Despite best efforts, it’s very likely that you have personal information on your computer you would rather not have found online or in the hands of a mischievous individual. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up saving documents that have information such as your finances or even as simple as a personal journal that’s meant to be private.
People can use this information against you; some do it for fun while others for financial or personal gain. Either way, it’s not something you’ll want to experience.
Preventing data and identity theft are generally the same as property theft.
Where this a will there is a way. A person intending to break into a home to steal items will generally do so because they are determined no matter the security. However, security services and features in place will generally dissuade the individual because it’s too much a challenge. The services and tactics for security are helpful but also act as a deterrent in the mind of a criminal within their own right.
The same for cyber security.
A system which has little or no security is a prime target because the individual can get in an out. A system which has safeguards take up too much time. These individuals prefer the low-hanging fruit so they’ll naturally jump to what’s easy (unless they are truly determined but for an everyday user that may have some private information… that’s usually not the case).
Let’s talk about some of the specifics, though.
Technology has come a long way. In the past security wasn’t so much an issue because there were so few workstations spread around the country easily accessible to people – let alone the fact that most were techie types anyway. Once the Net caught on people realized it was still pretty much an honor system because they weren’t expecting the growth.
Today we have many ways to stay safe at our workstations and when accessing the Web:
- Secured Hardware options such as a flash drives (find examples at SecureUSB.com) aren’t readily accessible through a simple plug and play. The newer flash drives, which come in very handy for just about any computer-based work, have actual encryption and physical protection in the event you leave it out in the open or lose it. We’re also seeing hard drives that have incredible encryption which will keep out physical and online attackers.
- Antivirus software has become very sophisticated (free and paid) that will offer real-time monitoring and constant updates to definitions and database updates. Operating systems, like Windows, have them in place to handle the brunt if you’re keeping them updated and active. However, tacking on others like MalwareBytes and doing regular cleanup with CCleaner is optimal so you don’t have these remnant files that could cause damage.
- SAAS and Mobile are two fantastic shifts in computing that have truly made a dent in preventing attackers from accessing your information. Yes, it does mean your information is on a server or within a mobile device but because the services are operated by major companies – you also gain the benefit of their additional spending on security and monitoring. Plus, constant, automatic updates to the systems and platforms mean the attackers are constantly at battle, which, as we’ve said, deters them away from yours and toward those less secure.
Security has come a long way and it’s only getting better.
The everyday tools we use as part of our computer (whether it’s a USB drive, SAAS services, or our mobile devices) are on track to being increasingly secure thanks to their proliferation. There will always be people trying to attack these items but if you keep them updated and stay sharp about your physical and online usage you’re already sending away many malicious types.
What all do you do to keep your information and privacy secure when accessing your workstation or hopping online?