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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    XP connected to internet but not used--danger??

    I have an XP Desktop in my basement. I share files with my upstairs W7 laptops. The basement computer is on almost all of the time, but I RARELY use it other than sharing files via my home network.

    Now, I read Susan Bradley's column about disabling the web-browsing capabilities of the XP machine while maintaining network access and that really does sound like the way to go once Microsoft drops XP support (any sidebets -- I bet they extend the support through 2014, just based on past experience).

    But, my question:

    IF I DON'T follow Susan's advise (I probably will, so consider this an academic question) and my computer is connected to the internet, but not browsing or doing anything else, IS THERE STILL A SECURITY DANGER?

    (Should this be posted in the security forum?)

    Mel

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    I think pretty much only insofar as network viruses getting access to the XP system from an active Internet computer. The only thing that nags me in the slightest about using any computer is a data encryption virus. That's the case for running a locked down device as Susan suggests when checking email and browsing. In other words it prevents those who can't help but click on attachments and popups and such from infection. If one has good habits and a good antivirus and firewall regime it cannot be stressed enough how much more important that is than a patched system is. It's one to several magnitudes more important.

    The backdoor into a setup like yours is the network-aware virus that encrypts all the data files it finds wherever. Your XP system would never get infected but the shared data files would be hosed all the same.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    IF I DON'T follow Susan's advise (I probably will, so consider this an academic question) and my computer is connected to the internet, but not browsing or doing anything else, IS THERE STILL A SECURITY DANGER?
    A decent hardware firewall, as like those built into many modern routers, should provide ample protection against passive infection.
    You might also be able to disable all internet traffic (specifically for XP upon your absence) with a 3rd party software firewall too, as a secondary measure.
    And lastly, check to ensure that all of your "ports" are, not merely closed, but invisible to the outside world. Shields Up

    If all your ports are hidden, you're less likely to have someone banging away at what they cannot see.

    Other Precautions:
    *Ensure the XP based machine is image based backed up and restorable in less than 20 min.
    *Ensure that the XP based machine has little or no mission critical data on or associated with it.
    *Password protect the XP based machine when coming out of sleep or screen saver mode.
    *Password protect the XP based machine period.


    If you do nothing else, ensure at least, that you have a known good image to restore, as in the
    first example under "other precautions".
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-12-24 at 19:11.
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