IT security expert provides ten tips to prevent identity theft

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In the wake of the increasing cases of identity theft, Paul Henry, a leading security industry expert and Senior Vice President with CyberGuard Corporation (NASDAQ: CGFW), has developed ten recommended tips for corporate IT managers and Security Officers to protect customer information from identity theft.

Mr. Henry has served as an expert commentator for a variety of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, CNBC, the Miami Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle and Secure Computing Magazine.

"While identity theft cannot be prevented single handedly, there are ways to protect your customers' information," noted Henry. "It is vital that all databases that store personal data are properly safeguarded, and hopefully these tips will enable enterprises to be more secure against the threat of identity theft."

Henry's Top 10 tips to protecting customer information from identity theft are:

1. Unless there is a specific reason that personal information is being stored, get rid of it. If information needs to be there, set a timetable for its length of stay and when it can be disposed of.

2. Make sure that the server holding personal information is isolated to its own network with limited access. The network should be secured/protected by a strong firewall that protects from attacks at the network, protocol and most importantly the application layer.

3. The server that contains the personal information should NOT allow direct connectivity to any user on the public Internet.

4. The isolation of the database server should provide protection not only from the internet but from other internet facing servers as well as the internal network.

5. Under no circumstance should the database server be permitted to initiate connections to the internet.

6. The controls afforded by the application layer defenses must include the ability to control not only what the database can query, but the explicit commands that can be run, as well as the number of responses per query.

7. Both the security mechanisms and the database server should be operated on kernel hardened operating systems to mitigate the risk of operating system bugs or vulnerabilities.

8. Strict controls of who can access the server should be in place, be enforced, and reviewed to validate the need for access rights.

9. A multi-defense is your best defense; take full advantage of both security mechanisms available within the database application and strong encryption as well as security mechanisms of the application level firewall.

10. All communication of personal data sent to/from the database across public and private networks should be permitted over encrypted channels (HTTPS / SSL SSH).

Paul Henry, Sr. Vice President of CyberGuard, has more than 20 years experience with security and safety controls for high-risk environments such as nuclear power plants and industrial boiler sites. In addition to his CISSP certification, Henry holds many other security certifications such as MCP+I, MCSE, CCSA, CCSE, CFSA, CFSO, CISM, and CISA.

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