K9 Web Protection is a completely free and very easy to use piece of software for filtering web traffic. It installs very quickly and sits in the background and does not appear to slow down your web browsing. It blocks 24 categories of websites including porn, gambling, and nudity. It also forces ‘safe search’ mode for search engines like Google or Bing.
I recently could not log in to a pc when its trust relationship with the domain was broken and I did not have the local username or password. A colleague recommend a utility called NTPassword which can be booted from a CD, USB, or floppy disk. With this I was able to clear the password of the local administrator and also enable the account. It is linux based and doesn’t look very pretty but it is menu driven and relatively easy to use.
For small to mid size business it can be difficult to keep track of whats happening on your network. There are plenty of solutions out there but they can be expensive and difficult to configure and support. Spiceworks is a free browser-based network management and administration program. It provides the user with a single dashboard from which he or she can inventory, monitor and troubleshoot the network and even track Helpdesk calls.
DD-WRT is an alternative firmware which is available for a variety of routers. It is Linux based and adds features to low end routers normally only found on expensive units. I have installed DD-WRT on a Linksys WRT54G and a Linksys (Cisco) WRT160NL, both are inexpensive routers. The upgrade is very simple and involves no more than finding your router on the router database and downloading the firmware file. It is then a simple matter of using your routers standard firmware upgrade option. This has to be one of the easiest hardware hacks I have ever come across. If you perform this upgrade your router will now have features such as Continue reading
Bob Lewis has written an interesting article titled Stewardship, not ownership: It’s time for IT to give up on control discussing a new approach to IT management of users, applications, and hardware. I have always believed that IT departments are there to ensure the business requirements are met and the the data should be owned and controlled by individual departments. I have found that empowering the end users mostly beneficial to the organisation but problems do arise.
Home users will rely on the controls in their router or a software firewall on their computer, but for business users a proper firewall solution is required. The problem that arises especially for smaller businesses is the cost but there are free alternatives, one such product is Smoothwall Express. Smoothwall Express is a free firewall that includes its own security-hardened GNU/Linux operating system and an easy-to-use web interface. I have it running in a live environment for over a year now and it is very stable. All you need to get started is an old desktop, at least two network cards but preferably three, and a download of Smoothwall.
I moved away from Internet Explorer when version 7 was released and started using Firefox. When Chrome was released I installed it just to have a quick look at it’s features, but I have stuck with it ever since. It is fast and very usable, it runs on my Windows and Linux systems, and it syncs all my bookmarks across all my systems. Even though I use Chrome all the time, I always have a copy of Internet Explorer installed on my system because it is still king in the corporate world.