the computer cover be removed,
which can be intimidating for some users.
â–  Technical jargon and the number of options can be confusing for beginners.
Phone-Line Networking
Phone-line networking is easy to install, inexpensive, and fast, and does not require any
additional wiring since it uses your house’s existing telephone wiring for computer
networking. Phone-line networking, most commonly referred to as HomePNA, is based on
the specifications developed by the Home Phone Networking Alliance (HPNA). The HPNA is
a consortium of key networking technology companies that created a phone-line standard for
the networking industry. HPNA 1.0, the original version of the standard, operated at 1 Mbps.
The current specification, HPNA 2.0, is based on improved technology and operates at a faster
10 Mbps (comparable to regular Ethernet).
HomePNA uses a method known as frequency-division multiplexing (FDM). FDM puts
computer data on frequencies separate from the voice signals being carried by the phone line.
FDM separates the extra signal space on a typical phone-line into distinct data channels by
splitting it into uniform chunks of bandwidth. To better understand FDM, think of radio
stations — each station sends its signal at a different frequency within the available band. In
HomePNA, voice and data travel on the same wires without interfering with each other. In
fact, a standard phone-line has enough room to support voice, a high-speed DSL modem, and a
home phone-line network.
HomePNA adapters come in two versions: internal card (PCI) or external universal serial bus
(USB). You can buy kits consisting of HomePNA cards for two computers, an installation CD,
and all the necessary cables. The actual cost of implementing HomePNA depends primarily on
the type of interface you buy for each computer, since PCI cards cost less than USB adapters.
If you plan to use a laptop computer that does not have a USB port, you can either buy a USB-
to-PCMCIA adapter or get a parallel-port USB adapter. USB interfaces have the advantage
that they do not require opening your computer(s) to install a card.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when you set up a HomePNA network. First,
most analog communication devices, such as telephones and fax machines, create signal noise.
A little signal noise probably will not affect HomePNA traffic, but a lot of it could slow down
or even stop network traffic. If you install a HomePNA network and your computers have
trouble communicating, try inserting a low-pass filter between any phones or fax machines and
their respective jacks. The low-pass filter will block noise without impeding the performance
of your phone or fax . You can find these filters at most electronics stores.
Also, electrical fields generated by powered communication devices, such as cordless phones
or fax machines, can introduce another type of signal noise. A different type of low-pass filter,
inserted between the electrical wall outlet and the power cord for the device, can fix this
The last potential issue is rare but much harder to fix. If you have a very large home or one that
has been renovated several times, you may have too much wiring between computers. All of
this wiring will weaken the signal, causing it to fade out and lose strength. The result is that not
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
enough of the signal remains when, and if, it reaches the other computer for that machine to
process it. If this is the case, then you will either have to move the computers closer together or
redo the wiring, at which point you may want to consider other home networking options.
HomePNA has several advantages:
â–  Easy installation
â–  Inexpensive
â–  Reliable
â–  Provides a consistent 1 0 Mbps even when phone and/or fax is in use.
â–  Requires no additional networking equipment (such as hubs or routers).
â–  Supports up to 25 devices.
â–  Provides enough bandwidth for most applications.
â–  Compatible with other networking technologies.
â–  Supports Linux, Macs, and all versions of Windows.
HomePNA also has several disadvantages:
â–  Requires a phone jack close to each computer
â–  While 10 Mbps is adequate for most applications, it is still ten times slower than Fast
Ethernet (100 Mbps)
â–  Physical limit of 1 ,000 feet of wiring between devices, and the overall area of coverage
should not exceed 10,000 square feet
â–  Will not work with the wiring in about one percent of U.S. homes
â–  Vulnerable to wiretapping at the outside connection to the house
â–  In rare instances can cause interference with regular voice telephone service.
Power-Line Networking
Power-line networking uses the electrical wiring that is already installed in homes to create a
network. Power-line networking, like telephone networking, is based on the concept of “no
new wires.” The convenience is even more obvious in this case because while not every room
has a phone jack, there will generally be an electrical outlet near a computer. Because it
requires no new wiring, and the network adds no cost to your electric bill, power-line
networking is often the most inexpensive method of connecting computers in different rooms.
The physical connection between each computer and the power-line network uses the
computer’s parallel port. A wall device is plugged directly into the electrical outlet (it will not
operate properly if plugged into a surge protector).
A parallel cable is plugged into the wall device and into the parallel port of the computer. The
power-line network must be the last item connected to the parallel port. For this reason, if you
have anything else connected to the parallel port, such as a scanner or Zip drive, it must have a
pass-through for the parallel port. Unless you have a second parallel port on your computer,
your printer must be connected to the network through a wall device of its own.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Once the physical connections are made, installation of the software is generally
straightforward. The software automatically detects all nodes (computers and printers) on the
network. Whether your Internet connection is by cable modem, DSL, or dial-up modem, the
included proxy server software allows you to share the Internet with your other computers.
You can easily add computers by simply plugging a new adapter in and installing the software.
Additional printers can be added using the printer plug-in adapter.
Power-line networking has several advantages:
â–  Inexpensive
â–  Employs existing electrical wiring (electric outlets are typically found in every room in a
â–  Easy to install.
Power-line networking has several disadvantages:
â–  Maximum speed of 10 Mbps instead of the 100Mbps provided by FastEthernet
â–  Performance can be impacted by home power usage or older wiring
â–  Supports only Windows-based computers
â–  Uses large wall devices to access an electrical outlet
â–  Requires that all data be encrypted for a secure network (network data can be transmitted
to other locations through the power lines leading from your house).
This segment of the home network market has seen significant change. Most new products
use technology created by Inari and the Home Plug Powerline Alliance. Information about
powerline networking products is available from the Inari web site (http://www.inari.com) and
Home Plug web site (http://www.homeplug.com).
6.4 Wireless Networking
Wireless networking is the fastest growing segment of the home networking market. Although
it tends to cost more, the convenience of installation (no wires) and the ability to stay
connected around the house and nearby yard is very attractive to telecommuters. There are
two wireless networking standards: HomeRF and EEEE 802. 1 1 b. Both offer different
capabilities and features. More detailed information on wireless network security is provided
inNIST Special Publication 800-48: “Wireless Network Security: 802.1 1, Bluetooth and
Handheld Devices.”
6.4.1 HomeRF
HomeRF is the current low-cost home wireless network. While its 1 .6 Mbps bandwidth is less
than that of the 10-1 1 Mbps speed of HomePNA 2.0, 802.1 lb, or even Ethernet, HomeRF 1.0
is still fast enough to allow transport of multiple MP3 audio streams while others on the
network surf the Internet. Because the cost difference between HomeRF and 802. 1 lb (see
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
below) is quickly eroding, the traditionally more expensive 802.1 lb alternative is a more
viable option for most users.
HomeRF was designed specifically as a low-cost technology for wireless home networking.
You do not need to use an access point with HomeRF networks, which is a cost savings
compared to 802. 1 lb. However, HomeRF’s 1 .6 Mbps bandwidth is a drawback, particularly
with 802.1 lb’s rapid drop in cost.
The HomeRF wireless network protocol is called the Shared Wireless Access Protocol
(SWAP), but is more commonly referred to as HomeRF. One of the main advantages of
HomeRF over 802. 1 lb is its capability to support four separate voice lines simultaneously. If
you are not going to use your home network for voice content, but for data, HomeRF has to be
compared to 802.1 lb on the basis of speed (bandwidth), cost, ease of installation, and
compatibility with other networks — and it currently falls short for demanding home network
For small home networks, HomeRF provides adequate performance with enough bandwidth to
conduct multiple high-bandwidth usage activities simultaneously. The actual data throughput
is closer to 1Mbps than 1.6Mbps, which is still adequate for applications that do not require
large amounts of bandwidth. The specification theoretically supports up to 127 users, though
manufacturers recommend no more than 10 users on a HomeRF network. If you have a
broadband Internet connection, you can share it on a HomeRF network via an Internet
Gateway, but if you have multiple simultaneous users and do heavy downloading or file
transfers, it is likely you will face bandwidth restrictions. In 2000 the FCC approved a higher
bandwidth, 10 Mbps for HomeRF’s SWAP specification.
HomeRF wireless networking has several advantages:
â–  Inexpensive
â–  Does not require any additional wiring
â–  Ease of installation.
HomeRF wireless networking has several disadvantages:
â–  Slower than most other options
â–  Security risks inherent in all wireless networks (see next section for information on
wireless networking security issues)
â–  Only supports Windows-based computers
â–  Subject to interference from other household devices
” Requires that all data be encrypted for a secure network (see section below on security
concerns of Wireless networks).
6.4.2 802.11 and 802.11b
If you are willing to invest the money in 802.1 lb components, you can move your PCs freely
throughout your home and yard without being disconnected from the network. You can also
add personal digital assistants (PDAs) to an 802. 1 lb network with adapters. The appeal of
802.1 lb technology is increasing as the price decreases.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Until recently, 802.1 lb wireless components have been prohibitively expensive for home use.
Now, however, prices are dropping rapidly. The current price for 802.1 lb network adapters is
approximately $100, with $75 a foreseeable target, and access points priced under $200 are
now common. Even though 802.1 lb wireless networking remains a relatively expensive
technology to install in a home network, the cost differential is not as great as it was
previously, which allows comparison on other features and benefits.
Setting up an 802.1 lb network is relatively easy, although the amount of difficulty is largely a
function of the software included with the network interface cards. Generally, the only step
necessary is changing the content of a single identification field in adapter set up software for
the 802. 1 lb device to be able to look for an access point and local network with which to
One issue that affects the use of 802.1 lb networks is the potential for interference by Bluetooth
wireless devices. The technology employed by 802.1 lb uses direct sequence spread spectrum
technology in the 2.4GHz radio frequency. Bluetooth is a 2.4GHz frequency hopping
technology used by certain portable devices, which allows Bluetooth devices within range (30
feet) to find each other. This becomes a problem when Bluetooth devices happen to hop on
the frequency currently being employed by an 802.1 lb device. The interference problem does
not cause the 802. 1 lb network to fail, but can degrade the performance. In some cases, users
might not notice, but in other instances, the effect of Bluetooth in the area could be a
significant problem. Several companies are working on solutions to this interference, but at this
time the interference problem has not been resolved.
Microwave ovens and 2.4GHz portable phone systems are other sources of interference with
802.1 lb networks. Generally maintaining 10 feet of distance between the access point and
offending device(s) can avoid these problems. Users may not be able to talk on a 2.4GHZ
phone near the computer when using 802. 1 lb networking.
Because the data transfer rate for an 802. 1 lb network is comparable to that of HomePNA 2.0
(current) 10Mbps rate and to Ethernet networks, deciding between the technologies does not
need to be governed by speed. You can stream DVD movies across a network at 10Mbps, but
that will not leave much bandwidth for other users. If you want to stream HDTV or
uncompressed video (which require approximately 20Mbps and 30Mbps, respectively) on
your network, Fast Ethernet will be required.
Using 802. 1 lb in conjunction with other network technologies is appealing, although the cost
will increase for mixed networks. If you already have a 10/100 or other variety Ethernet
network, you’ll find it easy to add a wireless network for remote (in the house) PCs, for
notebook PCs, and for PDAs that are compatible with PC Cards.
802.1 lb wireless networking has several advantages:
â–  Bandwidth capable of supporting most home networks
â–  Does not require additional wiring
â–  Ease of installation.
802.1 lb wireless networking has several disadvantages:
â–  Slower than Fast Ethernet
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  Requires strong encryption and continued vigilance to be secure
â–  Security risks inherent in all wireless networks
â–  May be subject to interference from other household devices.
Wireless Networking Security Issues 13
Because wireless networking broadcasts information that can be intercepted more easily than
wired communications, a number of security concerns should be carefully considered before
deciding on deployment of this technology. Hackers and malicious parties now regularly drive
around office parks and neighborhoods with laptops equipped with wireless network cards
attempting to connect to any discovered wireless networks (this practice is called “war-
driving”). There are now web sites that publish the locations of discovered wireless networks
(e.g., www.netstumbler.com). The range for many wireless devices for home use is 300 feet,
and this is growing as manufacturers introduce new products. Hackers often add larger
antennas to their wireless network cards to increase the reception range of their cards.
Unfortunately, a number of security vulnerabilities are associated with the 802.1 lb networking
â–  Service Set Identifier (SSU)) is sent “in the clear” (e.g., unencrypted). SSID is a
configurable identification that allows clients to communicate to the appropriate base
station. With proper configuration, only clients that are configured with the same SSID
can communicate with base stations having the same SSID. Unfortunately the Wireless
Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard employed by 802.1 lb does not encrypt the
SSID so if an attacker can receive your wireless network signal, it is only a matter of time
before they intercept your SSID. Once they have the SSID, they can generally connect to
your network unless other steps are taken (see section on mitigation techniques below).
â–  The current WEP encryption scheme is flawed. WEP can be configured in three possible
modes: no encryption, 40-bit encryption and 128 bit encryption. Obviously no encryption
is the weakest mode allowing anyone who can receive your wireless LAN signal to
intercept your data. WEP encryption has a number of vulnerabilities that allow attackers
to eventually compromise data encrypted only with WEP. Today, there are readily
available tools to automate the process of cracking WEP encryption. These tools take a lot
of network traffic (millions of packets) to get the WEP key. On most home networks, this
would take longer than most people are willing to wait. If the network is very busy (as
might be true in an office), however, the WEP key can be cracked and obtained in as little
as 15 minutes.
â–  Many wireless base stations have Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
enabled. If the community string (essentially a password) for this service is not properly
configured, an intruder can potentially read and write sensitive data on the base station.
â–  All wireless technologies are subject to denial of services attacks. An attacker with the
proper equipment can easily flood the 2.4 GHz frequency with spurious transmissions so
that the wireless network ceases to function.
13 This section will focus on the 802. 1 lb, the most popular wireless networking protocol, but much of the discussion
will apply to other wireless networking technologies as well.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
In addition to the security risks inherent in wireless networks, most base stations are
configured in the least secure mode out of the box. This makes installation easier, but puts the
onus of security on the telecommuter installing the wireless network. Most base stations are
delivered in the least secure mode possible:
â–  Most wireless base stations have the SSID set to a default value. These are well known
and, if not changed, anyone who knows the default SSH) value can connect to your
wireless network.
â–  Many wireless base stations come configured in a “non-secure access mode”, which
allows any computer to connect to a base station with or without the appropriate SSID.
â–  Most wireless base stations come with WEP turned off; no encryption is being used. This
allows even casual attackers to monitor your wireless network traffic. Even though WEP
is weak, it should still be used as it impedes all but the most determined attackers.
â–  Most wireless base stations come configured with well-known default SNMP community
The above configurations introduce vulnerabilities that allow a number of different attacks to
be perpetrated:
â–  Connection of unauthorized hosts, typically a laptop or PDA, to your base station
(depends on configuration, see section below on mitigation techniques).
