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Network security is a concern that every company needs to worry about. Most companies are attacked by malicious hackers and automated malwere on a daily basis. There are an abundance of tools that can be used to prevent attacks but one method in particular is very easy and cost effective to implement. Security by obscurity is something that all administrators should look into using as another part of their arsenal to defend against attack. This isn't to say that this should be the only defense technique implemented but it should complement existing computer defense strategies.

The basic idea behind security by obscurity is that an administrator can take some very simple steps to hide vulnerable systems. For example, the author suggests that the names used for administrator accounts and servers should be changed to less noticeable names. Instead of naming a Windows administrator's account "Administrator" change it to a generic user name that may or may not have any meaning. When possible, an administrator might use non-default ports to run server services or rename configuration files to non-default names. One could also use non-default directories when installing high-risk software that might be susceptible to outside attacks.

The SQL Slammer worm is a perfect example of how a simple change could have helped to protect companies from attack. According to the author, there were three things that could have been done to minimize the risk of attack: 1) The machine needed to have the most update to date patches, 2) A VPN could have been used, 3) The SQL server was running on the default port, 1434. The easiest option from the three listed would have been to change the default port from 1434 to some other TCP/IP port. As one can see, a great deal of trouble can be avoided by making simple changes to default settings.



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