Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New toys! A 750mb drive to put in place of the optical drive which will now be external. Already replaced the original 200mb drive with a 500mb. Now will have the 500mb + 750mb in my laptop... over a Terabyte! Nice. :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Minimize, eliminate, delegate, and routinize. Decide what is important and forget the rest.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

There is a Vanilla Soy Latte in my future...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking forward to new and wonderful things!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Last minute wedding preparations... ya gotta love it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Home wireless network security

1. Change Default Administrator Passwords (and Usernames)

At the core of most Wi-Fi home networks is an access point or router. To set up these pieces of equipment, manufacturers provide Web pages that allow owners to enter their network address and account information. These Web tools are protected with a login screen (username and password) so that only the rightful owner can do this. However, for any given piece of equipment, the logins provided are simple and very well-known to hackers on the Internet. Change these settings immediately.

2. Turn on (Compatible) WPA / WEP Encryption

All Wi-Fi equipment supports some form of encryption. Encryption technology scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so that they cannot be easily read by humans. Several encryption technologies exist for Wi-Fi today. Naturally you will want to pick the strongest form of encryption that works with your wireless network. However, the way these technologies work, all Wi-Fi devices on your network must share the identical encryption settings. Therefore you may need to find a "lowest common demoninator" setting.

Keep in mind, WEP - Wired Encryption Privacy, can be cracked in minutes, and should not be used.
WPA/WPA2 (wi-fi Protected Access) is the strongest available for home use.

3. Change the Default SSID

Access points and routers all use a network name called the SSID. Manufacturers normally ship their products with the same SSID set. For example, the SSID for Linksys devices is normally "linksys." True, knowing the SSID does not by itself allow your neighbors to break into your network, but it is a start. More importantly, when someone finds a default SSID, they see it is a poorly configured network and are much more likely to attack it. Change the default SSID immediately when configuring wireless security on your network.

4. Enable MAC Address Filtering

Each piece of Wi-Fi gear possesses a unique identifier called the physical address or MAC address. Access points and routers keep track of the MAC addresses of all devices that connect to them. Many such products offer the owner an option to key in the MAC addresses of their home equipment, that restricts the network to only allow connections from those devices. Do this, but also know that the feature is not so powerful as it may seem. Hackers and their software programs can fake MAC addresses easily.

5. Disable SSID Broadcast

In Wi-Fi networking, the wireless access point or router typically broadcasts the network name (SSID) over the air at regular intervals. This feature was designed for businesses and mobile hotspots where Wi-Fi clients may roam in and out of range. In the home, this roaming feature is unnecessary, and it increases the likelihood someone will try to log in to your home network. Fortunately, most Wi-Fi access points allow the SSID broadcast feature to be disabled by the network administrator.

6. Do Not Auto-Connect to Open Wi-Fi Networks

Connecting to an open Wi-Fi network such as a free wireless hotspot or your neighbor's router exposes your computer to security risks. Although not normally enabled, most computers have a setting available allowing these connections to happen automatically without notifying you (the user). This setting should not be enabled except in temporary situations.

7. Assign Static IP Addresses to Devices

Most home networkers gravitate toward using dynamic IP addresses. DHCP technology is indeed easy to set up. Unfortunately, this convenience also works to the advantage of network attackers, who can easily obtain valid IP addresses from your network's DHCP pool. Turn off DHCP on the router or access point, set a fixed IP address range instead, then configure each connected device to match. Use a private IP address range (like 10.0.0.x) to prevent computers from being directly reached from the Internet.

8. Enable Firewalls On Each Computer and the Router

Modern network routers contain built-in firewall capability, but the option also exists to disable them. Ensure that your router's firewall is turned on. For extra protection, consider installing and running personal firewall software on each computer connected to the router.

9. Position the Router or Access Point Safely

Wi-Fi signals normally reach to the exterior of a home. A small amount of signal leakage outdoors is not a problem, but the further this signal reaches, the easier it is for others to detect and exploit. Wi-Fi signals often reach through neighboring homes and into streets, for example. When installing a wireless home network, the position of the access point or router determines its reach. Try to position these devices near the center of the home rather than near windows to minimize leakage.

10. Turn Off the Network During Extended Periods of Non-Use

The ultimate in wireless security measures, shutting down your network will most certainly prevent outside hackers from breaking in! While impractical to turn off and on the devices frequently, at least consider doing so during travel or extended periods offline. Computer disk drives have been known to suffer from power cycle wear-and-tear, but this is a secondary concern for broadband modems and routers.

11. Use Virus Protection

Ensure that you use some form of virus protection software. Additionally, this software is pretty worthless if you do not subscribe to the live updates.

12. Stay up to date on Identity Theft

Originally posted on / Edited/updated by Ron Clement

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Beauty of Awareness

Article printed in Access Control & Security Systems - Security Solutions.Com

The Beauty of Awareness

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Sandra Kay Miller
In the realm of ever‐changing technology, keeping skills up‐to‐date is critical,
especially in large data‐driven enterprises. Veteran trainers who have worked their
way through the multitude of platforms, hardware and business trends can also be
found on the frontlines of securing — both logically and physically — multi‐national
manufacturers, communications and entertainment giants and arms of the United
States government.