â–  Interception and monitoring of wireless traffic on your network (often even if encrypted)
â–  Hijacking existing sessions (e.g., it is possible for an expert attacker to take over a
unencrypted web based session).
â–  Denial of service attacks (overwhelm the radio frequencies employed by the wireless
network with spurious traffic).
â–  Attack of another wireless client directly, by bypassing base station. If a wireless client,
such as a laptop or desktop, is running TCP/IP services such as a web server or file
sharing, an attacker can exploit any misconfigurations or vulnerabilities of another client.
Although a wireless network can never be made as secure and robust as a wired network, there
are several steps that users can take to better secure their wireless network:
â–  Use additional encryption beyond WEP. For example, encrypted VPN, Secure Socket
Layer (SSL), and Secure Shell (SSH) traffic are all encrypted before transmission and
therefore are far less susceptible to compromise even if WEP encryption is not enabled or
has been compromised by an attacker.
â–  Enable 128 bit WEP encryption (see vendor documentation).
â–  Change SSID to a hard-to-guess password (include letters, numbers, and characters).
â–  Enable any additional authentication schemes supported by your base station. Two
common examples are authentication-based Media Access Control (MAC) address or
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
WEP authentication keys. If your wireless base station supports either of these protocols,
configure them according to your vendor’s documentation.
â–  Disable broadcasts of SSID in the wireless base station beacon message (see vendor
documentation). In most default configurations, the base station regularly broadcasts the
SSID making it much easier for an attacker to intercept the SSID. Even when disabled,
the wireless clients will transmit the SSID (albeit much less frequently), so a patient
attacker will eventually get the SSID.
â–  Disable SNMP on wireless base station and wireless client(s) (see vendor documentation).
SNMP allows for remote administration across the network, but for home use, it is safer to
manage controls using a direct connection to the base station. (See vendor documentation
for where to connect to USB or other port.)
” Ensure that the administrative password used to configure the wireless network base
station is changed and difficult to guess (i.e., not a dictionary word and includes letters,
numbers, and characters).
â–  All wireless client computers should be treated as if they were directly exposed to the
Internet. That means additional steps must be taken to secure these hosts. Ensure all
clients with a wireless network card have:
• A personal firewall installed (even if your network also has a firewall installed at its
Internet connection)
• File and printer sharing disabled
• SNMP disabled
• NetBIOS protocol disabled over TCP/TP (see vendor documentation)
• All TCP services that are unnecessary disabled.
Many of the risks associated with using wireless networks can be mitigated by careful
planning and configuration. For many users, the benefits of wireless networks will outweigh
the risks. However, given the weaknesses of WEP encryption, any sensitive or proprietary
data transmitted should be encrypted prior to transmission by other means (e.g., VPN, PGP,
SSL, SSH). Generally, with the proper precautions, users can safely use home wireless
Summary Recommendations
Selection of wireless and other home networking technologies should be in accordance with
security goals. A variety of home networking technologies have become available for
telecommuters who wish to connect their home PCs together to share resources. Some of
these technologies are the same as their office counterparts (e.g., Ethernet), and others are
intended to specifically meet the needs of telecommuters (e.g., phone- and power-line
networking). While most of these technologies are secure, several represent a threat to security
of both the home network and, sometimes, the office network. In particular, wireless
networking has several vulnerabilities that should be carefully considered before any
installation. More detailed information on wireless network security is provided in NIST
Special Publication 800-48: “Wireless Network Security: 802.1 1, Bluetooth and Handheld
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
7 Virtual Private Networks
If a business needs to conduct secure communications between several different locations, a
private network can be constructed by leasing or installing private communication lines. A less
expensive and more flexible alternative is installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that uses
the Internet as the transport medium and employs security measures to ensure that the
communications are indeed private. Although the VPN’s traffic crosses the Internet, VPN
protection prevents most unauthorized users from reading and/or modifying the traffic. Of
course, if a compromise occurs at either end of the VPN, the data is not secure. In particular,
spyware or viruses on the computer can sniff passwords and thereby circumvent the VPN
security, putting the organization at risk. This is why it is imperative for telecommuters to
protect their computers.
7.1 VPN Security
VPNs can provide some or all of the following types of protection:
â–  Connectionless integrity: a guarantee that the message that is received is the exact one
that was sent, and no tampering has occurred. Connectionless means that messages are
sent from the sender to the receiver, but no attempt is made to ensure that they are received
in order, or that any (or all) were in fact received. Integrity is provided through the use of a
message authentication code (MAC) and a symmetric secret key. Two MACs that are
commonly used for this purpose are HMAC-SHA-1 and HMAC-MD5.
â–  Data origin authentication: a guarantee that the message actually was sent by the
apparent originator of the message and not by another user masquerading as the supposed
message originator.
” Confidentiality or privacy: a guarantee that, even if the message is “read” by an
eavesdropper, the contents are not understandable, except to the authorized recipient.
Confidentiality is provided through the use of an encryption algorithm and a symmetric
secret key. Triple DES is a widely used encryption algorithm; NIST’s newly defined
Advanced Encryption Algorithm (AES) is beginning to replace triple DES.
â–  Traffic analysis protection: an assurance that an eavesdropper cannot determine who is
communicating with whom or detennine the frequency and volume of communications
between specific entities.
Access protection: control over which network resources can be accessed by
telecommuters and what types of network traffic can be initiated by or exchanged with
Which of these protections are actually supplied by a particular VPN implementation depends
on the configuration, access policies, and setup of the VPN.
72 VPN Modes of Operation
There are two basic modes in which VPNs can function for telecommuting: host-to-host or
host-to-gateway. Host-to-host mode enables the telecommuter to conduct protected
communications with one or more other hosts. In this case, each host would have to be
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
equipped with a VPN client that can interoperate with the VPN clients on the other hosts. The
more common scenario (host to gateway) involves a firewall or gateway (which we will refer
to as a security gateway) that is VPN-enabled; it functions as a gatekeeper for the business
network that the telecommuter wants to access. In this case, the telecommuter’s host needs a
VPN client that is compatible with the security gateway’s VPN implementation. The
telecommuter can then conduct protected communications with the hosts that reside on the
network protected by the security gateway. Figure 7. 1 illustrates this configuration. Solid lines
#1 and #2 constitute a protected VPN between the telecommuter and the security gateway. The
telecommuter can then send unprotected traffic inside the network, represented by dotted line
#5, or protected traffic to other destinations outside the network, represented by solid line #3. If
the employer’s security policy allows, the telecommuter can also send unprotected traffic,
represented by broken line #4. Alternatively, the security gateway’s policy might prohibit that
type of traffic and require the telecommuter to route all traffic through the gateway, as it would
if the telecommuter’s host physically resided on the internal network
A gateway-tp-gateway VPN is also possible, but this would not be appropriate for a
telecommuter as it is employed between two or more office networks (e.g., headquarters and
regional offices). Today’s cable modems and cable/DSL routers generally allow the traversal
of VPN data (often referred to as VPN or IPsec pass-through mode), but they do not provide
VPN capabilities and protections themselves.
Internal Network
Figure 7.1: VPN Example
VPN Protocols
In an ideal world, a telecommuter could simply run a VPN client, confident in the knowledge
that the protected traffic is secure. In today’s world, however, the telecommuter often needs to
know numerous technical details about VPN technologies, including underlying protocols,
security, features, usability, and interoperability. It is critical that the VPN client interoperates
with other VPN clients or a VPN security gateway for the implementation to be successful.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Multiple secure networking technologies are generally used to provide VPN protection. These
include the following standardized protocols that have been defined by the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF):
â–  Internet Protocol Security (IPsec): EPsec is the most widely used secure network
protocol. It provides VPN capabilities at the Internet Protocol (IP) layer of
communications. This means all types of Internet traffic can be IPsec-protected
independently of the specific applications that conduct the communications. The
applications do not need to be aware of the protection and do not need to be altered in any
way to enable it. IPsec incorporates a key management protocol, the Internet Key
Exchange (IKE), which is used to negotiate the secret keys that protect VPN
communications as well as the level and type of security protections that will characterize
the VPN.
â–  Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS): Originally developed
by Netscape and known as SSL, the TLS protocol was subsequently adopted, renamed,
and slightly modified by the IETF. It is a session-oriented protocol that provides security
at the transport layer, a higher layer in the TCP/TP protocol stack than IP. It can more
easily provide individual user-level access protection than the current IPsec. However,
applications must be modified specifically to use TLS, and each individual session must
establish its own TLS protection. In addition, TLS can protect only applications that run
over TCP. TLS is currently widely used to protect web browser traffic.
â–  Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP): L2TP is an extension of the Point-to-Point
Protocol (PPP) and was developed to augment the security features available with the
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). L2TP allows a dial-up user to connect to an IP
network and authenticate the user’s identity through the use of an authentication protocol
such as Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS). It then creates a PPP
tunnel, encapsulating the phone link in an BP packet, enabling the non-IP phone traffic to
act like any other Internet traffic. For users who dial into a local Internet Service Provider
(ISP) that is not co-located with the network gateway, L2TP creates an extended tunnel
that includes the PPP tunnel and the ISP-to-gateway leg, extending from the dial-up user
to the network entry point. This enables the user to authenticate their identity directly to
the network. However, L2TP does not include any mechanism for encryption or
authentication of its traffic.
Several protection schemes have been suggested, providing protection of L2TP traffic by
IPsec, resulting in a secure VPN. However, these schemes sacrifice some IPsec access
control capabilities. L2TP is also used by some EPsec VPNs to supplement nonstandard
areas within IPsec, such as the exchange of policy or configuration information between a
telecommuter and a security gateway.
â–  Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP): PPTP is a predecessor to L2TP that shares
L2TP’s major goals. A version of PPTP, with proprietary Microsoft extensions, is found in
most Microsoft Windows operating systems. Thus, it is an attractive and widely accessible
vehicle for the creation of VPNs. However, the underlying security of Microsoft’s original
PPTP implementation and the improved L2TP version has been questioned.
Some VPN clients use proprietary technologies. A single VPN client often allows the user to
choose between a proprietary VPN scheme and a standardized scheme. Proprietary schemes
restrict the user to a particular vendor’s VPN products, and should be avoided wherever
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
possible. Standardized schemes also benefit from security analysis and testing performed by a
wider community of users and analysts.
74 Peer Authentication
Before a telecommuter can conduct VPN-secured communications, each party involved in the
communication must verify its identity with the other party. This provides not only security for
the data being transferred but nonrepudiation of the participants’ identification as well. The
most common methods of peer authentication are:
â–  Public key certificate: As described earlier, public keys can be freely shared without
needing a secure channel of communications. However, this means that we need some
method of verifying that a given public key belongs to whoever is claiming it belongs to.
A public key certificate can be used for this type of verification. A security gateway will
generally possess its own public key certificate. A telecommuter will also have a
certificate issued by an authority recognized by the security gateway. When a user
attempts to make a connection to the VPN through the security gateway, the gateway will
present the user (in reality the VPN software on the user’s computer) with its certificate
that will be checked to ensure that the gateway is correct (to avoid spoofing attacks). Next
the security gateway will require a certificate from the user (again the VPN software on
the user’s computer generally performs this step) to ensure that the user has authorized
access. Once the user is authorized the VPN connection will be initiated. This is a very
secure method of authentication.
â–  One-time password: This is a password that is changed after each use; it is useful when
the password is not adequately protected from compromise during login (e.g., the
password is transmitted over an insecure network). Under this approach, each user is
given a password generator that looks much like a pocket calculator or a software program
that can generate the passwords. The user enters a PIN to activate the password generator,
the password generator creates a random password (or number sequence) using a
procedure that is duplicated at the central system. The user will then enter the
generated password in the VPN software on their machine that will in turn forward it to
the security gateway. If the passwords generated by the user and the security gateway
match, the user is authorized to use the VPN. If the password is intercepted, an intruder
could not use it for later access because it is valid only for this one session.
â–  Password: A password is a protected or private character string used to authenticate and
identify. Generally, a password is encrypted during transmission for protection. When
authenticating to a security gateway, the user enters a password. The VPN client then
generates an encrypted hash of the password and sends it to the gateway. The security
gateway then compares the hash to the one it has on file for the user. If the two match, the
user is authenticated and connected to the VPN.
7.5 Policy Configuration
The fortunate telecommuter will obtain a VPN client that has been pre-configured to satisfy the
employer’s security policies. If that is not the case, the VPN client will need to be configured
with security protections that satisfy the employer’s security requirements.
Many VPN clients will allow VPN-secured traffic to be either encrypted or integrity-protected,
without requiring both types of protection. For a truly secure VPN, both encryption and
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
integrity protection should be applied. Without encryption, unauthorized parties can read the
traffic. Without integrity protection, encrypted traffic is susceptible to attacks that can result in
unauthorized modification of the message.
Some of the policy-related choices are:
â–  Encryption algorithm: Triple DES (Data Encryption Standard) is the encryption
algorithm that is most commonly used today. NIST’s AES (Advanced Encryption
Standard) has been approved and will most likely replace triple DES as the default VPN
encryption algorithm. Many VPN clients are configured with DES as the default
encryption algorithm; AES or triple DES are preferable to DES, since traffic using DES
for encryption could be decrypted (although only with sophisticated hardware and
software) by parties other than the intended recipient.
â–  MAC (message authentication code) algorithm: The MAC algorithm provides integrity
to the VPN traffic. HMAC-SHA-1 is the national standard message authentication
algorithm. HMAC-MD5 is also usable for today’s VPNs.
â–  Selective or total protection: Most VPN clients will allow either some or all of the traffic
to be protected. By implementing total protection, encryption and integrity will be applied
to all VPN traffic.
7.6 VPN Operation
The following are necessary steps to create a VPN:
1 . Install the VPN client.
2. Obtain the required public key certificates, password(s), and/or one-time password
generator. If all protected communications will be handled by the gateway, no other peer
credentials are required. However, if the telecommuter will be conducting peer-to-peer
VPN communications, credentials valid for those peers will be required as well. They can
be obtained beforehand or exchanged in the course of the VPN negotiations. If the latter
method will be used, it is important to ensure that the VPN client can dynamically request
and process these credentials.
3 . Configure the VPN client.
4. Put the VPN client into “operational” mode.
5. Perform a trial run. A number of VPN clients have a “test” button that will do this. It is
important to ensure that after a VPN client is installed and configured, both outbound and
inbound communications can still take place successfully. It is also a good idea to try to
send and receive some unauthorized traffic, to ensure that unprotected communications are
7.7 Summary Recommendations
A virtual private network (VPN) serves as an encrypted “tunnel” between two organizations
(or hosts) that makes it possible for secured communication to occur over public networks.
