Ten ideas to protect your computer, tablets or Smart Phone from cybercrime

Whether you are in business and / or your want to protect your individual information and identity then you need to have some level of protection against cybercrime.   There are numerous ways to keep you data secure.

Here are ten ideas!

 End point protection is only the first step

If you do not have some level of end point protection then you are fooling yourself about how secure you are.   There are no operating systems or internet browser that are immune to a malware attack, some are definitely more secure but none of them are 100% secure.

In addition to this if you have an outdated end point protection system then you are also exposed to the bad guys and cybercrime.

So install end point protection software and keep it up to date.

Change your passwords

Passwords are the bane of our existence, we can at times have upward of 20 of them to access information on the Internet.   From logging onto your computer itself, to accessing your bank account,  to purchasing information from the Internet each one needs a password.

Passwords need to have three criteria, they have to be complicated, they have to be different and they have to be changed regularly.   (try this)

Monitor computer changes

All operating systems now have regular updates either for security or for added features.   They also have a process of telling you when they have changed the system and you need to do something about it  Sort of like ” look what I have done, pretty neat eh!”.    In its own way this is good but it also keeps you informed when something else tries to install itself without your express permission.

Always read the pop up from either the end point protection or your operating system.   It is trying to tell you something.

We are all the weakest link

Most of us our own worst enemy.   Computers have a nasty knack of telling us that it is not a good idea to do something.   But we are humans and no stinking machine is going to tell me what to do – right.   When it comes to using the Internet then we are notoriously bad.   When we want to see something, get a free game, see compromising pictures of celebrities, download Music or videos, we will often be asked by the computer to install something.

Always read the pop up and make appropriate decisions based on the information provided.

Be aware of your surroundings

I do a lot of work on my laptop or tablet in coffee shops or malls.   I am always aware that someone can read over my shoulder – shoulder surfing.   So I have got into the habit of finding corner tables or places where people cannot read the screen directly.

Think about where you are and if other people are going to be interested in what you are doing is also good protection against cybercrime.

Plan for the worst, hope for the best

Backups, in today’s cheap hard drive world and abundant off site backup storage systems there is no excuse to not have a copy of your electronic information somewhere else.   Whether it is a regular backup of all of your data to a hard drive or cloud storage iCloud or dropbox do it regularly.

If it is important to you then back it up

Don’t trust anything on the Internet

The old adage “if it’s too good to be true” then it probably is, is indicative of the Internet.   There are no free lunches, no free ways to make millions or only work four hours per week to make squillions systems that are not a scam at some level.   They are just there for the owner to make money.  These scams have been around for decades, the Internet just makes it easier to implement and steal the money.

In addition there is always the Nigerian prince who will make you millions if you just give him the seed money to get it out.

The Internet is forever – think before you act

We have all been told that if you post on the Internet that it is forever.   The problem is that it is very true.   Most of us have a flash of red when posting on the internet, that flash when posted cannot be taken back.   Some sites – linkedin – have a cooling down period of 5 minutes before it goes live giving you the chance to read and take it back if necessary.   In a lot of cases your comments / postings are lost in the clutter of millions of other comments but a concerted effort can always find it.    There is even software that is available now for around $700 where you can discover everything that is recorded against you or anyone on the Internet.

When posting or commenting to the Internet always be aware that no matter what you say it will be there until the Internet is replaced by something else.

Two logon’s are better than one

Single sign on for a web site or for work is usually very good, it makes access easier and quicker.   The downfall is that if someone else knows your username and password that they can do some serious damage.

Using a third component will always make it harder to access your critical information.   So banks and credit unions that have fobs – electronic devices that change every few minutes – mean that your data is harder to steal.   Once again harder to steal – they go for easier targets.

Your computer – your problem

From the old days of computer security the moment someone else has control over your computer it is no longer yours.   This applies to both the home and the office.   If your computer has malware, spyware or a virus, if someone else has your username and password or any of the myriad of other problems means you are not in control of your computer then you have not applied point 1 – 9 to your system.

So that’s it, ten points that will help you understand that your computer is only as safe as your attitude to keeping it safe.   The final point is that no one is too small to worry about their security.

 

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.

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