As an user of computer you must have seen messages for alerts for viruses, worms, Trojan horses and many other related to security of your computer, or you must be getting emails even phone calls making you alert about computer security. They must be telling you so many buzzwords like “your computer is being monitored and used by somebody else, we can solve the problem by installing some software…” and so on.
Now the bottom line is this:
- Should you really worry about security issue?
- Can someone really use your computer?
- Answer is simple and straight “Yes”.
You must be thinking why anybody would like to intrude your system? Reason can be anything like:
- May be someone is interested in getting your personal information or a person wants to steal some data from your system.
- May be some one wants to cause damage to your system.
- May be someone wants to test his or her computer skills?
Someone may be interested in your personal information for financial gain, may be the person is interested in your credit card number or your bank account number or even your SSN number.
Most credit card thieves are interested in cracking databases maintained by merchants, financial firms like banks and credit reporting services. How hacker can get my password or credit card information? Hacker can install some malicious code that could also track your keystrokes and send the data to remote attacker all usernames and passwords it obtained when you visited an online banking site.
A person could be interested in causing damage to your system, reason can be anything like the person is not having good relations with you, so by damaging your system he or she wants to take revenge from you for any reason.
Its not always that person who is cracking your system (crackers) is for wealth and revenge. Most crackers see the process as a game; an exiting challenge that let them uses their knowledge of computer.
There are some cases where cracker wants to break into a “secure” system to demonstrate its vulnerabilities to its owners.
Reason can be there where cracker wants to use your system for doing illegal work. They don’t want them to be traced down, so they may want to put you in all illegal activities.
If you have high-speed Internet access with wireless router then the risk of getting exposed to the hackers is more. Some of the security risks for wireless Internet access are Insertion Attacks, Interception and monitoring wireless traffic, Configuration change, and Network Jamming etc.
With so many reasons and so many cases regarding network security and so many threats coming from so many different angles, a question arises how are you supposed to protect yourself?
You cannot get 100% protection, some of the risk is impossible to avoid, you can’t control what comes from outside.
But still we can take some measures to minimize the disasters and risk of losing personal information.
Plan in advance for your system recovery. Like you should have back up for all your important data, pictures, songs etc.
Do not forget the Basics of Security.
Regardless of how much protection you have in place, or whether you use a Mac, Windows XP, or Firefox browser etc, all the security precautions should be taken.
Spend some money in buying good anti virus software, hardware or software based firewall, latest intrusion detection system, anti spy ware, install them in your system and keep updating these protection software, security patches from vendors regularly, because in every new version these software’s have new features for new possibilities.
Keep changing your password regularly and most important thing, password should be unpredictable. You should not keep your name your pet’s name or any other related name or number as your password. If you are giving your password to anyone like to your computer consultant then change it immediately after your work is being done.
E-mails are the most common source of virus. Do not open any suspicious mail attachments, which comes with any mail even from your friends or relatives, it can be a program to get into your system and take out all your data. Email worms routinely spoof the sender information. Some of the recent virus file extensions are exe, inf, url, vbs, vbe, wsf, wsh, wsc, zip etc.
Disconnect your system from Internet when you don’t use it. If you are using wireless router then keep the password security or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) enabled.
These are few measures, which when combined with your common sense can serve you as tools for preventing your system from outside raiding to some extent.
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