This tunnel allows a variety of different types of traffic, rather than a single encrypted
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
connection such as an e-commerce credit card transaction using a web server. To ensure
correct operation, the VPN must be carefully configured on both the organization’s central
office systems and the telecommuter’s remote system. Users should also be educated on VPN
operation, since current implementations are not as simple or “transparent” as some other
security applications. Organizations considering a VPN should thus proceed with caution, first
ensuring that security goals cannot be achieved with less complex mechanisms. If a VPN is
used, the organization’s system administrators should be responsible for correctly configuring
the VPN and for providing telecommuters with properly configured software for their offsite
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
8 Telecommuting Architectures
Telecommuting can be approached in a number of ways, with a variety of tradeoffs between
security and convenience. The appropriate choice for a user and organization depends on
requirements for the tasks conducted by the user away from the office. From a security
standpoint, the guiding principle to keep in mind is “least privilege”. That is, privileges
accorded to users should be the minimum necessary to do their jobs. Even if fully trusted,
users who have excessive privileges may accidentally misuse them, leading to problems in the
organization’s database or daily operations, or intruders who compromise user accounts may
deliberately use the excessive privileges to cause even greater damage. This section discusses
some approaches to three components of telecommuting – voice communication, electronic
mail, document and data exchange – with advantages and disadvantages of each.
Voice Communication
Depending on the sensitivity of communications between the offsite and main offices,
telephone security may be a consideration. The variety of choices for telephones that has
developed over the past decade spans a wide spectrum of privacy capabilities. At the low end
are ordinary cordless phones, whose calls may be picked up by walkie-talkies, baby monitors,
and radio scanners. The most secure home-use telephones are traditional corded models, but
there are a number of other options, summarized below. Note: Classified discussions are not
permitted on any of the equipment discussed here. Any of the telephones discussed in this
section can be attacked by a knowledgeable adversary. This discussion is provided simply to
distinguish between those systems that require special knowledge to attack and those that are
vulnerable to casual scanning.
Cordless, 46 – 47 MHz. These commonplace cordless models are the most widely used
among portable home phones. They are easily intercepted, and should be regarded as
providing no security at all. Some models provide a “privacy” or “scrambler” feature based on
audio frequency inversion. While this feature requires special equipment to defeat, the
necessary equipment is easy to build, and plans are available on the Internet, so these phones
should not be considered secure.
Cordless, 900 MHz. These high-end phones are not as susceptible to eavesdropping as
ordinary cordless models, but they can be picked up using some radio equipment. Some
models employ “frequency hopping” or spread spectrum technology, which uses a rapidly
changing set of frequencies to scramble transmissions. Models that provide spread spectrum
are reasonably secure for most unclassified uses.
Cordless, 2.7 GHz. These newer models, like 900 MHz models, are less likely to be
intercepted than ordinary cordless phones, but should be considered secure for most
unclassified use only if they provide spread spectrum.
Cell phones. The most widely used cellular telephones operate on frequencies around 800
MHz, which fall within the UHF television band. Radio scanners and television sets with
UHF dial tuners can intercept cell phone conversations, so these telephones are no more secure
than ordinary cordless models.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Digital PCS. Some newer mobile phones use digital technology. These systems are more
difficult to intercept than ordinary cell phones, and are probably adequately secure for most
unclassified uses.
Corded telephones. Physical connections are required to intercept traditional corded
telephones, so they are reasonably secure for most unclassified use.
PC-based voice communication (V oice over IP). Within the past few years, a number of
services have begun offering telephone calls, including long distance, over the Internet.
Known as “voice over EP” (VOIP), the services convert speech to Internet messages and
transmit them to a facility that interfaces with the telephone network. Any PC can become a
telephone with the addition of a microphone and special software to access the service. The
party on the other end is normally not required to have a PC to receive the call; the services
connect calls directly with ordinary telephones on the receiving end. From a security
standpoint, this type of connection is only as secure as the weakest link in the chain from the
user’s PC, to the Internet service provider, through various Internet nodes, and eventually to
the telephone network. Because of the potential for vulnerabilities in one or more of the
Internet components, VOIP should not be considered secure unless some form of encryption is
Electronic Mail
Most workers need to be able to send and receive e-mail at either their main office or offsite.
E-mail can be handled in a number of ways, with varying security considerations. Some
approaches can affect the vulnerability of main office systems.
Remote login. The most common method of receiving e-mail offsite is to have the
telecommuter log in remotely and receive e-mail messages from a central server just as at the
office. This approach requires the organization to be especially careful in password
management and in blocking access between mail servers and other critical organization
computers. If several hundred users have remote login access, there is a significant chance that
a few will be careless with passwords, making it possible for intruders to gain at least some
access to the e-mail server. Also note that many remote e-mail tools use the POP3 protocol, so
passwords may be sent unencrypted.
E-mail forwarding. One simple approach is to set up the e-mail system on the user’s main
office computer to automatically forward a copy of each e-mail received to the user’s ISP
account. Although this method does not protect the privacy of messages through encryption,
as a VPN would, it avoids the need for users to log in to a computer at the main office. This
option may be appropriate if privacy of e-mail messages is not a significant concern, but the
organization wants to minimize the chance that an intruder could gain access to main office
systems by compromising a user’s offsite computer. Note: If the user’s ISP limits mail
storage to a few megabytes (typical for free e-mail services), a small number of documents will
overwhelm the ISP mailbox, creating an inadvertent denial of service. If e-mail forwarding is
used, the user should have an ISP that allows several hundred megabytes of e-mail storage.
Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN uses encryption methods to provide secure
communication between offices. Properly implemented, a VPN can provide a high degree of
security. E-mail and other traffic will be encrypted, minimizing the risk to privacy. However,
the offsite computer, especially if it has a full-time connection to the Internet, may be left open
to intruders if not configured properly. Use of a VPN does not obviate the need for normal
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
precautions. For example, a worm or virus sent by e-mail over a VPN can infect the user’s
computer, leaving open a back door for intruders to exploit, or damaging files.
Document and Data Exchange
In addition to e-mail, almost all users will need to move some data files between main and
offsite computers. Files may be documents, spreadsheets, database entries, or in some cases,
graphics, audio, and video. Users also vary in how frequently they need access to files. The
frequency and type of data exchange required by a user’s job are considerations in making
tradeoffs between convenience and security for data exchange.
Remote connection. Some users need offsite access to most or all of the files on their office
systems. For example, a tax consultant or lawyer with a large number of clients may receive
calls at any time from clients requesting help. Popular software packages such as “PC
Anywhere” allow partial or complete access to the main office computer from offsite. The
tradeoff for this convenience is that configuring an office system for remote access may make
it easy for intruders to break in. Hacking sites distribute methods and tools for breaking into
remote connection packages. If remote access is needed, system administrators should
provide users with VPN tools and encryption software and require their use.
FTP and web file transfer. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is an Internet standard for
transmitting files between computers. It can be used either as a stand-alone tool or, as is
becoming more common today, embedded in web sites set up for uploading and downloading
files. Like remote connection tools, FTP can leave systems vulnerable if not properly
configured and operated. At the server end, FTP should be configured to limit access to only
those directories or folders that are essential; avoid providing access to the entire PC. As with
remote access tools, strong authentication and passwords are needed for users. It is important
to remember that the standard implementation of FTP transmits user account names and
passwords in clear text.
E-mailing document and data files. Some users work with only a few documents or files at
a time. For example, a researcher or technical writer may have a small number of projects
over the course of several months. These users can e-mail documents and files between their
office and offsite e-mail addresses, as long as they are careful to send the latest copy of a file
after completing work on it for the day. This arrangement avoids the need to make office PCs
accessible from outside the organization firewall, denying a significant path of entry to
intruders. Encryption is strongly recommended for files that are sent via e-mail because the
file can be copied or even manipulated at any point as the e-mail message travels to the
destination address.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) The VPN protection for e-mail described in Section 8.2
applies also to file transfer. Refer to Chapter 7 for more details.
Physical transfer. Laptop computers today have such high performance and data capacity
that many workers can keep all their documents and files on a laptop and use it as their primary
computer at either main or offsite office. This arrangement avoids the need for most electronic
transmission of documents, at the cost of requiring diligence in backups and, in some cases,
encryption of data on the computer, since the laptop may be stolen. Another drawback to this
approach is that viruses or other malicious software that infects the home system may
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
contaminate the corporate network, so users must be especially diligent to apply anti virus
software to files on their home systems.
Selecting Components
Table 8. 1 summarizes security features of choices for voice communication, e-mail, and
document and file transfer. Choices should be based on the organization’s needs, but they can
be loosely grouped into three architectures – Disconnected, Remote Access, and Integrated –
reflecting the degree to which the offsite system is coupled to the main office system. Tighter
coupling generally means more convenience, at the cost of greater adrninisrrative complexity.
Table 8.1: Alternatives for Voice, E-mail, and File Transfer
Security (for unclassified use)
Cordless, with
spread spectrum
Digital PCS
PC phone
Moderate to high
Corded phone
Remote login
Fair (good w/
Low (Moderate to high w/
E-mail forwarding
Fair (good w/
Low (Moderate to high w/
Virtual Private
Network (VPN)
Moderate to high
Fair (good w/
Low (Moderate to high w/
FTP and web
file transfer
Fair (good w/
Low (Moderate to high w/
Fair (good w/
Low (Moderate to high w/
Virtual Private
Network (VPN)
Moderate to high
Moderate to high
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
8.4.1 Disconnected
Users who do not need daily interaction with the agency’s systems or database may be able to
telecommute successfully using only e-mail and telephone contact with the office. For
example, a user who telecommutes one or two days per week, and whose job consists largely
of writing and document preparation, may never need to log in to agency systems from a
remote location. Provided that they are not sensitive, documents can be e-mailed back and
forth between the agency system and the user’s ISP e-mail account, or simply carried by the
user on physical media (e.g., on a laptop computer or disk). As a result, users never need to
log in to a system at the main office.
This approach minimizes vulnerabilities at the main office, by eliminating the need for outside
access, but clearly is not suitable for users who need to operate sophisticated applications
across the network securely. In addition, it relies on security at the user’s ISP to protect e-mail
” Best suited to users who require little computer interaction with office.
â–  All communication between office and remote location is by e-mail and telephone.
8.4.2 Remote Access
When users need to access a large number of files on the main office computer, it may be
necessary to allow for remote logins from the offsite computer. In this case, strong
authentication should be used if possible, to rnirumize the vulnerabilities in providing external
â–  For users who need to access wide variety of files at main office from offsite.
â–  Allows remote login for file transfer, but not for complex applications (e.g., accounting or
transaction processing) across the network.
8.4.3 Integrated
A virtual private network can provide a high level of security and convenience for the user.
Encryption protects all interaction between the offsite computer and the main office, so that in
many ways the user’s offsite computer is as secure as one on the main office local network.
This approach makes it possible to allow offsite users to operate applications such as
scheduling, budget analysis, or other complex systems from the remote site. The tradeoff for a
VPN is in cost and complexity of administration. Note also that operating a VPN does not
guarantee protection from viruses and e-mail worms.
â–  For users who need to operate complex applications across the network.
â–  Better security but greater expense.
Table 8.2 summarizes these three architectures.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Table 8.2: Summary of Telecommuting Architectures
E-mail access through
forwarding, file transfer by e-
mail or physical
• Relies on security at ISP
• Strong authentication probably not available
• Requires automatic forwarding of e-mail from office
Remote access
E-mail access through remote
login, file transfer by remote
access or web/FTP
• Relies on security at agency e-mail gateway
• Allows for strong authentication (biometrics, one-time
E-mail and file transfer
through VPN service
• VPN required
• More expensive
Summary Recommendations
Federal agencies should provide telecommuting users with guidance on selecting appropriate
technologies, software, and tools that are consistent with the agency network and with agency
security policies. Users have a wide variety of approaches to choose from in establishing an
offsite office. Sophisticated technologies such as virtual private networks can provide a high
level of security, but are more expensive and complex to implement than other solutions.
Many users, particularly if they do not require interactive access to agency databases, can be
provided with an adequate degree of security at very low cost and with little additional
software, easing burdens on both the user and system administrators at the central computing
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
9 Organizational Considerations for Telecommuting Security
Organizations supporting telecommuting need to establish and follow a reasonable and
consistent security policy for their users. Ideally, the organization should provide the
telecommuter with a home system that is configured using the same policy and guidelines that
are employed for employees in the office. Policies will vary according to organizational needs,
but some basic policy features are common to most organizations. This section describes
some fundamental considerations for a telecommuting security policy that can be used as a
basis for a document tailored to organizational needs. Refer to previous sections of this
publication for details on the technologies discussed in this section.
Controlling System Access
If users need to log in remotely to internal computer systems, ensure that the login process uses
an appropriately strong mechanism to validate a user’s identity. In some cases, a user
ID/password combination may be adequate, if passwords are sufficiently strong (see
instructions below for creating strong passwords). In most cases, though, a stronger
mechanism will be required. There are three methods of authenticating users:
1 . What they know (e.g., user id, password, personal identification number [PIN])
2. What they have (e.g., smart card or one-time password generator)
3. What they are (e.g., retina pattern or hand geometry).
The strongest authentication mechanisms usually employ more than one of the above
authentication methods. For example, smart cards are really a two-factor authentication
scheme that allows access based on what a user knows (the password required to access the
smart card) and what the user has (the smart card). Authentication options include:
Strong passwords. Password cracking programs are widely available on the Internet.
Cracking programs use a dictionary of thousands of words and names, seeking to find one that
the user has selected for a password. Dictionaries of 500,000 passwords are reported, and an
intruder can try all of them in an overnight run. Common names of people or pets are the first
passwords tried, because they are frequently used as passwords. Ordinary words are tried next,
followed by words and names with one or two digits tacked on at the end. Use at least eight
characters, including two or more digits, and characters. Digits and characters should be
placed in random positions between letters, not just at the iDeginning or end. Also password
crackers will attempt common substitutions of numbers and characters for letters (e.g., h4ckm3
for hackme, r@ts for rats, pOOl for pool, etc.).
One-time password generators. With this system, each user is given a password generator that
looks much like a pocket calculator. To access the central system, the user enters a PIN on the
password generator to gain access to it; the password generator creates a random password (or
number sequence) using a procedure that is duplicated at the central system. If the password is
intercepted, an intruder could not use it for later access because it is valid only for one session.
Smart Cards. Smart card access control is similar to the one-time password generator
approach, except that the smart card, which contains a microprocessor, automates most of the
login process. The user gains access to the smart card using a password or PIN, then the card
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
does the rest. A drawback to this approach is that the user’s computer must have a smart card
reader attached to it.
Biometrics. Biometric systems identify and authenticate users based on what they are. Some
biometric characteristics currently used in commercial products are fingerprints, hand
geometry, voice pattern, retinal pattern, iris pattern, and handwriting dynamics. Currently
biometric products are relatively more expensive than other mechanisms, although prices are
declining as these systems gain popularity. Another drawback to biometrics is that they
require a special device attached to the user’s computer.
