Vendors can make a difference in improving security.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is my interpretation of an article by Roger A. Grimes on “5 ways computer security has truly advanced”

1. Security defaults

The selection defaults should be set to the safest choice to avoid accidental confirmation of a potentially earth-shattering situation – check the website for details.

For example:

  • “Permanently delete all my hard work now?”
    Defaults -> “NO”
  • “Install virus now?”
    Defaults -> “NO”

Traditionally, it used to be :
Defaults -> “OK”

No, that is not OK.

2. Drive encryption

With drive encryption, grabbing the data storage drive of a computer and then plugging it into another computer, will not bypass the original computer’s security to access any usable data.

Traditionally, it used to be :
“Forgot your computer login password and need to get your data?
No problem, just plug your data drive into another password-free computer and you can open your files there”.

3. SSL by default

This means secure browsing on a website is enabled by default, and all information exchange on the website is encrypted.

Secure browsing was traditionally slow, therefore most websites did not enable it by default to improve users’ experience but with the current generation hardware processing power, this is no longer an issue.

4. Two-factor authentication for Web logons

This method is common for online banking where after you authenticate yourself (by login ID & password) into the bank’s webpage, and then you request a transaction PIN which is transmitted via SMS to your cell phone.

It operates on the assumption that you will be alerted for authorization of any transaction attempts if the person who is logged into the bank webpage is not you and not having your cell phone.

5. UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)

A device’s motherboard program update can only be performed with the original manufacturer’s signed update package.

This will disallow accidental update from any unknown sources, which causes motherboard malfunction that effectively kills the device.

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