Friday, December 10, 2010


Secure Your Data From Cyber Threats

The vulnerability to data theft can be significantly reduced by protecting data with passwords and using anti-virus software.

The vulnerability of those who use the Internet, has become an indispensable tool for professional or personal work. You have to adopt adequate precautions against cyber threats. What are the possible steps for ensuring security?

Choosing a password
You should show extreme caution in selecting a password. It is the key that gives full access to the entire gamut of your information. Very often people choose a password that they can easily remember. But a hacker can make intelligent guesses and arrive at these in his effort to crack your password.

A clever combination of random numbers, special characters, and letters in capital and small letters may be a hard nut to crack. Using the same password for all your sites may be very convenient; but a hacker who succeeds in cracking one will get easy access to all your sites and accounts.

There are new trends such as the use of ‘two-factor authentication' that employs a password along with another piece of secret information for entering a secured area.

You may, if necessary, use methods of encryption to protect passwords. You should not write out the passwords in a diary kept near the computer or in a file with the name ‘passwords' or something similar in your computer. Even a person who has access to your computer should not be able to know your passwords. If you happen to use a computer that does not belong to you as in a cyber cafĂ© for surfing or email, do not forget to ‘log out' at the end of your session.

If you are in the habit of carrying a laptop or a palmtop computer (PDA: Personal Digital Assistant) or USB drive, keep it securely at all times. Do keep it locked with a password lest anyone who may get access to it should steal vital information stored in it.

Encrypt your sensitive files.
You should certainly have a backup, of all the information saved in the portable device, back home. If you allow a USB drive from others to be inserted in your computer, do it only after scanning and ensuring that it is free from viruses.

Anti-virus software
If your computer gets linked to the Internet, it is imperative that you regularly use some kind of anti-virus software. By scanning the computer, anti-virus software can detect the presence of viruses and help to neutralize them or delete the infected files. Further, certain software will prevent the entry of any virus into your computer through email or from dangerous web sites. Certain software would scan the computer automatically at pre-determined intervals and give you scan reports for corrective action.

Just installing anti-virus software is no guarantee for permanent protection. Each day attackers write new viruses; they may enter your computer unless your software has the capacity to detect and deal with them.

So you have to regularly update your anti-virus software. The software should have the power to handle even new viruses; it has to be bought from authentic sources for reliable protection of your computer.

Even if you do not surf the net, your computer may get infected if you insert unknown pen-drives or floppies. As a rule, you may first scan any such source before introducing it to your computer.

There are firewalls that can provide protection against outside attackers. They block unauthorised access by shielding the computer or network from malicious traffic. Authorised communication is however permitted to enter your system.

If children, who are not aware of the value of precious data stored, are allowed to use your computer, they should follow specific discipline limiting their activities to predetermined operations. Otherwise, they may inadvertently delete files of importance to you,

The use of software for checking viruses and malware is an integral part of ensuring cyber security. In spite of your best efforts to protect your computer from infection, your machine may still get infected.

You should have regular backups made to prevent total loss of your vital information in the event of a computer crash. There is nothing like totally foolproof protection. This does not imply that you can ignore good security habits. It is not advisable to permit strangers to use your computer.

If you have to share your computer with others as in an office, do keep separate user accounts, with individual passwords. You need not always keep your computer connected to the net, even though you have the broadband connection that asks for no extra charge for continuous connection. Through the appropriate selection of your Internet options, you can limit pop-up windows and browser cookies. In order to ensure authenticity and correctness of important business correspondence through email, you can use digital signatures.

Beware of tricksters
Do not follow the instructions found in chain letters; they may carry viruses. Attackers may give false alarms about impending arrival of harmful viruses to you by email, and ask you to circulate the message to your friends who should also follow their instructions. Free trial offers of software and services may be a ruse to send you viruses and exploit you.

Yet another pitfall before netizens is the habit of falling prey to tempting offers on the net.

They may be in the form of promises of fabulous prizes, honorary degrees, and so on. There may be danger lurking behind them in the form of malicious viruses. You should shun such temptations. Tricksters may request sums for charity or send requests as if from your friends who got stranded in a strange land where they lost all their money and credit cards.

You may be requested to rescue them by rushing money online to an account. You have to check and confirm the truth through a phone conversation before sending money based on such alerts. Never send any money to people whom you have known only through the net. A chat room friend who wins your heart through sweet conversation may be a scheming impostor.


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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