Protecting Internal Systems
Restricted Access. Access privileges should be implemented at the minimum level required
(i.e., deny access to all systems, then allow access to only those required and at the minimum
level required). The level of access may differ when telecommuting than when at the normal
duty station. Determine the specific systems to which the user requires access from remote
locations. Finally, the employee’s supervisor should confirm, in writing, that the employee
requires not only remote access, but also access to the specific systems identified to perform
their work assignments.
Firewalls and Secure Gateways. A firewall or secure gateway is used to block or filter
access between two networks, often between an internal trusted network and an external
untrusted (public) network such as the Internet. For telecommuting, organizations should
determine what systems and information to make available to telecommuters using public
networks for remote access; what level of protection is needed to ensure that only authorized
users can access the internal network; and how to ensure that the firewall or gateway is
functioning properly. For more information on selecting and installing firewalls, see
â–  NIST Special Publication 800-4 1 : “Guide to Firewall Selection and Policy
Recommendations,” January 2002.
PDF: http://csrc .nist. gov/publications/nistpubs/800-4 1 /sp800-4 1 .pdf
â–  NIST Special Publication SP 800- 1 0 “Keeping Your Site Comfortably Secure: An
Introduction to Internet Firewalls”, December 1994.
PDF: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-9/800-9.pdf
Compressed ZIP: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-9/800-9SP.zip
Location of Resources. If possible, resources needed by telecommuters should be placed in a
DMZ 14 in order to better control access to the internal network. This may be a feasible
alternative to avoid direct access to the internal network by telecommuters. However, this may
not be possible for sensitive information.
Proxy servers. Most telecommuting employees require less access than when working at their
central office. Traveling employees may require access only to electronic mail. There are many
firewall implementations that use an electronic mail proxy to allow access to the files on a
protected system without having to directly access that system. However, some telecommuting
14 A demilitarized zone (DMZ) is a networking term for a sub-network that is behind an organization’s firewall but
not part of the main network. The primary purpose of a DMZ is to isolate those machines that need to be accessible
from outside the organization’s network in order to limit the exposure of the internal network while still providing
some level of protection to the exposed machines.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
employees need access to internal resources. In this case, a more secure solution, such as a
VPN, should be used.
Secure Gateways. A secure gateway, or series of gateways, can be used to divide internal
resources based on access needs of telecommuters. For example, computers with high-risk
organizational data (such as proprietary business plans) may be separated by a gateway from
systems with a lower level of risk. A series of gateways can be used to further restrict access to
the highest-risk systems. For some situations, current firewall technology can be used to give
virtual access by using proxies. In addition, current firewalls can use filtering to limit access to
certain types of resources. For many organizations, the primary security function of the secure
gateway is to provide robust authentication of users. Secure gateways may also provide
additional auditing and session monitoring, and intrusion detection.
Encryption. If a telecommuting employee is transferring data that an eavesdropper would
want, encryption may be necessary. Software- or hardware-based encryption provides strong
protection against electronic eavesdropping. Use of encryption is required when sensitive
unclassified information is transmitted over an untrusted public network domain (e.g., the
Internet). Since employees do not always know when they are in a high-threat area,
management must train employees to consider this potential threat.
Telecommuting Center Controls. At a minimum, organizations should require robust
authentication from telecommuting centers. If communications encryption is supported by the
center, organizations should be aware that data might not be encrypted while it is inside the
center. The encryption may occur at the point prior to where data enters the public network,
and thus the data is subject to the interception while on the telecommuting center’s network.
Remote Access Servers (RAS). Many telecommuters would like to have complete access to
the office LAN from offsite. The technologies described in previous chapters of this document
can be combined to provide this capability. One of the hazards for organizations seeking these
advantages, however, is that a patchwork collection of software and hardware may include
unsuspected security holes. An alternative to the homegrown approach to remote access is a
remote access server. Remote access servers provide access to the office LAN by supporting
both dial-up and Internet access to the office LAN. The RAS authenticates the user through a
password or stronger mechanism; it then allows the user to access files, printers, or other
resources on the LAN. The chief benefit of an RAS is in providing a conveniently packaged
comprehensive solution to offsite access needs. Typically the servers include support for voice
over IP communications, VPN, and authentication in a package designed to make it easier for
aclministrators to establish and maintain user privileges. Remote access servers can be
obtained from a variety of vendors. Some are suitable for small offices, supporting as few as
eight offsite sessions, while high-end systems for ISPs may support thousands of users.
Protecting Home Systems
Organizations may implement several countermeasures to ensure protection of government
information assets when an employee telecommutes from home.
Security Policy. Organizations should implement a security policy for their specific
telecommuting environment. Rules should define the specific reasons, expectations, and
benefits of telecommuting within their organization. Individuals must demonstrate an
understanding of the standards of care and the importance of having protective measures to
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
ensure the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the data they will be processing. If the
telecommuter is to be accessing, processing, or storing sensitive unclassified information
specific rules must be established for that situation.
Agency Supplied System. Ideally, the telecommuter should be provided with a system that
has been pre-configured by the agency security administrators with necessary security
hardware and software, with updates and maintenance managed by security administrators as
well. This policy minimizes the chances of user error in configuring and operating complex
security solutions such as VPNs. While recommended, this approach is not required by this
publication, as it is expensive and not always needed, particularly for occasional-use
telecommuters. Agency policy should characterize positions for which telecommuters should
be provided with agency-owned systems and those that do not require this option. While
security considerations will vary among agencies, users who require a government-owned
system are likely to have one or more of the following attributes:
• require access to agency systems beyond reading e-mail;
• travel extensively so that there is a significant risk of theft of equipment;
• process sensitive information, such as personnel records or privacy-sensitive data,
legal documents, or other sensitive but unclassified information.
See Chapter 8, Security Architectures, for more discussion on access options for
telecommuting users. Users whose access needs are similar to those characterized as
“disconnected” in Chapter 8 are less likely to require a pre-configured, agency-owned system.
Employee Accountability. Employees should sign an acknowledgment statement of the
conditions for use of the telecommuting environment. This acknowledgment should also be
endorsed by the employee’s supervisor to ensure proper authorization for remote access.
Removable Hard Drives. If data is stored on a removable hard drive (or floppy) and the
media device can be separately secured, the risk of data compromise is greatly reduced.
Data Encryption. Data can be kept encrypted on the hard disk. This protects its
confidentiality; and some technologies may help in the detection of attempts to change files.
Dedicated or Personal Use. If an organization requires dedicated system use (i.e., the system
will only be used for specified government access and processing), management should
recognize that it is difficult to enforce. It should be assumed that at some point the system is
likely to be used by someone other than the employee. In addition, as home networks become
commonplace, it is likely that non-employees may have access to the system through the home
network. A personal use policy should be developed to include limitations on such use, any
additional security requirements, or other relevant directions to employees.
Locked Rooms or Storage Containers. It is necessary to provide physical security to systems
and data against the threat of unauthorized disclosure, destruction, alteration, or theft.
Home System Availability. In addition to the possibility of failure or theft of a home
computer, it may not be compatible with office configurations. For example, the home
computer may use a different operating system. This and other circumstances may complicate
configuration, software support, troubleshooting, or repair. Organizations should ensure that
policies are in place to cover all of these situations. Hand receipts, or property passes, should
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
be required for all government hardware and approved and properly licensed software that is
taken home by an employee.
Using Public Wireless LANs
It is important to note that wireless LANs installed at airports, hotels, and other establishments
present high security risks. Typically you would disable any wireless encryption or access
control on your laptop before connecting to a public LAN. Thus, any information you
exchange is sent unencrypted, and furthermore your laptop may be subject to probes and
scanning from other clients connected to the LAN. Therefore, the following recommendations
should be followed:
• Do not use a public LAN with your work-related laptop unless it is absolutely necessary.
• Use a VPN, as otherwise all messages can be intercepted.
• Use a personal firewall and ensure its settings are set at maximum protection.
• Upon leaving the LAN, immediately restore all security settings.
• Scan the laptop for viruses and spyware.
Portions of this chapter are adapted from U.S. Dept. of Energy (DoE) publication DOE G
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
The following definitions highlight important concepts used in this document.
In wireless LAN (WLAN) technology, 802.1 1 refers to a family of specifications developed
by a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (EEEE). There are
three specifications in the family: 802.1 1, 802.1 la, and 802.1 lb. All three specify the use of
CSMA/CA (carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance) as the path-sharing
protocol. The 802. 1 1 and 802. lib specifications apply to wireless Ethernet LANs and operate
at frequencies in the 2.4-GHz region of the radio spectrum. Data speeds are generally 1 Mbps
or 2 Mbps for 802. 1 1, and 5.5 Mbps or 1 1 Mbps for 802. 1 lb, although speeds up to about 20
Mbps are realizable with 802. 1 lb. The 802. 1 lb standard is backward compatible with
802. 1 1 .The 802. 11a specification applies to wireless Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
systems and operates at radio frequencies between 5 GHz and 6 GHz. A modulation scheme
known as OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) makes possible data speeds as
high as 54 Mbps, but most commonly, communications take place at 6 Mbps, 12 Mbps, or 24
Active Content
Active content refers to electronic documents that are able to automatically carry out or trigger
actions on a computer platform without the intervention of a user.
A loosely defined set of technologies developed by Microsoft. ActiveX is an outgrowth of two
other Microsoft technologies called OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) and COM
(Component Object Model). As a moniker, ActiveX can be very confusing because it applies
to a whole set of COM-based technologies. Most people, however, think only of ActiveX
controls, which represent a specific way of implementing ActiveX technologies.
Advanced Encryption Standard
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) specifies a U.S. Government-approved
cryptographic algorithm that can be used to protect electronic data. The AES algorithm is a
symmetric block cipher that can encrypt (encipher) and decrypt (decipher) information.
Encryption converts data to an unintelligible form called ciphertext; decrypting the ciphertext
converts the data back into its original form, called plaintext. The AES algorithm is capable of
using cryptographic keys of 128, 192, and 256 bits to encrypt and decrypt data in blocks of 128
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) selected the algorithm, called
Rijndael (pronounced “Rhine Doll”), in an international public competition. Rijndael was
developed by Belgian cryptographers Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen.
Broadband refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to
transmit information. Because a wide band of frequencies is available, information can be
multiplexed and sent on many different frequencies or channels within the band concurrently,
allowing more information to be transmitted in a given amount of time (much as more lanes on
a highway allow more cars to travel on it at the same time).
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Boot-Sector Viruses
Boot-sector viruses locate themselves in a specific part of the hard disk or floppy disk called
the boot sector. This boot sector is read as part of the system startup, and thus they are loaded
into memory when the computer first boots up. Once in memory, a boot-sector virus can
infect any hard disk or floppy accessed by the user. With the advent of more modem operating
systems and a great reduction in users sharing floppies, there has been a major reduction in this
type of virus. These are now relatively uncommon.
Cable Modem
A cable modem is a device that enables a user to hook up their PC to a local cable television
line and receive data at about 1.5 Mbps. This data rate far exceeds that of the prevalent 28.8
and 56 Kbps telephone modems and the up to 128 Kbps of Integrated Services Digital
Network (ISDN) and is above the data rate available to most subscribers of Digital Subscriber
Line (DSL) telephone service. A cable modem has two connections: one to the cable wall
outlet and the other to a PC or to a set-top box for a TV set. Although a cable modem does
modulation between analog and digital signals, it is a much more complex device than a
telephone modem. It can be an external device, or it can be integrated within a computer or set-
top box. Typically, the cable modem attaches to a standard 10BASE-T Ethernet card in the
Computer Virus
A computer virus is similar to a Trojan horse because it is a program that contains hidden code,
which usually performs some unwanted function as a side effect. The main difference between
a virus and a Trojan horse is that the hidden code in a computer virus can only replicate by
attaching a copy of itself to other programs and may also include an additional “payload” that
triggers when specific conditions are met. See entries for Boot Sector Virus, File Infector
Virus, and Macro Virus.
A piece of state information supplied by a web server to a browser, along with a requested
resource, for the browser to store temporarily and return to the server on any subsequent visits
or requests.
Data Encryption Standard (DES)
Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a U.S. Government-approved, symmetric cipher,
encryption algorithm used by business and civilian government agencies. The Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES) is designed to replace DES. The original “single” DES algorithm
is no longer secure because it is now possible to try every possible key with special purpose
equipment or a high performance cluster. Triple DES (see glossary entry below), however, is
still considered to be secure.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a technology for bringing high-bandwidth information to
homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. xDSL refers to different
variations of DSL, such as ADSL, HDSL, and RADSL. These variations support data at rates
up to 6.1 Mbps (of a theoretical 8.448 Mbps), enabling continuous transmission of motion
video, audio, and even 3-D effects. More typically, individual connections provide from 1.544
Mbps to 512 Kbps downstream and about 128 Kbps upstream. A DSL line can simultaneously
carry both data and voice signals, and the data part of the line is continuously connected.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Encryption is the conversion of data into a form, called a ciphertext, which cannot be easily
understood by unauthorized people. Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data
back into its original form, so it can be understood. The use of encryption/decryption is as old
as the art of communication. A cipher, often incorrectly called a “code,” can be employed to
keep unauthorized parties from obtaining the contents of transmissions. (Technically, a code is
a means of representing a signal without the intent of keeping it secret; examples are Morse
code and ASCII.)
Simple ciphers include the substitution of letters for numbers, the rotation of letters in the
alphabet, and the “scrambling” of voice signals by inverting the sideband frequencies. More
complex ciphers work according to sophisticated mathematical algorithms that rearrange the
data bits in digital signals.
In order to easily recover the contents of an encrypted signal, the correct decryption key is
required. The key is an algorithm that “undoes” the work of the encryption algorithm.
Alternatively, a computer can be used in an attempt to “break” the cipher. The more complex
the encryption algorithm, the more difficult it becomes to eavesdrop on the communications
without access to the key.
Ethernet is the most widely installed local area network (LAN) technology. Specified in IEEE
standard 802.3, Ethernet was originally developed by Xerox® and then further enhanced by
Xerox, DEC, and Intel. An Ethernet LAN typically uses coaxial cable or special grades of
twisted pair wires. The most commonly installed Ethernet systems are called 10BASE-T and
100BASE-T and provide transmission speeds up to 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps, respectively.
File Infector Virus
File infectors are viruses that work by attaching themselves to program files, such as word
processors and computer games. When the user runs an infected program, the virus adds itself
to the computer memory so that it can infect any other program that the user runs. File Infector
Virus’ were the most common type of virus but are nearly “extinct” due to changes in
operating system design. . â–
A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can
be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are
frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks
connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet
pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the
specified security criteria.
An interpreter is a program that processes a script or other program expression and carries out
the requested action in accordance with the language definition.
IP address
An IP address is a unique number for a computer that is used to determine where messages
transmitted on the Internet should be delivered. The IP address is analogous to a house
number for ordinary postal mail.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
An IEEE standard, RFC 241 1, protocol that provides security capabilities at the Internet
Protocol (IP) layer of communications. TPsec’s key management protocol is used to negotiate
the secret keys that protect VPN communications, and the level and type of security
protections that will characterize the VPN. The most widely used key management protocol is
the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol.
