Keeping Worms Out of Your Network...

No auntie Sookie, not earth worms, computer virus worms that can get to you computer and slowly dig deep into your files and eat them away. Put that eggnog down and I'll tell you some more about these new worms.

This worm is a self-replicating (makes a copy of itself, aunt sookie!) program that reproduces itself over a network. It can be hidden in an email attachment from an unknown sender, a movie download from a suspicious website, or an application sent from someone you don't know. Once on your computer it then can replace a single file, like a winsock.dll or many files and send copies of itself along with email or newsgroup messages that you can post.

The following are ways to keep these type of worms out of your network:

a) Never, I said never (for emphasis) connect an unpatched, non updated computer or other Internet related device to the Internet. How do you update and patch a computer without connecting to the Internet? Get a cd from Microsoft with the latest and greatest patches and updates, then connect the device and then check for updates while connected to make sure you have protection.

b) Always, I said always (yes I am being redundant) use a firewall between your network of computers and the Internet. Even if your network of computers is 1 or 2 computers, it is still a network and needs a firewall to protect it, really protect it. A single computer connected to the Internet is now part of a world wide network thru it's Internet connection and is therefore vulnerable without protection. Get a firewall, a real firewall.

c) Educate and train anyone who uses your computer(s) network. Many times an infection is invited by careless users who download infected email, visit infected sites, or bring infected machines (laptop's, pda's) into a network from outside.

d) Patch and update, patch and update, patch and update (redundant, oh yeah). Yes it's a pain, and it requires time to do and verify that it's actually patched and updated. However it's definitely simpler and cheaper than trying to fix an infestation, or explain to everyone why the network is down or their computers won't work because a worm is eating through everything they have worked hard to save and protect.

e) Make sure up-to-date anti-virus software is on every machine, everything connected to the Internet. Anti-virus packages aid in protection and detection against worms.

f) Establish security rules for your network and educate everyone who touches the network. They must be enforced, daily.

g) Frequently check your network for vulnerabilities. Visit vulnerability website's, take advantage of free scanning tools on the Internet to test your machines. New vulnerabilities and new exploits are released constantly, and you can't protect against what you have no idea what is coming your way.

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Daviyd Peterson: 10-year consultant, instructor, trainer Helps african american homeschools bridge the digital divide by becoming computer homeschools. Free article on "Computer Homeschooling" and other related articles http://www.home schoolwireless.com/homeschoolwireless.htm

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