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Combating Alternate Data Streams

First, and most importantly, the bad guys can't use alternate data streams to do their dirty work until they get inside your defenses. So make sure that you follow these rules:

  • Keep your operating system and security software up to date.
  • Use the appropriate firewall settings.
  • If you administer a Windows system using NTFS, get an effective ADS detection tool and run it regularly.

Remember that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom from system compromise. In addition to checking alternate data streams, practice good computer security housekeeping:

  • Regularly audit your system.
  • Check your system logs for suspicious activity.
  • Don't shrug off disks that mysteriously fill up.
  • Monitor your network traffic, looking for spikes at inappropriate times or from suspicious sources..
  • Check which services are running on which ports on your Internet connections, and pay particular attention to services using unusual ports.

This isn't rocket science, and it usually isn't very time-consuming. But it's vital in today's computer environment. Just because you have all the right pieces in place, don't assume that you can ignore day-to-day monitoring.

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