Java is an object-oriented language similar to C++, but simplified to eliminate language
features that cause common programming errors. Java source code files (files with a Java
extension) are compiled into a format called bytecode (files with a .class extension), which can
then be executed by a Java interpreter. Compiled Java code can run on most computers
because Java interpreters and runtime environments, known as Java Virtual Machines (VMs),
exist for most operating systems, including UNIX, the Macintosh OS, and Windows. Bytecode
can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just-in-time compiler
A scripting language developed by Netscape to enable web authors to design interactive sites.
Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was
developed independently. JavaScript can interact with HTML source code, enabling web
authors to spice up their sites with dynamic content. JavaScript is endorsed by a number of
software companies and is an open language that anyone can use without purchasing a license.
Recent browsers from Netscape and Microsoft support it, though Internet Explorer supports
only a subset, which Microsoft calls Jscript.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most
LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, one LAN can be
connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. A system of
LANs connected in this way is called a Wide Area Network (WAN).
Macro Virus
A type of computer virus that is encoded as a macro embedded in a document and executes
when the document is opened. Many desktop applications, such as word processors and
spreadsheets, support powerful macro languages and are thus susceptible to this type of virus.
See also Computer Virus.
Malicious Code
Malicious code refers to programs that are written intentionally to carry out annoying or
harmful actions. They often masquerade as useful programs or are embedded into useful
programs, so that users are induced into activating them. Types of malicious code include
Trojan horses, computer viruses, and worms.
Malicious Mobile Code
Malicious mobile code is a relatively recent development that has grown with the increased
use of web browsers. Mobile code is used by many web sites to add legitimate functionality
including ActiveX, JavaScript, and Java. Unfortunately, although it was initially designed to
be secure, mobile code has vulnerabilities that allow entities to create malicious programs. A
user can infect their computer with malicious mobile code (e.g., a Trojan horse program that
transmits information from the user’s PC) just by visiting a web site.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Operating System
An Operating System (sometimes abbreviated as “OS”) is the program that, after being
initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a
computer. Examples of OSs include Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, and many others.
The other programs are called applications or application programs. The application programs
make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined
Application Program Interface (API). In addition, users can interact directly with the operating
system through a user interface such as a command language or a graphical user interface
Proxy Server
A server that sits between a client application, such as a web browser, and a real server. It
intercepts all requests to the real server to see if it can fulfill the requests itself. If not, it
forwards the request to the real server.
Public Key Certificate
An identifying digital certificate that typically includes the public key, information about the
identity of the party holding the corresponding private key, and the operational period for the
certificate, authenticated by the digital signature of the certification authority (CA) that issued
the certificate. In addition, the certificate may contain other information about the signing party
or information about the recommended uses for the public key. A subscriber is an individual
or business entity that has contracted with a CA to receive a digital certificate verifying an
identity for digitally signing electronic messages.
Public (Asymmetric) Key Encryption
Public key cryptography uses “key pairs,” a public key and a mathematically related private
key. Given the public key, it is infeasible to find the private key. The private key is kept secret
while the public key may be shared with others. A message encrypted with the public key can
only be decrypted with the private key. A message can be digitally signed with the private
key, and anyone can verify the signature with the public key.
A plugin is a software module that adds a specific feature or service to an application. The
most common examples are the plugins available for web browsers that enable them to display
different types of audio or video messages.
A script is a sequence of commands, often residing in a text file, which can be interpreted and
executed automatically. Unlike compiled programs, which execute directly on a computer
processor, a script must be processed by another program that carries out the indicated actions.
Scripting Language
A scripting language defines the syntax and semantics for writing scripts. Typically, scripting
languages follow the conventions of a simple programming language, but they can also take on
a more basic form such as a macro or a batch file. Javascript, VBScript, and Perl are examples
of scripting languages.
Secret (Symmetric) Key Encryption
This is the traditional method used for encryption. The same key is used for both encryption
and decryption. Only the party or parties that exchange secret messages know the secret key.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
The biggest problem with symmetric key encryption is securely distributing the keys. Public
key techniques are now often used to distribute the symmetric keys.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents
via the Internet. SSL works by using a public key to encrypt data that’s transferred over the
SSL connection. Most web browsers support SSL, and many web sites use the protocol to
obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, URLs that
require an SSL connection start with “https:” instead of “http:.” TLS is an Internet standard
based on SSL version 3.0. There are only very minor differences between SSL and TLS.
The Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) specified in FTPS 180-1, Secure Hash Standard (SHS),
is for computing a condensed representation, called a “message digest”, of a message or a data
file. SHA-1 is currently the only FFPS-approved method for secure hashing. However, NIST
expects to add new, larger hash algorithms to provide a suite of cryptographic hash algorithms
of comparable strength to the AES.
Spyware is a program included with an application that communicates with its home site
unbeknownst to the user. Spyware programs have been discovered with many shareware or
freeware programs and even some commercial products. Notification of this hidden
functionality may not occur in the license agreement. News reports have accused various
spyware programs of inventorying software on the user’s system, collecting or searching out
private information, and periodically shipping the information back to the home site.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is the protocol suite used by the Internet. A
protocol suite is the set of message types, their formats, and the rules that control how
messages are processed by computers on the network.
Triple DES
An implementation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm that uses three passes of
the DES algorithm instead of one as used in ordinary DES applications. Triple DES provides
much stronger encryption than ordinary DES but it is less secure than AES.
Trojan Horse (a.k.a. Trojan)
A Trojan horse is a useful or seemingly useful program that contains hidden code of a
malicious nature. When the program is invoked, so is the undesired function whose effects
may not become immediately obvious. The name stems from an ancient exploit of invaders
gaining entry to the city of Troy by concealing themselves in the body of a hollow wooden
horse, presumed to be left behind by the invaders as a gift to the city.
Update (Patch)
An update (sometimes called a “patch”) is a “repair” for a piece of software (application or
operating system). During a piece of software’s life, problems (called bugs) will almost
invariably be found. A patch is the immediate solution that is provided to users; it can
sometimes be downloaded from the software vendor’s web site. The patch is not necessarily
the best solution for the problem and the product developers often find a better solution to
provide when they package the product for its next release.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
A patch is usually developed and distributed as a replacement for or an insertion in compiled
code (that is, in a binary file or object module). In larger operating systems, a special program
is provided to manage and keep track of the installation of patches.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
A Uniform Resource Locator is the global address of documents and other resources on the
World Wide Web. The first part of the address indicates what protocol to use, and the second
part specifies the IP address or the domain name where the resource is located.
For example, the two URLs below point to two different files at the domain nist.gov. The first
specifies an executable file that should be fetched using the FTP protocol; the second specifies
a web page that should be fetched using the HTTP (web) protocol:
â–  ftp://www.nist.gov/stuff.exe
â–  http://www.nist.gov/index.html
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A virtual private network is a logical network that is established, at the application layer of the
OSI model, over an existing physical network and typically does not include every node
present on the physical network. Authorized users are granted access to the logical network.
For example, there are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the
Internet as the medium for transporting data. These systems use encryption and other security
mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data
cannot be intercepted.
See Computer Virus.
A term widely used by hackers to denote illegally copied and distributed commercial software
from which all copy protection has been removed. Warez often contains viruses, Trojans and
other malicious code and thus is very risky to download and use (legal issues notwithstanding).
Web Browser
A browser refers to any collection of software that lets individuals view web content and
includes the GUI, MIME helpers, Java Interpreter, and other similar program components.
Web Bug
Tiny images, invisible to a user, placed on web sites in such a way that they allow third parties
to track use of web servers and collect information about the user, including EP address, Host
name, browser type and version, operating system name and version, and web browser cookie.
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
Wired Equivalent Privacy, a security protocol for wireless local area networks (WLANs)
defined in the 802. 1 lb standard. WEP was intended to provide the same level of security as
that of a wired LAN. LANs are inherently more secure than WLANs because LANs have
some or all of the network inside a building that can be protected from unauthorized access.
WLANs, which are over radio waves, therefore are more vulnerable to tampering. WEP
attempted to provide security by encrypting data over radio waves so that it is protected as it is
transmitted from one end point to another. Note: WEP has been broken and does not provide
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
an effective security service against a knowledgeable attacker. Software to break WEP is
freely available on the Internet.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
A type of local area network that uses high-frequency radio waves rather than wires to
communicate between nodes.
A worm is a self-replicating program. Unlike a virus, it is self-contained and does not require a
host program to replicate or any user intervention. Worms commonly utilize network services
to propagate onto other computer systems. Although nowadays worms are associated with
malicious code, the concept [Sho83] was originally introduced in the context of building useful
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix A. Security Checklists
Home Computer Security Checklist
Anti Virus Software
â–  Anti virus application is installed and is configured to:
• Start with the boot of the operating system.
• Run in the background and automatically scan all incoming files.
• Enable web browser protection, if available.
• Automatically update the virus signature database weekly.
• Schedule it to be run at least weekly to scan all hard drive files.
• Attempt to recognize unknown viruses, if available.
Spyware Removal Tools
â–  Install and run a spyware removal tool to identify and eliminate (as appropriate) spyware.
â–  On a monthly basis, update and run spyware removal tool, again eliminate discovered
spyware if appropriate.
â–  A firewall is an application that is employed to monitor and limit dangerous packets from
entering a network, providing the capability to:
• Log all suspicious traffic (this is generally true for default installs).
• Examine log on a periodic basis.
• Block traffic to ports that support services that should not be accessible from the
Internet (e.g., NetBIOS, Telnet, etc.).
• Automatically lock out network access to the host when network connectivity is not
required (e.g., when the screensaver activates or computer is inactive for a fixed
period of time).
• Notify the user when an application attempts to make an outbound connection..
• Medium to high level of security (e.g., “paranoia level”).
Encryption Software
â–  Ensure that appropriate encryption software is being used.
Securing the Operating System
â–  Secure or disable file and printer sharing.
â–  Ensure that the latest operating system patches are installed.
â–  Use a password protected screensaver to lock it during periods of inactivity.
â–  Where appropriate use a BIOS password to restrict personal able to start system
â–  Turn your system off when it is not being used.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Securing Wireless Networks
â–  Place wireless base station away from outside walls in order to minimize transmission of
data outside of building.
â–  Use additional encryption beyond WEP (VPN, PGP, etc.).
â–  Enable 128 bit WEP encryption.
â–  Change SSID to a hard to guess password.
â–  Enable additional authentication schemes supported by your wireless base station.
â–  Disable broadcasts of SSID in the wireless base station beacon message.
â–  Disable SNMP or change the SNMP community strings to a hard-to-guess password.
â–  Install personal firewall on all wireless clients.
Online Security Assessment
â–  An online security assessment has scanned the current configuration (including the
â–  All major vulnerabilities identified by the assessment have been corrected and confirmed
by a rescan.
Securing Web Browsers
â–  Browsers) configured to limit or disable plugins.
â–  Browser(s) configured to limit ActiveX, Java, and JavaScript.
Laptop Security Checklist
The need for an explicit laptop security checklist can be illustrated by the fact that, according
to Safeware Insurance in 1999, the number of laptop computers stolen outnumbered the
number of desktop computers stolen by almost 12 to 1.
Review Home Computer Security Checklist
â–  Where applicable, the appropriate elements from the home computer security checklist
presented previously should be applied to a laptop computer. (Not all elements from home
computer security checklist may apply.)
Encryption Software
â–  Although mentioned above in the home computer security checklist, encryption is vital for
protecting sensitive information on a mobile computer. Operating system features such as
encrypting file system (EFS) or even discretionary access control (DAC) permissions can
provide valuable security for a laptop that is stolen.
â–  Third-party software such as PGP and Norton Internet Security can provide similar levels
of protection for laptop data.
Physical Security
â–  Laptops that spend a majority of their time in two or fewer places should be physically
secured with a cable lock.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  Cable locks are widely available on the Internet and in computer retail stores.
â–  Almost all major laptop brands contain a slot to attach a lock cable.
â–  Those that do not can have a lock cable glued on.
Set BIOS Password
” Set BIOS password to prompt user every time laptop is powered up.
â–  Check for BIOS updates at least twice a year (or more) to “flash” BIOS.
Use Non-descript carrying case
â–  Avoid unwanted attention. A leather briefcase or obvious laptop case can attract attention
in public places, especially airports, and while on planes.
â–  If traveling with confidential information, pack information or information backup in
separate bag from laptop in case of theft.
Identify Laptop with contact information
â–  Many companies and individuals place decals or markings on the laptop case that are
difficult to remove and if done so, indicate obvious tampering.
â–  Record serial number and other identification information about laptop twice, and keep
one copy at home or in the office in case of theft. This information can be helpful to
authorities searching for the laptop.
Backup all personal data on a regular basis
â–  In the event that your laptop is stolen, all of your work is essentially useless without a
backup of all of your personal data.
Consider purchasing advanced security features
â–  Should your computing needs or data security warrant it, products that offer increasingly
advanced security features such as biometric login, motion sensing, and “Lo-Jack” type
location tracking are becoming increasingly cheaper to purchase for laptops.
â–  Software developers are responding to this demand by integrating these new technologies
into common tasks of computer usage such as seamlessly logging in to the operating
Telecommuting Security Checklist
This checklist originally appeared in a Department of Energy publication. Not all items in the
list will apply to every organization or telecommuter, but it provides a helpful starting point for
an organization or individual to review the security of home computer systems. The checklist
also includes considerations for organizations that have telecommuting users who regularly
access the organization’s central network.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
User Identification and Authorization
â–  Is the telecommuter authorized by their supervisor/manager to telecommute?
â–  Is the telecommuter authorized by the system owner to access the system(s) remotely?
â–  Does the telecommuter have a unique user ID and password for remote access and for
access to sensitive applications?
Access Controls
â–  Are system access controls in place and functioning to log the identification of each
remote access user, device, port, and user activity?
â–  Are system audit logs protected from unauthorized access?
â–  Are banners displayed regarding monitoring for unauthorized access and misuse?
â–  Does the remote access system record alarms and authentication information?
â–  Does the system audit log identify date and time of access, user, origin, success or failure
of access attempt?
â–  Are system audit logs retained to support reviews by computer security personnel?
â–  If dial-up access is allowed, does the system record details of access attempts?
Information Availability
â–  Are Government information assets (hardware, software, data, records) in a physically
secure location and protected from theft, fire, smoke, hazardous material, etc.?
â–  Is backup media maintained, secured, and easily retrieved to support established
contingency and disaster recovery plans?
â–  Is a physical inventory periodically conducted of Government information assets used for
â–  Can Government information assets be retrieved in the event of employee termination?
â–  Is there a process in place to ensure the most current version of anti virus software is
installed on the telecommuting computer?
â–  Are Government information assets adequately secured when not in use by the
â–  Are user IDs and passwords protected from unauthorized use?
