Great American Privacy Makeover
Makeover: The Team With a Vulnerable Network
Name: Mario Sanon (pictured, center), New York-based IT staff member for Strive, a nationwide job-readiness training organization.
At Strive's East Harlem center, classes of up to 45
students spend 8 hours a day learning everything from r
PC use: Two PCs in Sanon's office, wireless networking components, hardware firewall, plus servers.
Frequent tasks: Checks several e-mail accounts, including Strive's general mailbox; supports the 130 PCs on Strive's network.
What he does right: Patches his own operating system and uses the Bigfix service, which lets him know when patches are available for the applications he uses; keeps his antivirus definitions up-to-date.
Biggest problem: Passwords and online safety. Mario uses just two passwords for all his online accounts, including bill-paying services. He lets employees use the default passwords for the network, and he does not require them to change those passwords periodically. Safe surfing has also become a problem: Kids have started visiting unsavory Web sites in the computer lab.
Solutions: I talked to Sanon and Sato about techniques they could use, and teach to others, that would help them learn to create and remember strong passwords (see our tips), and I advised them to require that users' network passwords be changed periodically. I gave Jenkins specific notes to help her teach her students why computer privacy and security are important, and offered some password creation and privacy tips to pass along. Finally, I provided them with several copies of Net Nanny to install in the computer lab used by the neighborhood kids.