Exposing Myths in Cybersecurity
We all know that cybersecurity is essential. Having a strong password is vital to keep confidential information protected. We know that having anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware applications keep you safe on a network or the Internet. We also know that having a correct firewall setting is quite important as well.
We are led to believe that having these precautionary measures are enough. Well, they are not. It is time to expose some of the myths of cybersecurity.
MYTH: MY ANTI-VIRUS AND FIREWALL SOFTWARE WILL SAVE ME
FACT: Despite what manufacturers say, despite what the advertisements say, despite what some of your friends tell you, no anti-virus or firewall software is 100% effective. Virus creators make malicious codes that are so advanced that an anti-virus application is not yet capable of handling an attack from it.
Despite the regular updates released by anti-virus software companies, they cannot foresee what kinds of viruses will come out next month or the month after that. They can only provide their customers with protection based on the virus that they know and the potential virus that could come out.
HABIT: The best way to have a degree of protection is to combine the technologies together. Have separate anti-virus software installed and keep a strong firewall active.
It is also important to know that you cannot install an application and forget about it. You will need to get the patches or updates that manufacturers release. These patches or updates are fixes on some little or sometimes big inconsistencies or bugs in the application. For anti-virus software, this update is essential as it may contain the latest virus signature.
Turn on automatic updates to receive updates whenever manufacturers release a new version or an upgrade of the system.
Additionally, look at your security settings. Your emails, web browsers, and other applications all have specific settings that increase the security allowing them to block malware attacks.
MYTH: IT CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME or I'M NOT IMPORTANT TO HACKERS
FACT: Hackers and identity thieves will grab any opportunity that they come across. If they can get your personal information easily, they will do so and think about how they can use it for their personal gain.
Don't believe that just because you have mainly personal and insignificant information in your computer that it’s not worth protecting at all. Please bear in mind that what you think is not important can turn out to be quite useful for hackers. Every bit of information you have on your computer, email, or any other system can be manipulated and used by hackers to access more of your confidential information or use it to gain some profit. Even if you keep your files in a computer not connected to any network, the one that a hacker gains access to can be used to attack other computers or cause problems with other systems.
HABIT: Part of building a good habit is to identify how your information can be accessed and who would be the most likely people who can gain from accessing your confidential files. It’s like identifying the usual suspects in a criminal line-up. I’m not saying that the people you know cannot be trusted but it helps to be extra cautious. Your brother might not do something untrustworthy but his friends' might and if they have physical access to your computer then your files are at risk of being hacked.
Lock your computer with a good password. Use combinations of letters and numbers, upper case and lower case, and even use codes. Avoid using the usual birthdays, social security numbers, bank PINs, account numbers, favorite superheroes, favorite food, etc. Use unique passwords and make one up for every system that requires authentication. Do not use the same password in all your confidential files.
MYTH: MY FILES ARE SAFE
FACT: Do not forget about power surges and other technological problems. Even though the virus and hacker threats are real and sometimes the priority, people forget that sometimes power surges or breakdown of computer hardware can cause loss of data or have files corrupted and rendered unusable. It may not seem as critical as having your personal information exposed to the world, but the loss could be just as devastating to you personally.
HABIT: Use surge protectors to protect you from power surges and invest in a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) to allow you to back up or shut down your computer properly preventing possible corruption of files and applications.
And speaking of backing up, make it a habit to regularly back up your files just in case the unthinkable happens.
Cybersecurity is not at all that difficult. Once you have incorporated it into your system then it can be as normal as walking. All you need is to learn how you can make it work well and build a good habit to make cybersecurity consistent.
By doing this you have a better chance of keeping your confidential information protected from attacks, and keep your personal information safe.