Information Confidentiality
â–  Is Government information protected from unauthorized disclosure (family, friends,
â–  Is encryption used when transmitting sensitive unclassified information?
Remote Access Security Administration
â–  Is organizational, system administrator, and user responsibility for remote access security
â–  Are justifications for remote access users periodically revalidated to support continued
access privileges commensurate with job duties (at least annually)?
â–  Are incident reporting procedures in place to address handling of security breaches?
â–  Is regular system monitoring performed to detect unauthorized access attempts, denial of
service, or other security weaknesses?
â–  Is access to network management tools restricted to authorized users?
â–  Is software used for telecommuting legally purchased, and are software licensing
agreements properly maintained?
â–  Are telecommuting equipment hard drives degaussed or overwritten to remove sensitive
information in accordance with established best business practices?
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Architecture and Network Topology
â–  Is the telecommuting equipment used interoperable with the computing architecture
deployed at the home office?
â–  Does the network adequately separate traffic according to user communities?
â–  Does the remote access equipment and system protect the internal trusted network from
the external (public) untrusted network?
â–  Are network topology maps documented and kept current?
Education, Awareness, and Enforcement
â–  Are telecommuters and their supervisors trained in the specific risks, threats,
vulnerabilities, and proper use of a secure telecommuting environment?
â–  Is the telecommuter current on their computer security training?
â–  Is the telecommuter aware of the consequences for violation of Condition of Use
Modem Use
â–  Is there a single (or otherwise restricted) point of entry via modem into the internal
network or server?
â–  Are all dial-up numbers protected from unauthorized disclosure?
â–  Is the telecommuter instructed to disconnect modem connectivity to the home office
network or server when not in use?
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix B. Using Microsoft Baseline Security Advisor
The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBS A) is a tool that identifies common security
reconfigurations and missing hotfixes via local or remote scans of Windows systems.
MBS A, designed and developed to replace the Microsoft Personal Security Advisor (MPS A),
runs on Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems and uses Microsoft Network Security
Hotfix Checker (HFNetChk) to scan for vulnerabilities as well as missing hotfixes and service
packs in Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Internet Information Server (IIS)
4.0 and 5.0, SQL Server 7.0 and 2000, Internet Explorer 5.01 and later, and Office 2000 and
MBSA provides users with the ability to scan a single Windows system and obtain a security
assessment as well as a list of recommended corrective actions. Furthermore, administrators
may use the MBSA tool to scan multiple Windows systems on their network for vulnerabilities
to help ensure systems are up-to-date with the latest security-related patches.
MBSA provides the same functionality as HFNetChk in an easy-to-use interface with some
additional capabilities, including the ability to examine Windows desktops and servers for
common security vulnerabilities and best practices such as:
â–  Examining Windows desktops and servers for common best practices such as strong
password parameters;
â–  Scanning servers running US and SQL server for common security misconfigurations; and
â–  Checking for misconfigured security zone settings in Microsoft Office, Outlook, and
Internet Explorer.
Downloading the MBSA Tool
MBSA is available for free download at
http://w\v’w.microsoft.con’i/technet/security/tools/Tools/mbsahome.asp .
MBSA Welcome Window
The Welcome screen appears upon launching the application (see Figure B. 1).
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
$ Microsoft Uaselme Security Analy/ei
LI welcome
â–¡ Pick a computet to scan
Fl PKAmufl^jfe ujinyultirb tu btdli
U P** a imntty rfijwr m «
â–¡ tttw a msisiw fiBSi <<
bee Abo
Fl Miuusull Sdib&iB Stuutly Aiid)yw±»
â–¡ About Miciosoft Uasebn* l-ecurity
Li Microsoft Security Web site
Welcome to the Microsoft Baseline Securit)’
Tlia Miuuiufl Bdsutii ft) Suturily Ai \diyMi UiULri luniuulBt;, rumiiiiy Mjuubufl
Windows NT 4.0. Windows 2000, or Windows XP For common security
rrascontigurations. You must have administrator privileges tor each computer
you want to scan.
Jeans can be peiformed locally and remotely agarnst Windows N I 4.U.
Windows 2000, and Windows XP computers. Note that on Windows XP
computers using simple File sharing, only local scans can be performed.
Q srnn ,t r nmpi irrr
Stl Jean more ttian one computer
Q •. HshAiny ‘..bi.ur’i rypurl’.
© 2002 Bitaascft Carpofatlsfl. aH rights reserved.
Figure B.1: MBSA Welcome Screen
The navigation menu runs vertically along the left side of the MBSA window (see Figure B.2).
To navigate within the application, click on the appropriate button in the menu. The upper half
of the menu contains options to conduct scans and view security reports of previously scanned
computers. The lower half of the menu contains links to helpful resources for additional
information and troubleshooting.
Microsoft Baseline security Analyzer
0 WiMrnmfc
E3 Pick a computer to scan
PI Pii k uiiil!i|>lH i mii|iiilHrk. In M Hi
â–¡ m: a security rs&c-rt fce vtw
E3 Vfew a security raport
Shh Akn
O Microsoft Baseline security Analyser
l lelp
â–¡ About Microsoft Baseline Security
â–¡ Microsoft becunty Web sits
Figure B.2: MBSA Navigation Menu
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
The Welcome screen includes a brief description of the MBSA utility’s purpose and
capabilities. The introduction notes that a user must have administrative privileges on each
computer to be scanned. When scanning a single system, the account with which a user runs
MBSA must either be the Administrator or a member of the local Administrator’s group.
When scanning multiple systems users must be an administrator of each computer or a domain
administrator. If the account with which a user runs MBSA is not an Administrator or a
member of the local or domain Administrator’s group (for single and multiple scans,
respectively), the Unable to scan all computers screen will be appear noting for which
computers the scan could not be conducted (see Figure B.3). This screen will appear after a
scan has been attempted on the computer name or IP address, and no security report will be
produced for the identified computers).
% Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
W Baseline Security Analyzer
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
â–¡ Welcome
â–¡ Pick a computer to scan
Q Pitt, multiple computers to scan
U Pick a security report to view
â–¡ vfew* secure rapwt
See Also
O Mto’osof t Daseline jecurft? Analyzer
Q About Microsoft Baseline Security
Unable to scan all computers : User is nut di i ddimi nslralur un tl le sLdi n red MidLliiire. : User is not on administrator on the scanned machine.
jgi TTifV? Wmv<»v?fr Onrfv^^rm. 4ttf fights v&-x&tv**ft
Figure B.3: Unable to Scan All Computers Screen
Three options are located in the Welcome screen (see Figure B.4).
flj Scan a computer
Hi Scan more than one computer
/Jew existing security reports
Figure B.4: Welcome Screen Options
These options are identical to those in the navigation menu along the left side of the MBSA
Scanning a Single Computer
To scan a single computer, click on the Scan a computer option from the Welcome screen or
on the Pick a computer to scan option from the navigation menu.
The Pick a computer to scan screen will appear (see Figure B.5). Here, the computer to be
scanned is specified and the scope of the scan is defined.
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
B O Welcome
11! t—i
UJ Kck a wraps iter to scan
â–¡ Pick multiple computers to scan
|i â–¡ Pick a security report to vie’,-‘.’
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
B See Also
E] Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
â–¡ About Microsoft Baseline Security
H Q Hiaosoft Security Web sits
Pick a computer to scan
Specify the computer you want to scan. You can enter either the computer name or its IP
Computer name:
IP address:
Security report name:
|choggieland\mtsmachination2 (this computer) ~j
|%domain% – %computerName% (%date%)
— Check for Windows vulnerabilities
P” check for weak passwords
— Check for ns vulnerabilities
R Check for SQL vulnerabilities
“check for hptfixes
Learn more about Scanning Options
O Start scan
© ‘JtCQZ PS’t-er* <<t-fK <^«-pai»ti^rt« -All ri-ghta rtj-arxd.
Figure B.5: Pick a Computer to Scan Screen
â–  Computer name – Identifies the computer to be scanned. By default, the field is
populated with the name of the local machine running the MBSA utility. Therefore, to
conduct a “self-scan” do not alter this field. To scan a computer other than the local
machine, enter the appropriate computer name in this field.
â–  IP address – To specify the IP address of the computer to be scanned, instead of a
computer name, enter the IP address in this field.
â–  Security report name – By default MBSA labels the security report with the domain
name followed by the name of the computer scanned and the date of the scan. To rename
the security report, specify the name in this field.
â–  Options – Specifies the scope of the scan. Select or deselect the areas MBSA will check
for vulnerabilities as appropriate.
For more information on the benefits and/or purpose of the different types of checks MBSA
can conduct, select the Scanning Options link highlighted in blue. Also, to learn about what
each of the various scans searches for, use the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer Help
link in the Navigation menu.
To begin the scan, click on the green arrow next to the Start scan option at the bottom of the
window. The Scanning screen will appear (see Figure B.6) with an illustrative bar to track the
progress of the scan.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
:y Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
Baseline Security Analyzer
•lutuwll Bdtdinc ScLunl, Ari<jly.t-r
Figure B.6: MBSA Scanning Screen
When the scan completes the security report will show on the screen. For more information on
reading the security report, see the Security Report section later in this appendix.
Scanning Multiple Computers
To scan more than one computer, click on the Scan more than one computer option from the
Welcome screen or on the Pick multiple computers to scan option from the navigation menu.
The Pick multiple computers to scan screen will appear (see Figure B.7). Here, the computers
to be scanned are specified and the scope of the scan is defined.
It’ Microsoft Baselvie Security Analyzer
& Baseline Security Analyzer
8 Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
Pick multiple computers to scan
& â–¡ Welcome
fl Q Pick a oomp^er $& seafi
Specify the computers you want to scan. You can enter ether the doman name where the
1 computers are located or enter the IP address range.
fl| .Q’Frts-fiTufcipld computers ro ican
J Domain name:
1|| R Fid; 3 security report Co vtev*
||i See Alio
flj â–¡ Mkjoso^ Basdine SearRv Analy&f 1
||| About PtoJSOft B^iefeifc S=wty
III Ansjyzsr
L;3 O Micrn’-dt 5eari f y Web si?
b.*!*^^ r – .r i i i„ i .i .r~ .i a
1 Security report name : |%domain% – %computerName% (%date%)
I Options: ry for Endows vulnerabjities
W Check for weak passwords
Ej Check for ns vdnerabities
Check for SOL vulnerabilities
F Check for hotfixes
Learn more about Scannrig Options
Start scan
Figure B.7: Pick Multiple Computers to Scan Screen
â–  Domain name – Specifies the domain to be scanned. Enter a domain to be scanned.
MBSA will discover and scan all Windows-based machines in the specified domain.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  IP address range – Enter the IP addresses of the first and last machines in the EP range to
be scanned to specify an IP address range instead of an entire domain. All Windows-based
machines found within the range will be scanned.
â–  Security report name – By default MBSA labels the security report with the domain
name followed by the name of the computer scanned and the date of the scan. To rename
the security report, specify the new name in this field.
â–  Options – Specify the scope of the scan. Select or deselect the areas MBSA will check for
vulnerabilities as appropriate.
For more information on the benefits and/or purpose of the different types of checks MBSA
can conduct, select the Scanning Options link highlighted in blue. Also, to learn about what
each of the various scans searches for, use the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer Help
link in the Navigation menu.
To begin the scan click on the green arrow next to the Start scan option at the bottom of the
window. The Scanning screen will appear (see Figure B.8) with an illustrative bar to track the
progress of the scan.
$ Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
Baseline Security Analyzer
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
□ Pjfk»C0f.-«>UtertOSCJfl
â–¡ PicKnwfcoto ccwfHWrs te <z*r
See Also
□ «c«wofl Basefc-os Sacusity Am
Started scanning 19 of 46
Completed scanning 19 of 46
Critical scanning problems found: 1
Stop j
*S : .Microsoft: Carpoj-sHon,. Mi rtgfrt* »a3««i«dsi
Figure B.8: MBSA Scanning Screen
When the scan completes the Pick a security report to view screen will show on the screen.
For more information on this screen, see the Viewing a Security Report section later in this
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Security Report
The top portion of the security report contains summary information regarding the scan (see
Figure B.9).
View security report
5url Order; JSuyre (wuril firil) jj
Computer name:
IP address:
Security report name;
3 voi i dale.
nornx dataoase version:
Security assessment:
Figure B.9: MBSA Scan Summary Information
The vulnerability assessment follows below and is divided into sections. Depending on the
options selected in either the Pick a computer to scan screen or the Pick multiple computers to
scan screen, the report is divided into as many as four sections:
â–  Windows Scan Results – Scan results for Windows operating system vulnerabilities.
â–  Internet Information Services (IIS) Scan Results – Scan results for US vulnerabilities.
â–  SQL Server Scan Results – Scan results for SQL Server vulnerabilities.
â–  Desktop Application Scan Results – Scan results for desktop application vulnerabilities.
Each section contains vulnerabilities discovered by MBSA as well as any pertinent additional
system information. Vulnerabilities include security vulnerabilities discovered during the scan.
Additional system information includes best practice suggestions and resource information
gathered by MBSA, such as operating system type and version number.
The security report is populated with issues found by MBSA during the scan. Each issue has a
score and result associated with it. The score is depicted in graphical form (see Figure B. 10).
Choggiolond Mtjmochinotion2 (07 00 2002 01 d TM)
7/30/20021.31 PM
Severe Risk (One or more critical checks failed.)
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
iMiidows Scan Results
. score te,-
%f Windows
<t hotfixes are missing or could not be confirmed.
What was scanned P.esult details How to correct this
Password Some user accounts (3 of 6) have non-expiring passwords.
FYpiraKnn what was scanned Result details I low to correct this
> 0 of t ors
fifeSyslBm ABIidrUUiivK>(2)drtius8iyLlieNTF5filt!b.yblaii.
What was scanned Result details
feitntrsjr*. AirJnffn :< rwr rrWo*«d f*> >N< i-rwp. it
MEfafifiNBmwBM £ –
Guest Account The Guest account is disabled on this computer.
Figure B.10: MBSA Vulnerability Assessment
To view the meaning of each score, scroll the mouse over the icon. The issues in the security
report may be sorted by score (most critical vulnerability to least critical, or vice versa) or
alphabetically by using the drop-down box at the top of the Security report screen.
MBSA provides detailed information for each issue discovered during the scan, including:
â–  What is scanned – Describes what MBSA is checking for (check description) and
additional resources for information regarding that particular issue.
â–  Result details – Where appropriate, MBSA offers additional information on what it
discovered during the scan.
â–  How to correct this – This option describes the vulnerability issue and offers a possible
solution(s) to eliminate or mitigate the risk presented by the vulnerability.
Viewing a Security Report
To view a security report, click on the View existing security reports option from the
Welcome screen or on the Pick a security report to view option from the navigation menu.
