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E-mail, wireless PDAs, laptops and cell phones are just a few of the electronic methods used by lawyers to reach clients and colleagues, anytime, anywhere. While they increase mobility and communication, they also increase the potential for confidential information to be intercepted and exploited. To meet client expectations and garner trust, network security is essential. The good news: Even the smallest of firms can secure networks with a few easy steps. 1. Antivirus Software Viruses, worms and Trojan horses are common types of malicious code designed to hide within files or programming, only to self-replicate or multiply through actions of unknowing computer users. The most important step to combat malicious code: Install antivirus software to scan for and detect viruses, and to repair virus-related damage. Install the software at your gateway, e-mail servers, client desktops and on mobile devices. Configure your antivirus software to boot automatically and update often. 2. Firewalls An effective firewall is your first line of defense against hackers. They examine messages and block those that do not meet specified security criteria. They are designed to be efficient for network users while protecting both inbound and outbound communication. Firewalls should be placed at multiple layers, including remote devices, the gateway and desktop systems (personal firewalls). 3. Passwords Setting and protecting a password is easy and can help prevent hackers from gaining access to confidential information on your network. To keep passwords private, use words that are not easily guessed (i.e., avoid using a birthday, or a child/pet name). Don’t post passwords near your desk or share your password with a colleague; and don’t toss passwords or other confidential information in the garbage. 4. DoS Attacks While stealing information is the goal of some attackers, others want to disable a firm’s network, blocking anyone from accessing data. By flooding a server with false information requests, hackers perpetuate denial-of-service (DoS) attacks to disrupt normal business operations or keep legitimate users away. DoS attacks combined with malicious code and other vulnerabilities create “blended threats.” These are defeated by antivirus software, firewalls and other security systems and practices. 5. Safe Practices DO: � Turn off unnecessary services. � Scan incoming e-mail attachments. � Scan floppy disks before using them. � Change passwords frequently. � Keep corporate software up-to-date. � Download the latest security patches. DON’T: � Allow open file sharing. � Automatically open attachments; know the creator and purpose of the data. � Boot from a floppy disk. � Download programs from the Web. (If you must, scan before running and save downloads to one virus-checked folder.) � Be sure your firm training and information reinforces these rules. 6. Policies Although it might inconvenience users, set up your network access so that it executes a lockout after five log-in attempts. Also, never keep documented lists of user identification and the corresponding passwords. 7. Mobile Devices Precautions to fight off malicious code, hacker break-ins and other threats on your desktop will also safeguard your mobile devices. Install and update antivirus and other systems on your mobile devices and follow the same security best practices you do in the office. Gail Hamilton is executive vice president of Symantec Corp., based in Cupertino, Calif. Web: www.symantec.com.

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