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External hard drive security


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#1 TopFuel500

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 03:05 PM

I have 3 desk top computers wired to my router. They all have Norton Security Suite installed.

 

I also have an Segate Freeagent USB external hard drive plugged into the router, shared by all 3 computers. 

 

Is the external hard drive secure because it is behind the router firewall?

 

Is there anything else I might do to help make this setup more secure?

 

Thank you in advance.



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#2 packetanalyzer

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 03:15 PM

Hi TopFuel500,

 

By secure do you mean reachable from the Internet? Safe from being infected with a virus? Safe from a mechanical failure?

 

That is a hard question to answer. There is almost always something you can do to make a system more secure. As you make something more secure you usually make it less usable. That is a trade off. Here are some basic things that you can think about and they may help you answer your question.

 

You said it is a USB external hard drive. This means that it is plugged into a specific computer and then you are sharing the external drive over your home network. So, that tells us that your USB external hard drive is not directly accessible from the Internet (like it might be if it were a NAS). The next step is asking if you router is configured to be secure (did you change the default password, did you close unnecessary ports, does your router offer stateful packet inspection, etc.).

 

You also need to make sure all 3 of your computers have anti-virus and anti-malware installed and are regularly updated. Your computers need to be fully patched. You need to have strong complex passwords on your computers. You need to have a firewall that you maintain and configure correctly (either a network based firewall or a computer based firewall but preferably both).

 

Another thing you can do is use full disk encryption. You can use it on your computers. You can use it on your hard drive. There are many different full disk encryption products available. A few of these are TrueCrypt (discontinued by the developers), VeraCrypt, BitLocker, and PGP.

 

Let me know if you have any questions about anything I mentioned.

 

Cheers,

 

packetanalyzer



#3 RolandJS

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 04:14 PM

Is the ext usb HD a backup/restore operations HD?  If so, maybe consider taking it offline when not in use.  Otherwise, if it's not a backup/restore HD, you're pretty as good as gold -- as long as you have reasonably-set anti-virus, anti-malware real time shields and a few scheduled scans through-out the week.


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#4 TopFuel500

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:16 PM

Thank you for the replies.

 

Please note; In the OP, I stated the external HD is plugged into the router, not one of the computers. This is where I have some concerns. Is the router's firewall enough protection? I will read about full disk encryption. In the mean time can anyone give any advice in this area maybe some pros or cons to doing this or the best method? 

 

I am going to be networking my home computers and I am looking for the best protection from intrusion from the internet & viruses. As stated, I use Norton Security Suite on the Computers. I also scan often with Trendmicro housecall, SUPER Anitspyware and Malwarebytes. If anyone has any better suggestions, I am open to advice.

 

packetanalyzer, I did change the default name and password ( 18 mixed characters ) and used WPA2 on my router.  I like to know more about some of the answers you gave.

 

You asked, "did you close unnecessary ports, does your router offer stateful packet inspection, etc."  I am using a LINKSYS EA8500 MAX-STREAM™ AC2600 MU-MIMO SMART WI-FI ROUTER.

 

 I am not sure how to close unnecessary ports or even determine which ones are unnecessary. Additionally,  I have no idea what stateful packet inspection, etc is or how to achieve it. Might you or someone else be willing to advice?

 

I am assuming from the replies, that it might be better to plug the external HD into one of the computers and then share it with the rest of the computers through networking? That way I would be using the benefits of the computer's Norton Security Suite?

 

I have also just read in a few places that my Seagate Freeagent 500 GB and my Hitachi 1TB Touro might not work when I finally decide to switch to Win 10 down in the future.

 

Thanks for any help!



#5 packetanalyzer

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:23 PM

I am going to be networking my home computers and I am looking for the best protection from intrusion from the internet & viruses. As stated, I use Norton Security Suite on the Computers. I also scan often with Trendmicro housecall, SUPER Anitspyware and Malwarebytes. If anyone has any better suggestions, I am open to advice.

 
Quietman7 recently posted a response to a similar question HERE.
 

packetanalyzer, I did change the default name and password ( 18 mixed characters ) and used WPA2 on my router.

 
Good it is important to change the default name and password (though I wouldn't necessarily post on the Internet how long the password is).
 

I am using a LINKSYS EA8500 MAX-STREAM™ AC2600 MU-MIMO SMART WI-FI ROUTER.

 
That model router has Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI). SPI means that your router can keep track of all of the verified connections going across your router and if packets that are not related to a verified connection attempt to come across your router those packets will be dropped. It is not a perfect technology, but it aims at making sure that connections that you didn't initiate aren't coming into your network. You want to make sure that SPI is turned on.
 
Also, it will not have any ports permanently open by default. It does have Universal Plug 'n Play enabled by default which means it will allow changes to what ports are open and being forwarded to which computers in your network as needed. This is considered insecure. An explanation of why it is insecure can be read HERE. An explanation of the different between UPnP being used by devices in your home and UPnP on your router that directly touches the Internet can be read HERE.
 

I am assuming from the replies, that it might be better to plug the external HD into one of the computers and then share it with the rest of the computers through networking? That way I would be using the benefits of the computer's Norton Security Suite?

 
You can but you can also install the Seagate Anti-Virus app for Seagate NAS OS. You can find an overview of the Seagate Anti-Virus app HERE. You can also find the documentation for the Seagate Anti-Virus app for Seagate NAS OS HERE.
 
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
 
packetanalyzer


Edited by packetanalyzer, 16 January 2016 - 01:23 PM.


#6 TopFuel500

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:46 PM

packetanalyzer,

 

Thank you so much for the advice and direction. I will read the suggestions and make the adjustments.



#7 packetanalyzer

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:51 PM

You are welcome! Have a good weekend and let me know if you have any other questions.






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