10 January 2015
In his report SME security on a shoestring budget Vladimir Jirasek aptly describes the state of the SME (Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises): They are the motors of economy! And increasingly susceptible to cyber-attacks, because they have only very limited IT budgets to spent.
Fortunately Microsoft provides lots of advice and free tools to help SME in the struggle against cyber-attacks. In addition lots of open software tools are available which help to boost security. Vladimir Jirasek discusses some of the fundamental built-in security measures for the safe operation of computers.
But the course towards security is set upon purchase of the computer. Please see below for my recommendations for Microsoft Windows-based computers
- Select the 64-bit versions of Windows if you have the choice
I strongly recommend to buy a computer with a 64-bit Windows operating system, preferably Windows 8.1. Even with 4 GB Ram only, a 64-bit operating system makes sense because some security features like Enhanced Protection Mode in Internet Explorer require 64-bit processes.
Other security features, e.g. ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), which guards against buffer overflow attacks, work far more effective in a 64-bit environment.
Please check in advance whether your applications are 64-bit ready. Most of the 32-bit apps work without problems with a 64-bit windows.
The 64-bit Windows versions are normally available at no extra costs with a new computer. Please ask your reseller.
- Select the professional versions of Windows if you have the choice
In the professional versions of Windows Vista, 7 and 8 is Microsoft’s drive encryption feature BitLocker included. If BitLocker is activated you have to enter a passphrase at boot time to release the drive. In the event of theft or loss a third party could not access the information on the drive because he does not know the passphrase to release the drive. BitLocker could be used to protect other storage devices as well.
The additional costs for the professional versions are at approx. 40 US$ if you buy a new computer.
With 64-bit Windows Professional the gain in security is high at moderate additional costs. I would recommend this choice even for home users.
That’s it for today. Have a nice Weekend.