The Pick a security report to view screen will appear (see Figure B. 1 1) with a list of previously
scanned computers.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
js” Microsoft: Baseline Security Analyzer
-IP! x(
Baseline Secur
ity Analyzer
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer S
Q Welcome
Q Picl. a computer to scan
â–¡ Pick multiple computers to scan
Pick a security report to view
Security reports are located in: C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\SecurityScans
Sort order: [Scan date (descending) 33
,Q Pirk a security report to view
A 3£CiJ!;Cy f^pOft
See Also
d Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
â–¡ About Microsoft Baseline Security
Q Miuusuft Stscurily WcrU iiLc
i@ «200S Mtaftsoft C»rpor»tioft. *fl rtght* raservad, â–
Computer Name-
: “w Ptiskcm *s«esfsna«s« SeanrOsate’ ‘
on2 Severe Risk 7/30/2002 1:57 PM
Figure B.11: Pick a Security Report to View Screen
To change the sort order of the reports, select the appropriate option from the drop down box at
the top of the window. To open any of the security reports click on the report link in blue.
To toggle between viewing all security reports and just those security reports from the most
recent scan, click on the appropriate blue link to the right of the sort order drop down box.
When viewing a security report, two new options appear in the navigation menu (see Figure
Figure B.12: Print and Copy Options
To print a report click on the Print option and, when prompted, specify a printer to print a
copy of the report. To create a copy of the report, click on the Copy option. This action will
save a copy of the security report to the local machine’s clipboard.
Additional Resources
The links under See Also in the navigation menu are comprehensive resources for
understanding how the tool functions.
â–  Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer Help – Contains helpful information about the
utility including:
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
• System requirements – Defines the system requirements for a computer running the
MBSA utility and the system requirements for a computer to be scanned by MBSA.
• Tool security checks – Lists the checks MBSA conducts for Windows, IIS, SQL, and
desktop applications. Click on any one of the checks for a detailed explanation of the
check and a list of additional resources for further information.
• Tool scanning options – Describes parts of a scan that are optional and may be turned
off prior to scanning a computer.
• Command Line Options — Describes options that can be run by running the MBSA
tool from a command line instead of a graphical user interface.
• Notes on Scanning – Offers helpful information regarding the scanning properties of
the MBSA tool.
• Reporting Bugs or Requesting Support – Offers instructions for reporting bugs with
the product or requesting technical support for using the tool.
â–  About Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer – Contains information about the utility
including the MBSA version number, engine version number, and hotfix version number.
a Microsoft security website – Connects to Microsoft’s security site on the Internet.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix C. Using Windows Update
Windows Update is a utility provided by Microsoft in most versions of Windows (including
some versions of 95 and NT and all versions of 98, ME, 2000, and XP) that allows a user to
scan their computer to find any updates that are available at that time from Microsoft and other
participating vendors. Figures C. 1 and C.2 demonstrate the two different methods of accessing
the Windows Update utility. It is suggested that users close all other applications before
initiating the Windows Update feature.
3i NIST Computet Security Division 893 and CSRC Home Page • Microsoft Internet fcitpiorei
gynchonae. ,
About CSD:
” Mission
” Projects /
Focus Areas
* CSD staff
” Location
VAidcw; Update
Net3 ! harw
Encatta EiKyctopwte
Show geiatttd ‘jnkt
Reset ^ebSeWnat-..
trtemet Qp&cm ,
smpufer Svcwiiy Division (CSBJ
Center (CSRC}
Mofionat Inrtttvrt* of
StOtdortis and “lotho-do^rf
â–  r-). i: u . –
â–¡pent the WWwe Update Web
Research Areas
CSD’s work is grouped into five
major categories, described
below. A more complete listing
of research areas is given here .
” Cryptographic Standards
and Applications :
Focus is on developing cryptographic
methods for protecting the integrity,
confidentiality, and authenticity of
information resources
• Advanced Encryption Standard
• Cryptographic Standards Toolkit
• Encryption Key Recovery and
09 Et> update componeofct
” ‘^'” “‘MMMIMfMlillMlfgtMIMIIIIIIMMtl^^
CSRC Website Highlights
â–  ** Receive Immediate e-malt
notification when new NIST
computer security publications
or news are available by
subscribing to the NIST
computer security publications
e-mail list. To subscribe to this
list send e-mail to:
ll stp ;roc#nist.qov . In the body
of the e-mail message type
OMY; subscribe cornpsecpubs
your first and last name. Once
you subscribe to the list, you
will receive a confirmation
tetter. You will not be able to
post anything to cornpsecpubs.
This ia a ptivale said fiarf
Interactive list. You will only
J <>Go ,j Links 2 *;
Figure C.1: Accessing Windows Update Though Internet Explorer
To access Windows update from within Internet Explorer browser, click on Tools and then
Windows Update in the pull-down menu.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Alternatively, a user can access Windows Update from the Start Menu as demonstrated in
Figure C.2. From the Windows desktop, click on the Start bar. From the menu, click on the
Windows Update icon.
1^1 I flow 0H M)tks.i*twiti
Figure C.2: Accessing Windows Update though the ‘Start’ Menu
Either of these options will launch Microsoft Internet Explorer (if it is not already active) and
go the Microsoft Windows Update web site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ ). See
Figure C.3 for the Windows Update homepage.
‘3 *1icru*oft. Window* Upddt i” > Miutnofl Internet Explorer
H* vtm P-wortts Tools t**>
junta 1
Windows 2000
Service Pack
Welcome to
Windows Update
WiiiJuwi 20QO Servar
Pack 2 Now Available’
Download Service Pack 2 to
get the latest reliability,
compatibility, and security
updates for Windows 2000.
Download today from
Product Updates .
EKDerience .In ter njt
EwDlorcr &â–
Based on core technologies
tn Windows XP, Internet
Explorer 6 provides a
private, reliable, and flexible
browsing experience, as
well as the freedom to enjoy
the best of the Internet.
Download today from
Pi odutt Update .
Go here to download and install the latest updates for your computer.
Download Windows Mrdio Plaver 7. 1 for Windows
The best just got better, with new support for windows Media Audio 8 and more, windows Media Player 7.1
brings digital media into the mainstream by delivering the highest quality experience for the discovery,
download, personalizabon, and playback of digital audio and video.
Get help using Windows Update by reading c
taking advantage of other support opbons.
r Frequently Asked Questions and Known Issues pages, or by
Why does the Window* Update tite appear in a different language?
Find out now tn »«e Internet Explorer’s Accept Language feature to view Windows Update in your preferred
Si 7CP1 M-‘-iowf* Corporation
Figure C.3: Windows Update Homepage
To have the Windows Update scan your computer for updates, click on the “PRODUCT
UPDATES ” link. Note: This is accomplished without sending any information to Microsoft
or transmitting sensitive information on your host over the Internet. The Windows Update
utility will commence its scan of the user’s computer and come up with a customized product
update catalog specific to that computer (see Figure C.4). Having Windows Update
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
automatically check your system has several advantages. This check assures that users will get
the most up-to-date and accurate versions of anything they choose to download from the site.
Additionally, they will not waste time downloading components that are already installed.
â– ^Checking Available Updates… – Microsoft Intfgoet &q>tofef j
Please Wait…
Windows Update is customizing the product updates catalog for your computer, j
This is done without sending any information to Microsoft.
Figure C.4: Windows Update Scan
Once Windows Update has finished scanning the users machine, it will generate a list of
recommended updates (see Figure C.5). Users can browse the list, decide which components
they want, and download them right to their computer.
The product updates are broken down into five different sections:
■ Critical Updates and Service Packs — It is generally suggested that users download all
Critical Update Packages as these fix now known problems (often security issues) with
their specific installation.
■ Picks of the Month — These are new releases that add functionality to Windows but are
not required to fix a known problem.
■ Recommended Updates — These are older releases that add functionality to Windows but
are not required to fix a known problem.
■ Additional Windows Features — These are updates to other applications that are included
with Windows (e.g., Internet Explorer, Media Player, etc.).
■ Device Drivers — Listed here will be any updated device drivers for your computer. A
device driver is a program that controls a piece of hardware (such as a printer, monitor,
disk drive, or video card) that is attached to your computer. Note: Third parties
manufacture most hardware, and device drivers for this hardware will not be listed here
unless the manufacturer has an agreement with Microsoft. Generally a user should go to
the appropriate manufacturer’s web site to get device driver updates.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
1 3 Microsoft Windows Update – Microsoft Irternct Explorer
I m &K W» FartrfcB lotk H$s
I I «.0k> – -» – ‘9 lj} ‘3 &Swirt JjJPomrtM (jplMoy 1^’ J> 23 * iSi
KL^RTOfndows Update
msn”» McfDSOA
Selected Software
Total Sire; 471 KB Download Time: < 1 min
Picks of the Month
Devic* Drivers
f~ Critical Updates Package
0 KB/ Download Time: < 1 min
Download the Critical Updates Package to ensure the trouble-free operation of your computer, and to
protect your computer from security vulnerabilities. The package appears whenever there are critical
updates available. Whan you install items from Windows Update, the contents of the package are
modified accordingly. Download now to update your computer in one easy step.
£ Siiow Individual Updates
View all updates included in the Critical Updates Package. From here, you may choose individual
updates to install. For opbmal performance, Microsoft recommends that you install the enbre
Critical Updates Package.
Critical Updates offered below must be installed exclusive of any other items. For this reason, they are not included in
the Cnbcal Updates Package.
p- Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack 2 and Internet Tools
471 KB/ Download Time: < 1 mm
Download Internet Explorer S.S Service Pack 2 and Internet Tools. This version of
Internet Explorer includes improved support for DHTML and CSS, which gives Web
architects greater control over browser appearance and behavior. Enjoy the ability to
preview Web pages exactly as they will appear when printed. Internet Explorer S.5
Service Pack 2 (SP2) makes it easier than ever to connect to the Internet and find the
in formation you need. With Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2, you can use Connection Manager
as your default dialer when Dial-Up Networking is already installed. Total download size
for a typical installabon is approximately 17 megabytes (MB). However, because setup
only downloads files that are necessary for your computer, the size may vary between
6 and 17 MB. R(ad_this;„fir£j
Figure C.5: Windows Update Recommend Updates
Certain updates can only be downloaded individually. If this is the case, Window Update will
provide notification as shown in Figure C.6. If this happens, the user will have to repeat the
process delineated here.
[VBScript: Windows Update
You can only download. Internet Explorer 5,5 servte Pack 2 and Internet Tools separately from other components. CSck OK to
return to the ftodtrtUpoatesC^^
installetlc«, you can tetw to Winclo^
UpdatesCatalog without downloatfeg Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack. 2 and Internet Tools,
OK ^ | â–  Cancrf |
Figure C.6: Windows Update Multiple Downloads not Permitted Warning
After selecting the patches to download, the Download Checklist page loads to confirm the
selections (see Figure C.7). At this point the user may choose to view the instructions, start the
download and install, or to go back and reselect the software.
After selecting “Start Download” from the Download Checklist page, an additional screen
pops up to confirm your selection (see Figure C.8). At this point, you may choose to view the
instructions, license agreement, start the download and install (by clicking on the “Yes”
button), or go back and reselect the software that you would like to download and install (by
clicking on the “No” button).
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
MMfeL’ % .
fM ^Sj^t^yim faVc*W T«k Mate
http ! /) wmdowofidate. microsoft, corn/
,.->a» links “j
tuck: or the Month
D*wkc Driven
Product Updates
Download Checklist
Confirm Selections
You have chosen to install the following software. You can deselect any of the components you do not want to install by deanng the
Chech box.
P Critical Update* Package 15389 KB/ Oo-nlodd Tim*: 1 mm
2 View Instructions?
View a single, combined instruction page tor all of the software you have chosen to install. You may want to print these instructions for
later reference.
Return to the list of all available software.
£1 (2*«QS Mrmar#^f>wtoa^cic^ ppg.. .
Figure C.7: Windows Update Download Checklist
‘m Windows Update — Web Page Dialog
Pte«se read the talta wsng Scense egreewienf . Press the PAGE DOV*l key
to see the rest of the agreement
Do you accept slthe terms of the preceding License AgreetnentTif you
Securty Uptime, May 30, 2001
Security Update, May 10, 2001
Security Update, Feijrwary 1 2, 2001
Security Update, February 5, â– 2001
Seguriy Update, October 24, 2000
jhttpr/Zswdowsupdate-microso !’£} Internet;
Figure C.8: Windows Update Confirmation and License Agreement
Upon acceptance of the license agreement, the selected patches and software will be
downloaded (see Figure C.9). The duration of the download will depend on several factors
including the files size of the software selected and connection speed.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Microsoft Windows Update
Security Update, October 24. 2000
Download progress: 15076 KB/15389 KB
Download lima remaining:
Install Progress
1 min
Figure C.9: Windows Update Download Status Window
After the download is complete, Microsoft Windows Update will start the install process that
may take up to several minutes to complete (see Figure CIO).
Microsoft Windows Update
Security Update, August 3, 2001
Downtoad progress:
15383 KB/1 5383 KB
Install Progress:
Figure C.10: Windows Update Install Status Window
Once the install is successfully completed, that browser window will confirm the success (see
Figure C. 11).
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
«• t* W*» r*mtm To* >Wp
â– >Be* * «» _• ;3| 3 & <2j5»ar* .ijfwontw i-‘^C £2 ‘
â–  Ifflxl
: Ad*»» |2] hcto://yandowsupd3te,nKrc*ort.com/
||T; — . -„- — .
â–  â–  : ‘ —
»| <■>«» tat* »
if Microsoft
Picks of th* -tooth
^^^^H Product Updates
Download Results
upd,ues Installed
The following updates were successfully installed on your computer.
Critical Updates Package
J (I Hem r«»#»^Do«ilrjadr^ picture hS t K/(w < xJc«i»to.i!iCfC^cc^^
Figure C.11: Windows Update Install Success Confirmation Window.
Often, a reboot may be necessary to activate the updates (see Figure C. 12). Click on the “Yes”
button to restart the computer. Click the “No” button if you do not wish to reboot immediately
(changes will NOT take effect until a the computer has successful rebooted). If Windows
Update does not prompt for a reboot, then the changes do not require it and are effective from
the time of a successful installation (see Figure C. 1 1).
Microsoft Windows Update
you must restart Windows so that installation can finish.
Do you want to restart now?
Figure C.12: Windows Update Restart Dialog Box
If additional patches were required but could not be download simultaneously, repeat the
Microsoft Windows Update process as required.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix D. Home Networking Installation Tips
Regardless of the technology chosen for developing your SOHO (small office/home or home
office) network, most of the setup steps are similar for each technology with only minor
differences in the installation procedures of various types of network media (adapters, hubs,
and access points, if needed) and between operating systems. Below are some suggestions to
assist you in your network setup procedures. The tips are divided into their appropriate
category of the network installation/configuration process: planning, network/hardware wiring,
PC hardware/software configuration, and troubleshooting.
