security - switch user overnight

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November 30, 2009 at 11:59:24
Specs: Windows XP, 2Gb
I usually leave my computer running overnight either downloading or sometimes monitoring some financial data that I don't want anyone to have access to.
I have a firewall installed, I could also add port blocking to the router but I haven't done this yet.
I also usually log off (switch user), is this secure enough? Any hacker would first have to get past COMODO and then also log in.
They can't just access Windows by hacking the firewall and then gaining access without loggin in can they?
The Guest account is disabled.
Admin password is strong.

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November 30, 2009 at 12:02:03
lock the workstation with control-alt-delete
no need to logoff [will end your download]

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November 30, 2009 at 12:05:32
It's XP Home, it doesn't have that option.
Just logoff or switch user.
Switch user leaves the programs running.

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November 30, 2009 at 13:12:07
Helps to post Home in your os description though Microsoft seems to have a different view on the subject.

Note that home is listed under the applys to section.

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Related Solutions

November 30, 2009 at 13:51:07
I don't appear to have an advanced tab and Windows cannot find userpasswords2 when I do this:
Note If the Advanced tab is not available, click Start, click Run, type control userpasswords2, and then click OK.

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November 30, 2009 at 13:55:04
control userpasswords2 brings up user accounts. Did you type in the full syntax of control userpasswords2?

You may need to disable fast user switching first.

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November 30, 2009 at 14:01:37
Ok, done.
Now when I ctrl alt del, I get the lock option.
However, I'm not sure I understand how this helps.
Couldn't a hacker still gain access and just run a password attack? Of course the firewall would take care of any dos or flood type attacks but the principle's still a login box.

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November 30, 2009 at 15:23:03
I see.

There are two points of attack. Local access and network access.

Locking the workstation stops the local opportunity of compromise. If I had time to take your hard drive out there is nothing to stop me from accessing your data.

Protecting yourself from the internet is a different ball game. The first defense is you and what you know.
Being behind a router and having correctly configured and updated firewall/spyware/malware/virus checkers are a solid first step.
Being careful of where you go on the internet and what you download is vitally important. Hacker tools can't always be detected when they are included in a download.

Company has a bookkeeper, for example, that liked to download zip files for scrapbooking. I get a call on a friday concerning payroll. Two company payrolls had been compromised by a hacker to the tune of $60K per account.

As it turns out one of those zip file contained hacker tools which allowed the hacker in Europe to capture the back account numbers and passwords. Good thing the bank was on top of it or it would have been a huge loss with no recovery.

Just like the old vampire movies a vampire can't come into your house unless you invite him. Same with hackers. You just need to stay up on the tricks they use. Google social engineering for example.

I would not leave a computer on all the time connected to the internet without a good reason for doing so.

You should not work under an admin account but a limited one. This restricts the damage that can be done compared to working under an admin account.

There are plenty of other tricks and the web lists them all. If you are behind a router, have a software firewall, don't download from peer to peer networks or shadowy stuff you should be just fine.

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November 30, 2009 at 15:49:20
Should the router have additional firewall rules though?
Unfortunately, I have to leave the computer on overnight as it sends me an alarm when I need to check some financial data.
I sometimes use P2P but don't always leave it on, all the usual AV AS stuff so even if something dodgy appeared from a P2P site, it would be picked up in the AV. Besides, it's only when it's first run that it can be exploited.

If programs have been installed under an Admin account, they aren't all available to the Limited user are they?

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December 1, 2009 at 06:51:48
" it would be picked up in the AV"

Not true. Bookkeepers pc had the latest spybot and Norton updates. Hacker tools are hard to detect. Zip files were expanded on the pc and to our knowledge [wouldn't be the first time the bookkeeper has lied] no warnings were given.

Doesn't matter if the program was installed under admin. What matters is if it can only run under admin. That is a serious problem in that it is unsecure software which in turn to run unsecures the workstation by running under full admin rights.

Routers are usually set to block all ports above 1024. No firewall rules required. You should have icmp [ping] response turned off as well as any telnet/ftp/remote access options. Admin password should be set to something other than default.

Go to Shields UP! and test your ports for stealth. Odds are you don't need to close anything. Firewall rules are usually set to allow inbound access on certain ports like for games referred to as opening pin holes in the firewall.

Using P2P is a known infection vector. You would not willingly expose yourself to H1N1 would you?

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