It would be wonderful to believe that using your home computer for all things “you” (picture files, documents, personal spreadsheets, contacts, family information and etc…), as well as, “sharing” yourself with your friends, family, and the world would require no thought, planning, or protection from evil people.
But, the truth is that we must not be naive. We must learn to be proactive and not get wronged and then be reactive to the reality of security at home, at work, or anywhere else.
Why the need for Security?
Below are some links to info-graphs found on the internet regarding the need to protect ourselves:
- How three of four computers in the United States may have been victims to cyber crime — Source: http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/hacked/
- Where about 32% of computer in the world have been infected by malware — Source: http://cloudtweaks.com/2014/04/cloud-infographic-computer-virus-facts-stats/
- If data has not been stolen, you may still be tracked and potentially can lead to being hacked — Source: http://www.studyweb.com/defending-data/
- The reminder of the lack of software updates for your computer can leave your system vulnerable — Source: http://brandongaille.com/36-shocking-computer-virus-statistics/
Physical breach – people (family, friend, special someone, or even someone you never met) break into you home/car and steal your information from or with your computer device, you real mail, your physical files, wallets and so on.
Virtual breach – hackers remote into your computer device from an offsite location and remove any/all data possible. Access to your computer mostly done by a virus/malware program.
Using a Virus or malware-type program
Examples are Adware, Bot, Bug, Ransomware, Rootkit, Spyware, Trojan Horse, Virus, Worm (from https://www.veracode.com/blog/2012/10/common-malware-types-cybersecurity-101).
Some possible reasons for getting malware are to do direct harm to you, harm to others by means of “borrowing” your computer device and make it a “zombie system,” to gather your personal data (for financial data, basic info ), and for the intent to access your system, or more likely, to sell to another person/group willing to pay for your personal information.
Worst case scenarios – What to do before the hack
Have a literal “Backup” plan for your information on your system. You should always have means to save a copy of your computer OS, software, and data in a good/clean state (free of virsu/malware). You should have a plan to add to the back up periodically as well as test you backup to ensure that it will replace data the gets removed, erased, and/or manipulated.
Steps to proactively protect your data
Keep paper copies safe and secured (perhaps a firebox safe).
Be stingy with your personal information (do not volunteer it unless you know the true identity with whom you will be sharing it with)
Lock you doors on your car/home and keep windows locked.
On your Computer device
Learn how to encrypt your folders and files and how to make a secure connection to web sites. Lock down who has access to your computer devices and/or files by using basic account levels and strong passwords. Understand that even USB devices could contain viruses that could infect your computer device(s). This link gives some tools that can help – source: http://lifehacker.com/five-best-file-encryption-tools-5677725.
On you home Router (if you own it)
Depending on the make/model should have built in tools to either prevent or hinder attacks though it. Using a MAC Filter to limit which devices can access the home network or internet, changing the router default password to something stronger, changing the network used at home (you will most likely need someone with better knowledge of subnets/VLANs to assist); changing the SSID name from the make/model and adding the proper WPA2 security features can all help deter your data from being stolen. This link gives some tools that can help – source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409751,00.asp.
Understand that e-mail with pictures/links, programs downloaded, web page links, PDF and other files could be infected.
Use of virus protecting software and anti-malware programs are recommended. Remember if something sounds too good to be true, think twice before clicking, installing, or sharing about yourself or family on social media. For example, do not tell your friends on Facebook that you will be leaving for two weeks and that your home will be completely empty. This could be prime information fo someone to find where you live and help themselves to your data or things.
Today’s suggested book is CompTIA’s Security+ by T.J. Samuelle . This book is for those desiring to understand the Security topic deeper and maybe planning to take the certification for their professional benefit