The tips provided below reference information found on the following web sites:
â–  Computer Emergency Response Center’s (CERT) “Home Network Security”
Planning Tips:
The following planning steps should be taken before beginning the physical installation
procedures of your network. The importance of planning cannot be stressed enough due to the
amount of your time it can save.
â–  Plan out your system installation prior to beginning including: PC physical location,
operating systems, network wiring, printers, print drivers, share folders, Internet access,
â–  If you plan your network design carefully, this can serve to eliminate future problems and
bottlenecks. For example, it may not be apparent at the installation time that you place two
PCs too far apart physically and used the incorrect cable type to connect them to your
switch/hub, but if you plan your steps in advance, you may catch this problem before it
â–  Consider keeping a paper record within reach of your design choices such as: local area
network (LAN) settings, Internet Service Provider (ISP) network settings, PC descriptions,
â–  Any user that wants to reinstall the operating system on one of their PCs on their network
would benefit greatly from having the necessary configuration information within reach
when it came time to specify network settings. Having to stop your work and search for
these settings or contacting the appropriate personnel to retrieve them can be very time
consuming. Although many users would like to perform tasks alone, it can be very helpful
if you include PC support information such as Technical Support phone numbers in these
records as well.
Network/Hardware Wiring Tips:
The following tips describe issues related to network hardware such as switches/hubs and
network wiring. Typically network hardware and wiring are more complicated to
install/configure and should be approached carefully.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
â–  If using a network hub or switch with a port labeled “Uplink” connected to an upstream
device such as a broadband Internet connection or a secondary hub or switch, be sure not
to plug any cables into the port directly adjacent to the uplink port. This can prevent the
uplink port from functioning. The uplink port of a switch/hub and the port directly
adjacent to it share internal wiring, which when both ports are occupied at the same time
can deny all network traffic from reaching your Internet connection or upstream media.
â–  Take care when determining the physical location of your network hardware such as
hub/switch or ISP broadband Internet connection. Placing your network equipment near
other household equipment such as multi-piece stereos and speakers, large TV7VCR
combinations, or even power outlets with more than two outlets can cause interference
between the devices which may not be apparent at first but could cause problems in the
long run, and even decrease the overall life of the hardware.
PC Hardware/Software Tips:
The following tips describe steps to aide you in the installation/configuration of any PCs
attached to your network. These tips describe both hardware and software issues.
â–  Identify important/critical data on your PC, and conduct a backup of this data prior to
modifying your system.
â–  Although it may not seem necessary, many times there are files that are very important to
save in a backup procedure but are not immediately apparent at first. For example, when
reinstalling the operating system of a PC, are there any important e-mail messages that you
want to save? What about drivers for your graphics board that you downloaded from the
Internet and took you an hour to find? Do you use financial software on a regular basis?
All of these examples use data files that are vital to normal operating and should be saved
in a backup.
â–  When installing/configuring network adapters, follow manufacturer’s detailed instructions.
As an example, for Microsoft Windows, network adapters that are not recognized by the plug-
and-play installation process are sometimes configured manually in a different fashion. The
proper installation process is usually detailed within the adapter manual or on the hardware
manufacturer’s web site.
• During installation/configuration of your PCs and components, when prompted, reboot
your system as required. (Rebooting will often solve some installation and operational
problems.) The frequency with which you will have to reboot your PC will be determined
by which particular operating system and version you run. Hardware and software
installation/configuration can make changes to a PC and its operating system that may not
take effect until after the PC is restarted. Because of the manner in which operating
systems such as Microsoft Windows were constructed, certain types of required settings
are only initialized during the boot procedure.
â–  Keep your original operating system CD-ROM nearby during the installation, as it may be
required. Performing a task such as installing a network adapter or configuring network
settings requires the use of operating system files besides the actual driver for the network
adapter. These files may need to be copied from the operating system CD-ROM. An
alternate solution is to copy the entire data directory from your operating system CD-
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
ROM onto your hard drive. This will allow you to browse to the local data directory you
just created when prompted for a specific file.
â–  Ensure that the version of any software or file being installed is newer than the one already
on your system. If your system already has a newer version, keep that one. During the
installation/configuration process of your PCs and their components, files are copied from
the operating system CD-ROM or data directory that interact with the components you are
configuring. In many cases if you have updated your operating system with a service pack
or a hot fix, this may replace one of these files, to fix security vulnerabilities, with a newer
version. The operating system will prompt you with this alert when it occurs. Be sure to
choose to keep the newer file instead of the older one, but read the alert box carefully
because the message can be confusing.
â–  Ensure that your PC is powered off before installing the network adapter to prevent
damage to your PC. As an extra precaution, you should unplug the AC power cord to the
PC. Although modern motherboards are designed to protect against minor power mishaps,
you should always power down your PC before installing/removing any hardware. This
protects you from accidental shocks, and protects your PC’s hardware from any mistakes.
If cycling the PC’s power, always try to wait 10 seconds before turning the power back on
again; this increases the life of your hardware.
â–  Install virus scanning software and update data files frequently for all PCs connected to
your network. Run a virus scan once a week. Although this may sound repetitive, virus
scanners can provide protection against common viruses. Certain virus-scanning software
offers a heuristic feature, which proactively searches for virus-like activity.
â–  Develop a regular habit of updating the operating system and major software titles of
every PC connected to your network in a timely manner. Many major software vendors
offer web sites that distribute updates and security fixes for their products on a regular
basis. Application of these patches is an extremely important step in the
installation/configuration process and shows that your work is not complete when the
installation finishes. This is especially important for those systems that are connected to
the Internet through a broadband connection.
â–  If you are connecting your network to a broadband Internet connection such as a DSL or
Cable modem, it is strongly urged that you implement both software and hardware-based
personal firewalls. The hardware firewall provides Network Address Translation to hide
the address of your network PCs, while the software firewall can notify you if a Trojan
horse program attempts to transmit information without your knowledge. As described in
the section on Personal Firewalls, a broadband Internet connection such as a cable or DSL
modem is an “always-on” connection where your PC is connected to the Internet 24 hours
a day. This increases the risk for attempts of subversion of your PC.
Troubleshooting Tips:
The following tips detail steps you can take to track down and possibly correct any problems
that may arise with your network. They are by no means meant to be a foolproof solution to
any type of problem or unpredictable behavior that may arise.
â–  If using a network hub or switch, consider placing it in an easily accessible location. If a
problem occurs with your network and PCs cannot communicate with each other, or
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
cannot reach the Internet, the link lights on the front of your switch/hub can provide
valuable information instantly. On virtually all brands of network switches/hubs, sets of
link lights give information for each specific port. As an example, if the uplink port on
your switch/hub connects your network to your ISP and this port is not lit, or not lit
correctly, then there is a problem with your ISP and the Internet connectivity in your local
neighborhood. In a similar example, if one of your machines is not responding to network
requests for resources such as file shares and the lights for this machine are not lit, or not
lit correctly, then there is a specific problem with this machine. This quick troubleshooting
process can save you valuable recovery time.
â–  When your PCs aren’t responding on the network, and you suspect a network hardware
problem, if they are provided on your network adapters, check the link lights on the
adapter for a description of the connectivity the adapter has with the switch/hub. Similar to
the link lights on a switch/hub, the link lights on a network adapter tell more information
about the connection or lack of a connection with the rest of the network. Consult the
manual for your network adapter to determine what the specific lights mean.
â–  Have manufacturer technical support information available if necessary. It is possible to
encounter a situation within your network which you cannot solve, or are not informed
enough to solve. For this reason, it is important to keep your hardware manufacturer’s
technical support information available if necessary.
â–  If available, consider using a cable tester to test network cables for faulty wiring.
Network testers can be purchased at any major PC retailer and a variety of specialty shops.
Even if you are not crimping your own network cables, they are still subject to failure by
getting ripped or torn in your household or small office. A user could accidentally kick or
rip a cable that was run across a floor, instead of inside of a wall, and cause the internal
wires to break or tear. Even if the tear is not evident externally, a single wire that is torn
inside a length of network cable can cause the entire length not to function correctly.
Please note that it is important to exercise extreme caution if you follow any of the tips
provided due to the fact that not all of the tips described above may apply to every networking
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix E. Online Resources
A wealth of security information is available online. The following list of web sites contains a
number of notable sites where one can begin to explore additional information on computer
Federal Government Resources
Telework.gov – http://www.telework.gov
Telework.gov is an interagency site maintained by the General Services Admiiustration (GSA)
and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It provides a central clearinghouse for
information on telework and telecommuting practices and policies from both civilian and
military agencies.
ICAT Metabase – http://icat.nist.gov/
ICAT is a searchable index of information on computer vulnerabilities. It provides search
capability at a fine granularity and links users to vulnerability and patch information.
Computer Security Resource Clearinghouse (CSRC) – http://csrc.nist.gov/
The CRSC contains current U.S. security policy documents, calendar of events, security
publications, naming resources, and information on various computer security subjects.
The Federal Computer Incident Response Capability (FedCERC) – http://www.fedcirc.gov
FedCIRC provides a government focal point for incident reporting, handling, prevention, and
National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) – http://www.niap.nist.gov/
NIAP is a U.S. Government initiative to promote the development of technically sound
security requirements for IT products and systems and appropriate metrics for evaluating those
products and systems to meet the needs of both IT producers and consumers.
Universities and Professional Societies
CERT Coordination Center – http://www.cert.org/
CERT issues security advisories, helps start other incident response teams, coordinates the
efforts of teams when responding to large-scale incidents, provides training to incident
response professionals, and researches the causes of security vulnerabilities.
WWW Consortium Security FAQ – http://wwvv.w3.org/Securitv/FAQ
The World Wide Web Consortium site contains a repository of information about the World
Wide Web for developers and users.
RISKS forum – http ://catIess.ncl.ac.u k/Risks/
ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy forum on risks to the public in computers
and related systems. http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) –
CERIAS is a university center for multidisciplinary research and education in areas of
information security (computer security, network security, and communications security) and
information assurance.
Commercial Resources
Microsoft Internet Explorer Security Page –
Microsoft posts information and code fixes for security problems here as soon as they are
Netscape Security Page – http://home.netscape.com/securiry/notes/
Latest news concerning the security of Netscape’s client, server, and development software
can be found here
System Administration, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute –
The SANS community creates four types of products and services: system and security alerts
and news updates, special research projects and publications, in-depth education, and
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Appendix F: References and Further Reading
Borisov, Nikita, et al, “Security of the WEP Algorithm”, 2001 .
CableModem.net. “Broadband Internet Security Basics – The ABCs … and XYZs of
protecting your always-on, high-speed connection”,
http://www.cablemodem.net/features/marOO/story 1 .html
CERT. Home Network Security 22 June, 2001.
Department of Energy. “Telecommuting Security Guide”, Office of Information
Management, U.S. Dept. of Energy, DOE G 200. 1-X, 1997.
DSL Reports. “DSL FAQ”, May 2000.
Firewall Guide.com. Firewall Guide Software Reviews.
http://www.firewall guide.com/sofrware.htm
Frankel, Sheila. Demystifying the IPsec Puzzle, Artech House Publishers, 2001 .
Klaus, Christopher, “Wireless LAN Security FAQ”, 2001.
http://www.iss.net/wireless/WLAN FAQ.php
National Institute of Standards and Technology. “Guidelines on Firewalls and Firewall
Policy”, SP 800-4 1 , January, 2002.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. “Guidelines on Active Content and Mobile
Code”, SP 800-28. October 2001 .
National Institute of Standards and Technology. “Security Self- Assessment Guide for
Information Technology Systems”, SP 800-26. August, 2001.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. “Generally Accepted Principles and Practices
for Securing Information Technology Systems”, SP 800-14. September 1996.
htrp://csrc.nist.govVpublications/nistpubs/800- 1 4/800- 1 4.pdf
Hillman, Dale. “How Complicated Is Home Protection?”, November 23, 2000.
Scambray, Joel, et al, Hacking Exposed Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Schneier, Bruce, Secrets & Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World, John Wiley & Sons
Inc., 2000
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
Zych, Tina. “Personal Firewalls: What are They, How Do They Work?” August 22, 2000.
Security for Telecommuting and Broadband Communications
ActiveX, 16, 17, 18, 23, 30, 64, 67, 2, 10
ADSL, 4, 65
AES, 34,47,51,64,65
availability, 26, 56, 62
biometrics, 58, 60
Bluetooth, 43
broadband, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 1 1, 15, 26, 42,
browser, 5, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29,
31,49, 65, 68,70
cable modem, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 27, 41, 65
cell phones, 53
confidential, 26, 31, 69
confidentiality, 26, 47, 56
cookies, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
cordless, 53, 56
Cult of the Dead Cow, 2
denial of service, 2, 3, 8, 26
DES, 34,47,51,65
Digital PCS, 54, 56
DMZ, 13, 60
DSL, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 14, 27, 38, 39, 41, 48, 65
e-mail, 2, 3, 23, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 54, 55, 56,
57, 58
encryption, 23, 24, 34, 35, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49,
50, 51, 54, 55, 56, 61, 65, 66, 68, 70
Ethernet, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 64, 65, 66
File Sharing, 27
fingerprint, 7
firewalls, 2, 8, 9, 10, 1 1, 12, 13, 23, 38, 60, 61,
FTP, 11,31,55, 56, 58, 70
home network, 2, 9, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43
HPNA, 39
HTTP, 11,31,70
IETF, 49
Integrity, 26, 47, 56
Internet Explorer, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,
25, 28, 67
IP address, 5, 6,9, 11,70
IPsec, 48, 49
Java Applets, 19, 20
JavaScript, 18, 19, 24, 30, 67
L2TP, 49
Linux, 28, 40
logging, 10
Macintosh, 27, 28, 30, 67
Microsoft Office, 15,29
Mozilla, 29
NAT, 9
Netscape, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 29, 49,
online security assessment, 13
operating system updates, 28
password, 1 1, 12, 20, 26, 35, 44, 45, 46, 50, 51,
54, 59
PGP, 36
phone-line networking, 39
plugin, 15, 16, 17, 68
port forwarding, 13
port scan, 13
power-line networking, 40, 41
printer Sharing, 27
proxy, 23,24,41,60
public key, 34, 50,51,69
public key certificate, 50
rule set, 1 1
S/MJME, 36
satellite broadband, 5
secret key, 34, 47
smart card, 59
SMTP, 11
spyware, 10, 32, 33, 69
SSL, 36, 45, 46, 49, 69
stealth, 10, 11, 12, 13
TCP/TP, 1,45, 46, 49
Trojan, 2, 3, 1 1, 12, 30, 31, 65, 67, 69
Virtual Private Networks, 47
viruses, 3, 30, 31, 32, 57, 65, 66, 67, 70
VPN, 36, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 55, 56,
57, 58, 70
Windows, 14, 20, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 36, 40, 41,
42,49, 67
Wireless, 41, 42, 44,71
worms, 30, 31, 57, 67, 71
Public Domain Source: https://archive.org/details/computersecurity8004kuhn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *