Note: Brent LaReau is your point of contact for these white papers.
Our projects often require us to perform research in many related subject areas. Occasionally we share our research by writing white papers, which we offer here:
Cybercrime costs U.S. companies roughly $67 billion per year and costs individuals an extra $40 billion. Cybercriminals use malware such as viruses, worms and spyware, as well as social engineering techniques, to achieve their goals worldwide. Crime aside, companies and individuals can allow important information to fall into the wrong hands, causing data leaks.
This white paper introduces the field of Information Security (InfoSec), which deals with the protection of critical data and digital information systems. Also introduced are "best practices", which are proven security-related guidelines for designing, implementing and maintaining any kind of information system.
On a detailed and practical level, this white paper brings into focus security and privacy issues. It describes common attacks and their defenses; data leaks and their prevention; effective individual and corporate policies; and technological solutions and their shortcomings. A glossary and a bibliography are included.
In recent years we have seen an explosion of spyware and other malware. One way to increase our security is to use a "layered" approach, placing many obstacles between malware and its target. The easiest way to do this is to simply avoid what everyone else is using: Microsoft software, especially Windows, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and Media Player. These are the "low-hanging fruit" that malware authors target.
Better choices include Linux (an operating system) and application software such as Firefox (a web browser), Thunderbird (an e-mail client) and OpenOffice (an office suite). These provide what you need, but remain immune to normal malware. Linux offers zero licensing costs, excellent reliability, and an ability to run well on older PCs. Plus, many Linux software applications are available for free. Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice run on Windows as well as Linux; using these instead of their Microsoft equivalents can dramatically increase your security even when using Windows.
This white paper shows how you can get Linux up and running on most PCs in less than five minutes---risk-free and cost-free---by using a "Live CD". You can install Linux to your hard drive later if you wish. Also introduced are Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice, which together fill most engineers' three biggest needs: Web browsing, e-mail and office productivity.