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Jan '05 SFDC Column

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SF Boss

Joined: 04 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Jan '05 SFDC Column Reply with quote

January SFDC Column

Well it was a bumpy ride from the old host to our new one, but with some hard work from Chris, PCWriter, and Shaolintiger it was done with a minimum of down time. With the move out of the way it was time to get ready for the quarterly prize giveaway. There have been some excellent nominations from the membership on some of their favorite people. Site membership continues to grow at a torrid pace and we are nearing the twenty one thousand mark already. That being said lets recap some of the more interesting posts for the month of January.

How do files become corrupt?

One of our newer members asked a very valid question, and one that is of concern to maintain your computer at peak efficiency. The query was just how do files become corrupt on a computer. Robogeek one of the moderators here gave a good answer that was to the point. Files on your computer can become corrupt due to bad memory, a virus infection, or a faulty hard drive. Hardware issues aside one of the best ways to avoid file corruption is to defragment your hard drive on a regular basis. There are several third party applications you can purchase as well to simplify the task. One of the better ones is this one. You would be wise to regularly schedule a disk defragmentation.

Security newcomer wants to learn

Also from the newbie’s corner comes this post. Another new member to the forum wanted to know how to get a toe hold on the computer security industry. It was nice to see various view points in this thread. Not only were those geographic, (some certifications are not as well known in other regions of the world) but also various opinions were expressed on certain certifications. An opinion of mine that I have expressed before is that all security certifications are not created equal. Quite often it is a case of you get what you pay for. In the case of this thread the best known certifications are mentioned; MCSE, CCNA, CISSP amongst others. It is important to first decide what area of computer security, or networking you want to get into before you decide what certifications you want to get.

Nmap is not working correctly

Nmap is arguably the best known port scanner in existence today. Many people decide to learn this one first due to its reputation alone. The member who posted this thread was having problems invoking the win32 port of Nmap. From the first answer to his post it was evident that the member had perhaps bitten off more then they could chew. It cannot be stressed enough that before learning a tool such as Nmap that you first need to have a firm grasp of your operating system. Barring that it also bears mentioning that Nmap has some excellent documentation to get you up and running. One of the web’s best Nmap tutorials resides right here and was written by our very own Technetium. Many thanks go to him for his efforts in sharing his knowledge with us.

Is it a good idea to use Redhat?

The question of whether, or not to use Redhat as your Linux distro is one that comes up fairly often. One of our users, from my hometown of Ottawa, asked that very question, and got the usual medley of Linux distros to use instead of Redhat. Personally I have found Redhat to be rather buggy, and sometimes a pain to install. It refused to install on an IBM Thinkpad while SuSE did without a problem. While there are several Linux distributions that have their strong points; Slackware = minimal install, SuSE = excellent h/w support. It pays to do a bit of homework and pick the one that best suits your needs. My personal recommendation is SuSE even though it is a commercial distro. You often get what you pay for.

Fractional T1 router?

An interesting post was made about a T1 pipe and how to support it. This is a rather interesting post as it addresses key concepts in networking. By that I mean, analog versus digital for one, and just how you actually process the feed whether it be analog, or digital. Several topics are touched upon in this thread. From needing a router such as a Cisco with appropriate interface to handle the T1 to clarifying that a T1 is a digital signal. Networking is an area of study that will pay dividends for the one who studies it well. There is some excellent reading to be had on various Layer 2 switching technologies such as ATM and Frame Relay, to learning about strapped channels. Gaining an understanding of RF Theory as well would stand one in good stead.

No use for young security consultants?

One of our newer members asked a question that many of us have wondered; “why won’t companies hire me, is it just because I am young?” I am sure that many of us have raged at the irritating Catch-22. If you don’t hire me how the heck am I going to get any experience. Then again quite a few young people in their early twenties have a lot of experience. There is not a foolproof solution to getting hired as a network security analyst when you are young. Experienced or not there is a definite bias I would say towards not hiring younger people. The best thing you can do is get educated, and try to couple that with experience. Also you may want to try and get a job first with the government who often have programs in place to hire college or university graduates.

One of the main themes for this months column is learning. When it comes to making the first few steps into computers, and computer security know one thing; it is a never ending learning curve. It is also one that starts with learning your operating system, and then working outwards from there. On that note this months column will wrap up. Until next month have a safe, and happy New Year.
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