The Internet has transformed our lives in many good ways. Unfortunately, this vast network and its associated technologies also have brought in their wake, the increasing number of security threats. The most effective way to protect yourself from these threats and attacks is to be aware of standard cybersecurity practices. I like to present an introduction to computer security and its key concepts.
- What is Computer Security?
- Computer Security Threats
- Best computer security practices.
What is computer security?
Computer security basically is the protection of computer systems and information from harm, theft, and unauthorized use. It is the process of preventing and detecting unauthorized use of your computer system.
Often people confuse computer security with other related terms like information security and cybersecurity. One way to ascertain the similarities and differences among these terms is by asking what is being secured. For example,
Information security is securing information from unauthorized access, modification & deletion
Computer Security means securing a standalone machine by keeping it updated and patched
Cybersecurity is defined as protecting computer systems, which communicate over the computer networks
It is important to understand the distinction between these words, though there isn’t necessarily a clear consensus on the meanings and the degree to which they overlap or are interchangeable.
In simple language, computer security is making sure information and computer components are usable but still protected from people or software that should not access it or modify it.
Computer security threats
Computer security threats are possible dangers that can possibly hamper the normal functioning of your computer. In the present age, cyber threats are constantly increasing as the world is going digital. The most harmful types of computer security are:
A computer virus is a malicious program which is loaded into the user’s computer without user’s knowledge. It replicates itself and infects the files and programs on the user’s PC. The goal of a virus is to ensure that the victim’s computer will never be able to operate properly or even at all.
A computer worm is a software program that can copy itself from one computer to another, without human interaction. The potential risk here is that it will use up your computer hard disk space because a worm can replicate in great volume and with great speed.
Disguising as a trustworthy person or business, phishers attempt to steal sensitive financial or personal information through fraudulent email or instant messages. Phishing in unfortunately very easy to execute. You are deluded into thinking it’s the legitimate mail and you may enter your personal information.
A rootkit is a computer program designed to provide continued privileged access to a computer while actively hiding its presence. Once a rootkit has been installed, the controller of the rootkit will be able to remotely execute files and change system configurations on the host machine.
Also known as a keystroke logger, keyloggers can track the real-time activity of a user on his computer. It keeps a record of all the keystrokes made by user keyboard. Keylogger is also an immensely powerful threat to steal people’s login credential such as username and password.
These are perhaps the most common security threats that you will come across. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against these attacks.
Best Computer Security Practices
Computer security threats are becoming relentlessly inventive these days. There is much need for one to arm oneself with information and resources to safeguard against these complex and growing computer security threats and stay safe online. Some preventive steps you can take include:
Secure your computer physically by:
- Installing reliable, reputable security and anti-virus software
- Activating your firewall, because a firewall acts as a security guard between the internet and your local area network
- Stay up to date on the latest software and news surrounding your devices and perform software updates as soon as they become available
- Avoid clicking on email attachments unless you know the source
- Change passwords regularly, using a unique combination of numbers, letters and case types
- Use the internet with caution and ignore pop-ups, drive-by downloads while surfing
- Perform full system scans and create a periodic system backup schedule to ensure your data is retrievable should something happen to your computer.
Unfortunately, the number of cyber threats is increasing at a rapid pace and more sophisticated attacks are emerging. So, having a good foundation in cybersecurity concepts will allow you to protect your computer against ever-evolving cyber threats.
Keep your computer’s operating system and antivirus/security software up to date. This is particularly important. If you have any questions or need help because you got hit, please feel free to contact me.
Phone: (403) 481-8080
Newsletter Archive October 2019 – Computer Security