Mobile devices and PCs are often the last thing
administrators think of when beefing up defenses. An NCC Group survey last year
showed that remote-client security updates are executed with less than
one-fourth the frequency of on-site workstations, and that one-sixth of remote
clients maintain no security at all.
are the potential security holes and issues inherent when laptops log in to
your network—and a way to protect your users.
wireless laptop offers a wide assortment of treasures to a potential intruder:
- IDs, passwords, and
other access information for penetrating your wireless network and
- A gateway to your
- A gateway to company e-mail
- A gateway to the
database if the laptop is used by roving salespeople or marketing
- Lots of personal
information, such as credit card info, PIN numbers, and the user’s home
- The ability to spy on a
Wireless laptops are company property that require access to an already enticing
intruder target, and they’re in the hands of employees with varying information
requirements and attention spans. That’s where a personal firewall can help.
How a personal
personal firewall does for a single computer what a network firewall does for a
family of servers: It inspects inbound packets, scanning for forged IP
addresses and suspicious repetition (to detect DoS attacks, etc.). Beyond the
protocol level, some firewalls can also examine the contents of packets to spot
When choosing a
personal firewall, carefully evaluate what each firewall will and will not do. Some (but not all) personal firewalls can prevent someone from accessing your network via your client laptop’s ad hoc mode.
a personal firewall is installed on your remote user’s laptop, make it a policy
that the firewall remain in place. If you can, take it one step further and
install the firewall as part of the ghost image placed on all of your company’s remote
laptops at the time of deployment or when upgrades occur.
your company’s laptops are running Windows XP, there’s a firewall built in. You
can enable it with these simple steps:
- Go to Start | Control Panel | Network And
Internet Connections | Network Connections.
on the connection category that you wish to protect (Dial-Up or LAN, High
Speed Internet, etc.).
the Task Pane on the left, navigate to Network Tasks | Change Settings Of This
Connection | Properties | Advanced.
Internet Connection Firewall.
the box next to Protect My Computer And Network By Limiting Or Preventing
Access To This Computer From The Internet.
can obtain further details on the strengths and limitations of XP’s firewall by
you’re not working with XP, here are links to popular personal firewalls:
can’t go wrong with any of these—unless you fail to put one in place!