Ensuring Personal Computer Security

If you are someone who conducts a lot of business on their computer, and even personal finance and shopping, then computer security should be something that you spend a bit of time thinking about.  It can be a bit mysterious to some people who aren’t that computer literate, however there are some common sense and easy steps that you can take to ensure that you computer is safe and that all of your data and transactions are secure and not able to be stolen.

Data theft is on the rise as it becomes more and more profitable for hackers to steal information.  Additionally, malware and spyware has become much more advanced, allowing would-be hackers access to even more information than they used to.

Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your computer is safe and secure and that you’re following computer security best practices.

Use Anti Spyware Software

This is a piece of cake.  There are a bunch of software programs out there to choose from but not all of them are created equally.  If you do a bit of research you will quickly suss out which programs are considered the cream of the crop.  I recommend using Malwarebytes or Spyhunter 4.  Malwarebytes does have the distinction of stopping threats that are incoming before they get onto your computer, but you will have to purchase the Premium version.  If you’re looking for information on whether or not the Premium version of Malwarebytes is worth it, then you can check out this article at http://www.wehatemalware.com/is-malwarebytes-premium-worth-it/ .  I personally use Malwarebytes premium to protect me from internet threats such as drive by installations and downloads.  Even reputable websites can get their advertising hacked and then you’ll be vulnerable.

Ensure You Update Software

In order to protect from the latest threats that exploit security holes in software and operating systems, you must allow your software to run updates to the latest version.  The easiest way to do this is to enable automatic updates – the software will download and install updates automatically and you won’t have to remember to do it or do it manually.  If you don’t update then you will be vulnerable to security holes.

Back Up Your Data

If you back up your data you will have a great line of defense against ransomware and other similar hijacking attacks.  Ransomware locks your data behind unbreakable encryption and asks for money to unlock it.  However, if you have good data backup then you can simply wipe your hard drive and start over.  I recommend that you use something like Backblaze so that you’ll never have to remember to back up your data.  Backblaze automatically backs up any new files that you add to your computer and runs constantly in the background with very little system resources.  I highly recommend this!

Avoid Internet “Bad Neighborhoods”

This means to ensure that you don’t visit certain internet sites that are known to be “bad actors” in the past.  This includes adult, gambling, download and torrent sites, and hacking sites.  These are the pinnacle of threats and if you go browsing these sites then you’ll expect to come away with some sort of malware or virus.

Tech And Automobiles

Technology is merging into the automotive industry at a blistering pace.  One thing that needs to be addressed, though, is how the smart features and internet connectivity will be guarded against hacking and hijacking.  It was proven that hackers could hijack a vehicle and take over certain critical systems such as the acceleration and the brakes.  It is terrifying to think that someone from a computer thousands of miles away could take control of your car.  But it’s true.

One thing about hacking is that it can end up in the wrong hands.  What can be a peaceful “white hat” hobby is also the realm of thieves, hitmen, and pranksters.

Malware defense has gotten better and better over the years, as has the software for our personal computers.  But what about the software for smart objects and the “internet of things”?

These are the critical new areas where manufacturers are skimping on security.  However, as one upset mother found out, it’s even possible to hack a baby monitor.  What sicko would do that?  Well, they’re out there.

This poses a significant escalation as attacks translate into the physical world of connected devices. “The threat is greater than simply losing your data–the growing fleet of connected devices, including the connected car, is turning into the Wild West of the internet where anything goes,” said Tim Helming, director of product management at Domain Tools. “Hapless car owners who simply wanted a way to listen to music and talk handsfree will discover that they are connected to more than just Spotify when their cars won’t start and the infotainment screen announces that the car has been crypto-locked and is completely disabled until the ransom is paid.” -Hilary Tuttle, Risk Management

So how do you feel about the internet of things after this news?  I am not so sure I want all my devices to connect to the internet and talk to each other.  I am already suspicious of things like Alexa and Siri listening to all of my conversations.

Although I know I’m protected by certain government laws, the current state of the government has me a little worried that those laws might move at any moment.

Not to mention policing freedom of speech the way that East German used to do.

It’s a slippery slope and not one I wish to attempt to scale anytime soon.  The interesting thing about this is that the companies promoting these internet connected listening devices are rather large, and the impact on their bottom line will be huge.

Are you into the internet of things?  Do you want your car to be connected to the internet?  How about the cockpit of the next commercial airline flight that you take?

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