COMPUTER SECURITY GUIDE
On the Market
Preserving Vital Data
When the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) battery on a PC dies after about three years, computer users are required to know the CMOS settings in order to install a new battery and get the system working again. But this obscure yet vital data-which includes everything from drive sectors to shadow memory base settings-is lost when the personal computer goes down. The battery Disk from Chicago-based International Systems Inc. saves the day by recording CMOS data on a floppy disk that can be used to quickly reboot the system.
A thriving black market for computer memory chips and processors has led to a significant increase in the theft of single in-line memory modules (SIMMs). To prevent the disappearance of these vital components, Innovative Security Products in Prairie Village, Kan., has introduced the steel, crush-proof Lid Lock. The device, which covers a machine's back lid screws, limits case entry only to those with appropriate keys.
Transporting Hard Drives
Removable hard-disk drives are no longer exclusively for agencies processing classified data. A variety of security-conscious organizations are using the storage devices, which can be ejected from personal computers and locked up in safes overnight. One of the newest entries in this market category is the KanguruDisk from Interactive Media Corp. in Holliston, Mass. The removable drives can be easily carried to different work sites-thus ensuring safe transit of sensitive data.
It doesn't take long for a sophisticated hacker to figure out a password and log on to a network. The SecureID "smart card" from Security Dynamics in Cambridge, Mass., helps organizations authenticate the identity of users and prevent unauthorized access. The handheld card displays a one-time randomly generated token code that changes every 60 seconds. Users have to enter their secret password and then the token code in order to gain entry into computer systems.
Preventing Computer Theft
The FBI estimates that more than $1 billion worth of U.S. computers were stolen last year. In many cases, the value of the data stored was significantly greater than the machines themselves. The Kablit hardware security system from Secure-It in East Longmeadow, Mass., includes a rekeyable lock and cable that can be used to safely mount equipment to desks in order to deter would-be thieves. The system works with both PCs and portable computers.
Hackers beware! A new software program from Haystack Labs in Austin, Texas, serves as a network watchdog to monitor break-ins. The program, which is designed to work in conjunction with other security products, compares forwarded network packets to a database of known attack patterns. If an intruder is discovered, the software can reconfigure the router, turn off traffic from the attacker's address and send an e-mail alert to the network administrator.