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Protecting Home Computers From Guest Users?

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year and a half ago

1

An anonymous reader writes "We frequently have guests in our home who ask to use our computer for various reasons such as checking their email or showing us websites. We are happy to oblige, but the problem is many of these guests have high risk computing habits and have more than once infested one of our computers with malware, despite having antivirus and the usual computer security precautions. We have tried using a linux boot CD but usually get funny looks or confused users. We've thought about buying an iPad for guests to use, but decided it wasn't right to knowingly let others use a computing platform that may have been compromised. What tips do slashdoters have to overcome this problem, technologically or otherwise?"

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The same way you protect anything (1)

SampleFish (2769857) | about a year and a half ago | (#43365189)

This question does not have to be so specific. Securing a computer for guest use is the same as securing a computer for any other reason. The solution is not simple. Using a LiveCD as you mentioned is the best way to isolate a user session from the installed operating system. Along those lines you can get a Linux distro that look like Windows if your friends can't handle the change.

Try Zorin:
http://zorin-os.com/free.html [zorin-os.com]

If you just need your default installation to be more secure you will need to take a layered approach to security. Consider installing a Unified threat management system capable of filtering information before it even reaches your computers. You can make all of your computers more secure this way.

Check out Untangle:
http://www.untangle.com/ [untangle.com]

Untangle can block malicious webpages and intercept viral downloads at the border of your network. This is a nice free way to bring corporate styled security to the home.

The next step is to secure your browser. You have indicated that this is the most likely attack vector. Start by making Firefox your default browser and install the following plugins:
https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere [eff.org]
http://perspectives-project.org/firefox/ [perspectives-project.org]
http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net]
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/refcontrol/ [mozilla.org]

No-Script and Ref-Control can negatively effect usability and requires some learning to use effectively. It's well worth it. No script is really the only thing that can protect you from malicious code. It forces you to white-list code that you want to run. This granular control allows you to load the video on YouTube but not the advert that contains a drive by download.

I hope you find these tips helpful in your journey towards computer security. There is always more to learn. Good luck.

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