Windows XP Security Checklist
To immediately secure your Windows XP system, take the three steps below:
- Install anti-virus software
If you don't have anti-virus software installed, you may leave your
system vulnerable to viruses, Trojan horses, spam, and other intrusions.
Students, faculty and staff can download anti-virus software from the
site. You should configure
your software to scan regularly and set your virus definition (DAT)
files to auto-update.
- Run the Windows Firewall to protect your machine against Internet attacks and
random network scans.
- From the Start menu, open the Control Panel, and select Security Center.
- Click Windows Firewall.
- Select On.
- Select the Internet Connection Firewall checkbox.
- Run Windows Update and Enable Automatic Updates
You should run Windows Update on your system or visit the Windows
Update Web site to install all Critical and Recommended updates
for your system, including Service Pack 3. ITS recommends that you also configure
Windows XP to automatically update.
For increased security, you should also take the following steps:
Set strong passwords on all accounts
All users on the UT network are expected to choose
strong passwords and guard them well. If someone else obtains your
password, they can access your private data (including e-mail), alter
or destroy your files and perform illegal or inappropriate activities
in your name. To learn more about choosing strong passwords, visit the Password Dos and Don'ts topic.
Create a user account
Your administrator account allows you to install software, but using it
all the time is dangerous because viruses and Trojan horses run from the administrator account can cause greater harm to your computer. Use the user account for your day-to-day activities.
Disable guest accounts
You should disable any guest accounts on your system as they can provide
information to hackers and increase your security risk.
Download the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) provides an easy and efficient way
to identify common security misconfigurations on your Windows-based system.
MBSA will scan your operating system and other installed components for
common system misconfigurations and check for missing security updates.
The ITS Web site has a tutorial on running the scan and fixing any problems.
Be careful when using peer-to-peer file sharing applications
Although peer-to-peer (P2P) applications such as Napster, Gnutella, iMesh,
Audiogalaxy Satellite, and KaZaA, are a good way of sharing information,
if you do not use them appropriately you may degrade the performance of
the Universitys network, unknowingly share your personal data, inadvertently
violate federal copyright law, or expose your computer to malicious code
use. Read What
You Need to Know about Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Applications.
Use secure file transfer
When transferring files over the Internet you should always use a secured
connection. SSH and SFTP applications encrypt and protect your passwords
and information. If you use Telnet or a non-secure FTP program,
your information is sent in the clear for anyone to see. SSH and SFTP
clients are available for download on the BevoWare site.