Smart Computer Security

How good is your computer security?

Cyber criminals are more sophisticated than ever. They are breaking into companies, banks and government organizations for financial gain and to steal documents, secrets and intellectual property.

They are also breaking into our home computers and laptops to steal our personal information and data.

Companies, banks and governments have a lot of resources they can dedicate to cyber security defense. And they still get broken into.

Although companies selling us computers don't seem to care much about our security, there is a lot we can do ourselves to increase our computer security.

With the right computer security software, critical awareness of the dangers lurking on the Internet, and correct behavior and techniques, you can protect your computer and personal information from cyber criminals and thieves.

Don’t Be a Target of Opportunity

Many cyber thieves, like their real world counterparts, are opportunists. They look for targets that are highly profitable and require little effort and risk. Unsecured computers, easy-to-guess passwords and general lack of attention while browsing on the Internet leave you open to attacks and make their life easier.

At the same time, new technology products are being developed and at an ever-increasing pace. Security is often an afterthought because technology companies rush product development to outsell one another in a highly-competitive technology market.

The products we use are not secure, and cyber criminals are there to take advantage of it.

This leaves us - consumers of technology - to fend for ourselves.

Layered Computer Security

How can we increase our computer security to protect our personal information and data and lower the risk of someone breaking into our computer, email account or online service like a bank website?

Here is a robust strategy:

  • Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket and having just one type of computer protection, it is better to have several layers of defense. This way you maximize your chances of keeping your computer protected and your data safe
  • By having backups and knowing what to do if and when your computer gets broken into, you can get going again with the least possible interruption

Rather than putting all your energy in preventing an attack, focus on making it more difficult and time consuming for a cyber intruder to break into your computer. Putting multiple obstacles in the intruder’s path buys you time and wastes theirs.

In the old days, people built castles and fortresses to defend their territory. Castles had multiple lines of defense: reconnaissance patrols for early enemy detection, difficult ground surrounding the castle, moats, high walls and multiple armies strategically placed around the territory.

In computer security the multiple lines of defense are created by using different software programs and having good backups (something people back in a day didn't have - if their castle was broken into, they died!)

The goal is to make the cyber criminals discouraged. They are opportunists, and if your computer is secure enough, they will go break into the next one.

This is called defense in depth. It is a military strategy and you can use it to your advantage.

By setting up multiple layers of defense using several independent methods, you can:

  1. increase your chances of preventing someone from breaking into your computer
  2. buy yourself extra time to detect - and respond to - an attack

The more protection layers you use...

  • Security tools that detect viruses and malware on your computer in real time
  • Using secure, hard-to-guess passwords
  • Tools that protect your web browser on the Internet
  • Programs that shred your data when you delete it
  • Computer, cell phone and personal data backups

...the more you will increase the security of your computer, tablet and mobile phone.

Embrace Computer Security and Keep Your Data Safe

Let's summarize. Cyber criminals are:

  1.  Very good at what they do (much better than us)
  2. Breaking into more and more computers and online services
  3. Opportunists and looking for easy targets

Companies making products:

  1. Race to design and sell them
  2. Don't focus on making them secure
  3. Don't necessarily care about making them secure (it's not their data)

Our computer security plan is to:

  1. Have multiple computer security software defending our computers
  2. Pay attention on the Internet
  3. Have reliable and trustworthy backups of our data

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