Unbind NetBIOS From Your Internet Connection
Security is an important concern to everyone, and given that Windows is the most widely implemented OS in the world, gets its share of attention when it comes to security. While some of the Windows 2000 weaknesses and vulnerabilities are legitimate, some are just dependencies on older technologies. NetBIOS over TCP/IP is one of those older technologies.
Without going into all of the gory details, NetBIOS over TCP/IP was the primary means for all Windows hosts to communicate with each other before the release of Windows 2000. If you were on one Windows computer and accessing resources on another Windows computer over TCP/IP, you were doing so via NetBIOS.
From purely a security perspective, NetBIOS makes it easy to secure systems from remote hackers over the Internet by simply shutting off NetBIOS on your system. In Windows 2000 Professional, this approach is still advisable. NetBIOS is the most common entry point that hackers look for when attempting to compromise a remote system.
Disabling NetBIOS in Windows 2000 Professional is very easy. Before doing so, however, be certain that you don’t want to do any Windows networking over your network interface, either incoming or outgoing. As an example, if you have a computer at home and are connected to a DSL line or cable modem, you most probably do not need NetBIOS.
To disable NetBIOS:
- Click Start, Settings, and then Network and Dial-Up Connections
- Locate the icon for your network card (If you only use a dial-up connection, this step does not apply).
- If you have multiple network cards, right-click the one that you use to connect to the Internet, and double-click the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
- On the property page, click Advanced, and select WINS.
- Now you should see a radio button labeled Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP. Select that option.
- Now reboot computer when you’re done, even if the system doesn’t ask you.
Congratulations. your system is now protected from NetBIOS based attacks over your public Internet connection.
If you plan on disabling this option, write down all of your connection information before doing so, that way you’ll remember it later if you need it. If you try Windows networking later and find that it doesn’t work, having this information handy will help you undo the change instead of fighting with your computer.