The NSA Wants Your Home Network To Be Safer

on August 24, 2011

The National Security Agency is best known for its global communications snooping, but it is also responsible for helping to keep the nation’s computers safe from attack. Most of that effort is focused on government systems and large corporate networks, But the NSA has come out with a handy guide for improving the security of home (and small business) systems.

Most of the advice  in “Best Practices for Keeping Your Home Network Secure” will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, but it is still a useful checklist. And it generally is light on both jargon and scare-mongering. One weakness: Because the government avoids recommending commercial products, the advice to “Use a web browser with sandboxing capabilities” and “Update to a PDF reader with sandboxing capabilities” without offering some specific choices is likely to prove more confusing than helpful.

On the whole, though, the advice is sound and well-considered, with a good discussion of the pros and cons of choices, for example, “Disabling scripting can cause usability issues, but is an effective technique to reduce web bourne attacks.” I can’t explain that spelling of “bourne,” though. NSA’s close partnership with it’s UK counterpart, GCHQ, may be getting out of hand.