Computer Security in a Nutshell
Many organizations don’t think about computer security, or most security, until there is a breach. Creating insecure passwords such as your, or the name of a favorite pet or spouse, name or a common word, could compromise your information or network. This post gives you, hopefully, some basic principles to mitigate security risks of your information & identity.
If you decide to log on while at McDonalds or Starbucks, you absolutely must ensure that the WiFi network you’re logging onto is secure or it’s useless! Cyber criminals can ‘hijack’ your signal from an open network just as quickly as if you gave them access to your passwords! And if they do that and you’re banking or shopping…
Going along with this is radio frequencies within your home and such things as your baby monitor. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone can be driving up and down your block looking for a signal they can pick up and hijack. It does happen with cell phones, baby monitors, WiFi networks, and so on.
Viruses and malware
How often do you check your virus software to ensure that it’s up to date on the latest viruses out there? There are millions of new viruses that are floating around on a yearly basis. And while it is impossible to keep your computer 100% safe you have to do your best.
Having malware on your hard drive is just like having a virus. It can hijack your web browser and switch you to a different website that isn’t secure where it will prompt you to put in your information, to steal your money or identity.
And some malware can be used to ‘force’ your computer to do its dirty work. In other words, it’ll use your address to try and hack others – all leading back to you.
Then there is ransomware. This is where a malware program will be planted on your computer and a message will pop-up ordering you to pay someone, somewhere a princely sum, from $250 upwards of a million dollars if you’re rich enough. It virtually locks up your computer until you pay them for the passcode to unlock it or pay several hundred dollars to have someone get rid of it.
The only protection you’ll have from these is to run a complete virus scan. This will allow your computer to find, and hopefully, destroy any viruses and malware on the hard drive. Keep in mind that some malware & viruses can elude detection for as long as 6 months, no matter how good your protection is.
Changing your passwords at least on a quarterly basis, is a good way not to be hacked and keep them wondering and worrying about their efforts. And if they start worrying about it, then you’re not worth it and they’ll move to someone else’s computer.
It’s estimated that a password containing 8 symbols can confound the common hacker for as much as 6 months, symbols meaning numbers, letters (upper and lower case), and the symbols above the numbers on the keyboard. If you can lengthen it, not to mention remember it, to 15 then it’ll take the average hacker more than a trillion years to hack your password. And even with the programs for such things it’ll take years to find it, which hopefully, you’ll have changed it by then!
You have to be careful with your web surfing as well. Too many times, you can click on a link within an e-mail and it will re-route you to a different website. One with viruses and malware, which as you know can be trouble,
The best advice I can provide if you want to web surf, is to never click on a link within an e-mail. Keep your security settings as high as you can and still allow you to surf. And lastly, type the name of a trusted website into the browser yourself, especially if you’re going there for the first time.
Once you’ve been to the site a couple of times it should be okay to keep it in your ‘favorites’ folder and just click on it. But if you’re shopping on-line, then look for the locked padlock on the corner of your screen before putting in your card or other personal info. This is one way that cyber criminals want to get a hold of your info and steal your identity.
One of the biggest crimes, and invisible ones, is identity theft. It’s one reason why people lose, or can’t get government benefits, booted off disability or can’t buy a house, car, or anything else on credit.
You have to be aware of what you do on-line no matter what you’re doing on there. Clicking on bad links, downloading malware (unintentionally), opening phishing e-mails, sharing ‘open source software’, placing too much information on-line in social media, not to mention other personal financial information, and many other things
Phishing e-mail is a mail that is meant to attract you to open it and then click on the links provided. And please also keep in mind, that some of these mails have malware embedded into the mail so that that just opening the mail can infect your computer.
The best advice I can give you for this is simple; if you don’t know who sent it, why, or for what reason, then don’t open it! Send it straight to spam. And absolutely never download an attachment unless it is for a trusted source.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security field for nearly 32 years, and 24 studying workplace violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany, Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.