Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Security Reminder, or Who's That Looking Over Your Shoulder?

February 25, 2009

It doesn't matter which coffee shop -- Henry's, Z's, or the Bourgeois Pig -- I end up at, it's always the same ever since free WiFi came on the scene. There are more laptops than coffee mugs, and never enough places to sit. But I'm as bad as the rest. What with free wireless Internet access and a cell phone, well, I haven't been in the office for year or so now, and even the concept of a home-office is becoming more remote.

That said, I'm still careful about whose looking over my shoulder (especially at the Pig) and what kind of data I'm exchanging with whom. There's always a risk inherent in remote access, which is why the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its guides for maintaining security while teleworking.

The updated draft version of Guide to Enterprise Telework and Remote Access Security is primarily intended for large organizations (like government agencies), while the Guide to Securing External Devices for Telework and Remote Access targets individual users on securing their own mobile devices. Both guides are prudent reading and good reminders for anyone telecommuting from public locations.

Most of the recommendations are common-sense suggestions, such as turning off or disabling not in use built-in wireless access points, changing the default SSID, or using strong encryption. But above all, says Karen Scarfone, a co-author of the guide and a member of NIST's Computer Security Division, you should be to expect trouble and plan for it.

"You should assume external environments contain hostile threats," explains Scarfone. Right. And know who is looking over your shoulder at the coffee shop.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.