If the local news station gave a report that crime is a problem in a certain town, it could mean a lot of different things to different people. Is it vandalism? Are robberies the problem? What about white-collar crime? Or could it even be violent crimes?
Just as there are many different ways that real-world criminals can commit crimes, there are a wide variety of cyber crimes that can be committed against a computer. Because of this, there is no singular way a computer can be protected. It has to be a combination of many different preventative steps in order to keep a computer – and all of its users – safe from cyber criminals.
Here are some computer security tips to help keep cyber criminals at bay:
The first place any computer user should start when thinking about computer security is making sure all software on a computer is up to date, whether it’s the operating system software or any other application. Cyber criminals who use intrusive attacks in order to place malware or steal information use imperfections in software (known as vulnerabilities) to access a target computer. Software manufacturers know this, and as soon as these vulnerabilities are discovered, they work to correct the issue and create a fix. These patches and updates can help keep a computer protected against these types of attacks.
Having reputable antivirus security software should also be a high priority when considering computer security. The best option is using a well rounded program that offers a vast range of protections, such as Norton Security, Kaspersky Security, McAfee Security, AVG Security.
“Antivirus protection” is a bit of a misnomer. A computer virus is a very specific form of malware that looks to self-replicate and needs to be executed in order to work. There’s a whole slough of different ways to attack a computer, from Trojan horses, to spam e-mails, to rootkits, to phishing. All of these attacks have different methods of delivery as well as different ways of causing damage.
Some antivirus programs will only protect against certain forms of malware, or won’t protect against attacks from Web browsers or through e-mail. Norton Security can protect against almost every from of malware that exists today.
Ignore Hoaxes and Scams
The old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is as important to remember in the cyber world as it is in the real world. Many cybercriminals rely on hoaxes and scams to spread their malware or steal information. This can be done through bogus e-mails that may ask for a small amount of money in exchange for riches down the road, or it could be an advertisement for a medicine that costs 80 percent less than it does at the pharmacy. If an e-mail promises something for nothing, or asks for any personal information, it’s best to just delete this e-mail and forget about it.
Although they may seem harmless, chain e-mails can be one of the worst offenders of spreading viruses and other malware. Never open an attachment from an e-mail that either comes from an unknown source or from one that has been forwarded many times. Also, never click on links in e-mails from unknown sources or if the e-mail from a friend seems oddly formal or out of character.
Norton Security has protections against threats in e-mails. It can scan attachments and links in e-mails to determine if they’re safe. But even with that protection, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of caution.
One way cybercriminals look to break into computers or steal information is through stealing passwords. This can be done by either making educated guesses at someone’s password (using the same word as the login, a street address, a child’s name, a pet’s name, etc.) or by using a program to run through all the permutations until it finds the right combination.
Creating strong passwords can help keep a computer safe. By not using obvious words (like “password” or “myname”), it can make a world of difference. Using random combinations of letters (upper and lower case), numerals, and punctuation marks is the best route to take. Also, programs like Norton Security can help encrypt personal information and passwords to add another layer of security protection.
Keep Personal Information Private
Some cyber criminals attempt to steal information by just plain asking for it. Any reputable organization will never ask for login and password information, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other type of personal information. Also, social networking sites and instant messaging programs may be personal, but that doesn’t mean they’re private. Cyber criminals know how to get information out of people that can be used against them, or how to find where they’ve displayed their personal information. Never post any information you don’t want strangers knowing about. Identity theft is something everybody should get educated about these days.
By following these tips, a computer and data you administer will be much more secure and a much less favorable target for cyber criminals.