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Home computer security - should I worry?

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I was just wondering what the general sentiment was regarding security of your home computer and amateur game development. Does anyone worry about security or people accessing source code? I''m currently working on a project with a small group of people, and we are all professionals. The project is coming along nicely, and the intent is to eventually try and publish the final product (whether it be through a publisher, or self publish etc...). Should I worry about the code being compromised? I realize there is no reason for anyone to try and access my code at this point in time, but there are an awful lot of people out there with too much time on their hands. If anyone has any thoughts/comments regarding the issue, I''d appriciate any replies.

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well, even the bests get hacked HL2 for example...

A good firewall and a good anti virus is enough. And obviously regular backups on CDs. I would be more worried by damage caused by viruses and other nasties than by hackers wanting a peak at my stuff.

Say.... What''s your IP again?

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Of course I feel concerned about security on my home computer, that is the computer I am developing my games on.

My advice would be : always have an anti-virus running to look for trojans which could allow people to steal your code. I also think a firewall is required. Also don''t forget to update your system in order to be protected from new vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, I think there''s not anything you can do to prevent some people from breaking into your computer if they *really* want to... though it''s not likely to happen anyway. From your post, it seems that you are working on a relatively small project (I mean not very well known) so I don''t think you''ll be anyone''s target.

You can begin to panic when working on your next game (after this one has shipped and has become a success ).

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Hello,

First thing you should do to prevent hackers is get a decent firewall going. Zone alarm is a good firewall for free (just annoying with popups). Second thing you should do is get a good AV and schedule regular scans for your computer and update the signature files frequently. Third thing is to apply all of the patches for your particular OS on a regular basis whether it be Windows, Linux, etc. Another good thing to do is go to the website DSL reports and run a port scan. This will tell you exactly what ports are accessible to the internet and the security risks involved with those ports. The last thing that I can think of is that there are alot of people with "too much" time on their hands but you should not worry too much unless you have servers or something running on the premises.

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While I think about it, you should also consider using an alternate browser and email reader. I personally use Opera and its M2 mail client but there are many others available (Mozilla Firebird and Thunderbird for example). That way you can avoid many security threats, because most worms exploit Outlook/IE vulnerabilities.

[edited by - Sork on November 17, 2003 3:05:06 PM]

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i second the part about never ever even thinking about touching ie or outlook express. activex is pretty much what the name suggests: active access for everyone. while outlook is pretty good in automatically running any malicous attachments without requiring you to click anything.

a router with firewall is fine if you want to be on the safe side, a personal firewall is a joke, especially crap like zone alarm will only screw up your system and make you feel paranoic because every lousy ping will be accompanied by messaged about evil hackers that have just been prevented from getting into your system. if your lucky it will prevent a small percentage of adware from phoning home, because everything running on your system has the same rights as you. it can tunnel, shutdown the "firewall" or just tell it "oh, hi, im the internet explorer". and attacks from the outside? firewall or not, if your system isnt open they cant get in. disable all services you dont need (especially dcom, because you can bet whatever body part you like that ms has NOT really fixed it even after three patches.. thats the result of patching for single exploits instead of really fixing the problem itself). btw. some firewalls have funny bugs that will allow attackers to "get in" that wouldnt have had a chance without the fw running.

one important thing is: security is NOT achieved by installing a couple of programs. but it often makes people feel too secure ("oh, my fw just blocked spyware x.. im safe.. and i''ll happily ignore that it might just use one of many ways to get around the fw next time"). anti virus is nice, but if you completely rely on it you will sooner or later find a virus that your program wont detect.

run as little as possible and use secure software (ruling out ms in 99% of all cases). make backups and adjust your online behaviour (if that didnt already happen a long time ago), because all that av and fw software should never be more than a last line. dont trust it and whenever they find something take it as a reminder that you just screwed up ,-)

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quote:
Original post by Trienco
a router with firewall is fine if you want to be on the safe side, a personal firewall is a joke, especially crap like zone alarm will only screw up your system and make you feel paranoic
...



I dunno, I kind of find the sandboxing feature in software firewalls pretty useful. AFAIK hardware/router builtin firewalls doesn''t allow you to explicitly set which programs are allowed to connect to the internet and under what port etc.

quote:

run as little as possible and use secure software (ruling out ms in 99% of all cases).


Are you suggesting we abandon Windows and jump to linux instead?





--{You fight like a dairy farmer!}

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regarding security, yes, i might suggest changing to linux, but unfortunately this wont be an option for most on this board, unless they decide to write exclusive linux games to make it more attractive for gamers ,-)

the problem with software firewalls is simply that its running on the wrong machine. it should be in front of your computer and not on it, its like a security door in the middle of your living room. some programs might be polite enough to knock and use the door, but others will just walk around it.

as for programs, thats the problem. imagine a trojan, not only could it tunnel past it, it could just assume that you allowed ie to connect to the net for obvious reasons and call itself iexplorer.exe or if the programmer knows a couple of fw just add the right code to shut them down (some even replace them with dummies so you think its still running). they are too easy to get around from within to really offer much security.

and from the outside: they helped against msblast (a security problem that ms should be ashamed of for the next 2 or 3 decades, especially considering their lousy exploit oriented multiple patching). but just like msblast was using a bug in dcom, another worm could use known bugs in a firewall. every software listening on a port is a risk, even if its a firewall. so closing the ports (ie not running anything thats listening on them) is the better solution. and for the few you really need make sure they are halfway decent and secure.

so if it makes you feel better you can of course use them, just never ever lean back and think youre safe because of it. yes, they might increase your security, but only very little and considering how some of them screw up your system or cause trouble it might not be worth it.


for rpc dcom. the first description i found made it sound like ms took something that was already there (again), ruined it (again) and built it into windows (again). google should return a lot of stuff on it, but for home users its useless most of the time (i have it disabled for 2 years and never missed it). its short for distribute com, should allow components to communicate over networks etc.

disabling it:
run dcomcnfg and under default properties uncheck it. for win2000 with sp2 or less this setting is ignored (but nice that its there anyway). here it helps to remove all protocols under default protocols.

http://www.kssysteme.de/s_content.php?id=fk2002-02-02-3414
its in german but has a lot of images, explaining how to get all your ports closed and disable unneeded stuff (for most home users, companies might have different needs ,-) )

and think about hl2. if they werent kidding how it happened then even though they have written 1 1/2 great games they arent the "best" when it comes to security. once installed it was too late (and kind of shocking to hear about root kits to hide processes, files and registry entries), but it should never have been installed in the first place. lesson to learn: never ever open your mail in ms software.

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