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Security IT

How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment? 314

sneakyimp writes "We've seen increasingly creative ways for bad guys to compromise your system like infected pen drives, computers preloaded with malware, mobile phone apps with malware, and a $300 app that can sniff out your encryption keys. On top of these obvious risks, there are lingering questions about the integrity of common operating systems and cloud computing services. Do Windows, OSX, and Linux have security holes? Does Windows supply a backdoor for the U.S. or other governments? Should you really trust your Linux multiverse repository? Do Google and Apple data mine your private mobile phone data for private information? Does Ubuntu's sharing of my data with Amazon compromise my privacy? Can the U.S. Government seize your cloud data without a warrant? Can McAfee or Kaspersky really be trusted? Naturally, the question arises of how to establish and maintain an ironclad workstation or laptop for the purpose of handling sensitive information or doing security research. DARPA has approached the problem by awarding a $21.4M contract to Invincea to create a secure version of Android. What should we do if we don't have $21.4M USD? Is it safe to buy a PC from any manufacturer? Is it even safe to buy individual computer components and assemble one's own machine? Or might the motherboard firmware be compromised? What steps can one take to ensure a truly secure computing environment? Is this even possible? Can anyone recommend a through checklist or suggest best practices?"
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How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

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  • Simples! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by realitycheckplease ( 2487810 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:57PM (#42396227)
    If you want a secure computing environment, don't connect your computer to anything! Also keep it in a faraday cage, and make sure the power supply lines are filtered so they can't carry signals out through the cage.
  • "security" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eexaa ( 1252378 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @02:10PM (#42396325) Homepage

    The term "secure" here is used in a bit misleading manner, there's nothing that could possibly be absolutely "secure" in this world, ever.

    We should always ask only what amount of security the environment provides. In terms of money.

  • Re:linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psicopatico ( 1005433 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:09PM (#42396879)

    My experience as well.
    So far, in the last 8 years it gave me excellent results.

    We all know 99%+ of the generic malware out there is crafted to break in Windows setups.
    The amount is so vast it's only a matter of time, you *will* be hit.
    But once you take the target out of the equation, the rest is much much more easy to manage.

    Once I realized this, I stopped recommending Linux to random folks: the more people keeps using Windows, the more *I* am secure.
    And, at the end of the day, this is the only thing that matters to me.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford