The great challenge of security is that you are not only battling
Murphy’s Law the universal tendency of things to go wrong —
but also shrewd and malicious attackers who are looking for an edge.
Rather than constantly changing strategies to match these evolving
threats, many security pros could benefit from finding a few simple
methods that can stand the test of time and help prevent a breach.
Nine Simple Yet Effective Security Tips
InfoWorld recently published a report titled, “18
Surprising Tips for Security Pros.” Many of the recommendations
included are often ignored as old-fashioned or simplistic, but they
can go a long way toward thwarting the efforts of cybercriminals
trying to break into your network. Here are nine of the security
tips the report named as the most effective for solidifying your
defenses against those malicious actors.
1. Rename Administrator Accounts
On Windows systems and many others, accounts with admin privileges
are, by default, named Administrator. Renaming them might sound like
a simple gimmick security by obscurity but it can be surprisingly
effective. Intruders can’t attack your administrator accounts if
they can’t find them.
2. Eliminate Administrator Accounts
The next step should be to do away with broadly
privileged admin accounts entirely.
Admin functions can be divided among accounts that are narrowly
restricted in roles. This means attackers will not find a master key
to let them manipulate your network.
3. Set Up Honeypots
A honeypot is a computer asset that exists solely to provide
attackers with an inviting-looking target. The beauty of a honeypot
is that you can monitor it: If there is activity in your honeypot,
you know you are being attacked.
4. Don’t Use Default Communications Ports
This is another deceptively simple yet effective security tip that
resembles the principle of security by obscurity. Most malware is
designed to attack default ports, and most fraudsters are simply
looking for easy victims. If their malware is foxed by an unusual
configuration, they may move on to another potential victim.
5. Install Applications to Non-Default Directories
This is yet another basic but crucial tip. Installing applications
to non-default directories is not as potent as it used to be because
so many attacks today are launched at the application file level.
However, placing your applications in less-than-obvious locations is
still a good way to throw off many attacks.
6. Install Tarpits to Ensnare Attackers
A tarpit is a variation on the honeypot theme. It draws in
attackers, then entangles them in protocol slowdowns, continual
reconnection and other ways of wasting malware’s time. Just make
sure the tarpit does not kick in prematurely — if it does, it will
stall legitimate users instead of attackers.
7. Analyze Network Traffic Flow
Cybercrime has gone global, meaning that the location of data calls
can be a key tipoff. If vast amounts of your data are being sent to
somewhere in Eastern Europe when you don’t conduct business there,
things might be amiss. Traffic flow analysis can determine the
normal flows of your network so that abnormal trends stick out like
a sore thumb.
8. Disable Internet Browsing on Servers
Disabling internet browsing on servers exploits two facts of life:
first, that most servers don’t actually need to go online; and
second, that most security breaches are due
to human blunders. Your admins can do their web surfing on their
own devices and take their own risks with potentially malicious
websites without compromising your servers.
9. Build In Security Upfront
Most of the security tips above are simple but effective. This one
is a way of thinking about development. Security should be built in,
not bolted on as an afterthought. If your organization develops its
own custom code, best practices such as using secure languages, code
review and penetration testing will make your applications
far less vulnerable to
These are just nine of the security tips included in the InfoWorld
report, but they could prove to be tremendously important for
organizations across industries. Although some may feel too basic at
least for the advanced security team they are solid reminders
of best practices that should be disseminated throughout an