That has been the career path for Ron Clement, who was first introduced to
computers during his nine years in the Air Force. After leaving the service, he began
attending college in New York for accounting, but then “fell in love” with computers.
“I started working with computers at the help desk level,” says Clement who is
currently a risk management and compliance consultant at Est®¶e Lauder Companies
Inc. Clement hints at his age, admitting to teaching DOS on dual floppy machines
with green screens at telephone service provider GTE.

On his most recent project, Clement was tasked with creating a security awareness
program for Est®¶e Lauder, the 70‐year‐old skin care, makeup and fragrance
company based in New York City. Recently, Clement had the opportunity to meet
with the head of Est®¶e Lauder's physical security. “We talked about the touchpoints
of our two groups and how we're going to work together. For instance, using
Internet portals, hotlines and security awareness campaigns, we can feed a lot of the
physical security information — there's a lot of stuff we can do together.”
Despite the trend to centralize security operations, thanks to Clement's vast
experience, his goal is to develop a somewhat de‐centralized program so individual
countries will have some autonomy in order to accommodate multiple languages
and cultures. “They are in 130 countries, so it's going to be pretty huge. It will run
the gamut from posters to brochures to becoming part of employee orientations,”
explains Clement, who believes that awareness is the first line of defense because
people can prevent so much if they are informed and allowed to help.
It's the latest episode in a career that has progressed in lockstep with developments
in IT technology.

When Clement moved on earlier in his career, GTE had become Verizon, and he was
a senior systems analyst going from teaching one to all 18 of the classes they offered
through corporate training for software packages such as Lotus, dBase and
WordPerfect. Clement also gathered invaluable hands‐on training when he assisted
in the build‐out of a new corporate headquarters in Dallas. “We laid wire, set up the
LAN, printers, computers — the works — so 3,000 people from all over the country
could move to Dallas and work.” Clement stayed in Dallas for a few years, delving
deeply into network architecture and administration.

But then an opportunity lured him in a new direction: Microsoft. At the height of the
dot‐com boom, Clement went to work for the rapidly growing Redmond, Wash.,
giant as a technical account manager, handling enterprise installations. However,
taking the new position also meant a cut in pay for him at the time. “I really enjoyed
learning all the Windows stuff and networking, but at that time, they were big on
stock options, and didn't pay very well,” he says, following with an explanation of
how his two years at Microsoft paid off later. “My plan was take a step back to take
two steps forward.”

With Microsoft certifications in high demand, so were Clement's skills. He signed on
as a technical consultant with point‐of‐sale provider NCR, traveling throughout the
world deploying and securing networks for clients such as hotel chains.
With a market downturn, many of the projects on which Clement was working were
either reduced or eliminated, so he turned back to teaching. “I've always done some
sort of teaching either at a night school or technical college,” he says, ticking off a list
of commonly taught networking, security and UNIX classes. His skills caught the eye
of Chicago‐based Accenture, a large consulting firm, but when the market dipped
again, Clement found himself unemployed. “Now I was on the streets with a
boatload of skills and a list of certifications behind my name.”

Being resourceful, he returned to teaching full‐time at Central Piedmont Community
College near his home in Charlotte, N.C., where he taught Microsoft and Cisco
certification courses until becoming the program chair of the department, a job that
included putting together the curriculum and schedules and hiring other

Wanting to get back into hands‐on technical work, Clement began studying
computer security. Not long after that, 9/11 occurred and the demand for security
was on the rise, so he hit the road again, teaching week‐long CISSP boot camps
across the country.

But after a few years, Clement sought continuity in his work schedule and began
contracting with large enterprises such as Bank of America, Wachovia, Time Warner
Cable, Walt Disney World and the Department of Defense for security projects.
Moving through various organizations, Clement soon recognized the growing
convergence between physical and computer security. “Physical and logical security
are joined at the hip in a lot of places. Hackers are walking into buildings, picking up
laptops and walking out or walking into a building and plugging their laptop into a
jack in an empty conference room and gaining access to the corporate network,” he
says. “You know, once somebody is in your building, they can do pretty much
anything.” Furthering his observations, he points out that in the CISSP course there
is an entire section devoted to physical security, including locks, doors, fences,
security guards, wire installation as well as business continuity and disaster

Next on Clement's career agenda is to obtain his auditor certification. “I really enjoy
the security arena — especially standards, data classification, risk management and
policies,” he says, justifying his decision based upon the growing demands of
regulatory compliance. “Compliance is another piece that fits into security. It was
never figured into the bottom line because it didn't generate any income. Security
was ignored. So now we have things like SOX, Visa, PCI and all the other compliance
regulations. Companies are forced to implement security, and a lot of them are
scrambling because they never did it before. Now they have big budgets, otherwise
they're going to have big fines if they don't comply.”

As he becomes more experienced in compliance issues, Clement has found that most
of the regulations boil down to basic security practices.


About Me

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Divorced, 3 Children, Information Security Professional.