In today’s digital age, cyber security is as important, if not more so, as actual security guarding a real piece of company property. However they may differ, they both have safeguard strategies that need to be implemented to the letter to be effective.
The following are some guidelines for use in cyber security:
Up-to-date anti-virus software
This is a given: all computers must have anti-virus software. The anti-virus software is specifically created and designed to protect your computer against known viruses.
There is one caveat, however. New viruses are created almost daily. There is a need, therefore, to update your anti-virus program on a regular basis to recognize these new variants of viruses.
Like flu shots, only that they are done more often, these regular updates can help stop these viruses. These regular updates are antidotes for these man-made vermin.
Firewalls are virtual defensive fortifications to protect your computer from the outside world. They filter unauthorized data from elsewhere, mostly the Internet, while allowing authorized or ‘good’ data to enter your computer.
All types of firewalls are available in most computer stores, and some computer manufacturing companies bundle them together with their computers that you purchase.
The simplest rule is this: if you don’t know the person who is sending you an email, be very careful about opening the email and never open any file attached to it.
Sometimes, you may have a vague idea who the sender is, but you should still be careful.
Some tell-tale signs include unusual hyperlinks and/or urgent messages to open the attached file. Some of your friends may have been conned and unwittingly forwarded you a virus-laden email.
When in doubt, delete. Your friend will understand.
Passwords were created to be your virtual key to computer data. Like real-life keys, passwords are only as good if they are difficult to ‘duplicate’ or guessed.
Some of the guidelines are: Don’t share your password, don’t use your same password in more than one place, and most importantly, create a password that is difficult to guess.
Here are some time-tested rules in password-making:
1.) Passwords should have a minimum of 8 characters, and should be as meaningless as possible.
2.) Use all kinds of types possible – lower case, upper case, numbers, symbols, special characters, etc.
3.) Change your passwords regularly, every three months, for example.
4.) Never give out your password to anybody.
Experienced computer users know one primary rule: always back up your data. Small amounts of data can be stored on disks and on CDs if they are more than the disk can handle. For computers in a network, the usual backup is through the network data storage system. The overall idea is that if anything happens to your primary data, you can always retrieve them from somewhere.
Another big no-no for experienced computer users is sharing them with strangers. Your computer operating system may allow file sharing from other computers in your network or from the Internet. This is one sure way of infecting your computer. Be sure to turn off and disable file-sharing if it is not needed.
Disconnecting from the Internet
Cutting your computer’s connection with the Internet when not in use lessens the possibility of accessing it. If your computer has no firewall or updated anti-virus protection, someone could harm it.
Update security patches
Just like your anti-virus program, there is a need to regularly update your other computer programs. Sometimes, bugs are discovered in your regular programs that can be an entrance to your computer for any malicious person to attack and infect.
Software companies create patches for these and post them in their sites. They can be downloaded and are automatically patched up into your program in question.
Regular security checkups
Like a car’s multiple systems, a computer security programs need regular checkups, too. Sometimes, you may discover that a program is outdated through simple oversight. Some security settings have to be adjusted according to your present needs. Twice-a-year evaluation is good enough.
Like preparing for emergencies in real life, it is good policy to make sure that family members or probably your employees would know what to do during computer emergencies.
They must at least be aware of proper computer security practices – how to update virus protection programs, how to download patches, how to create proper passwords.
Cyber security, like any real security, needs everybody’s help for it to succeed and avert those dreaded computer attacks.