Haven’t given much thought to your computer’s safety? Starting it today would be just perfect — it’s Computer Security Day!
Computers are seldom inspected until they slow down or break down. Browsing behaviour is not checked until attacks by online fraudsters. The strength of password security is never reviewed until accounts are hacked. Computer Security Day (November 30) warns against this complacency: computers and information are fragile and they need protection.
A website dedicated to the day — www.computersecurityday.org — lists common issues that are consistently ignored by computer users, which include security, social engineering and physical security of information resources and assets.
Kiruba Shankar — CEO of Business Blogging, director of web development company F5ive Technologies and co-founder of The Knowledge Foundation — engages with information technology in many ways, and here he addresses some of these issues.
Viruses and passwords: “Most individual computer owners are reluctant to invest in anti-virus software. They tend to manage with the default anti-virus software that comes with the computer — which is fine as long as they update it.
Rampaging viruses is a problem, but ignorance about the rules of being online is more dangerous. It’s not uncommon to find people using the same password for myriad accounts and websites. By doing so, they are making themselves vulnerable to intruders.”
Computer naivety: “During a visit to a browsing centre, I noticed a programme called ‘Keyword Locker’ on a computer.
It has the ability to capture users’ passwords and store them on the system.
People, especially girls, are advised to look around for cameras when they step into change rooms in public spaces. Do people take a minute to look for intrusive malware when they use computers open to the public?”
Social engineering: “Social engineering is about how people project themselves to the world.
Is someone who announces on a social networking site that his entire family is off to Kuala Lumpur for a long holiday, being discreet?
He has added friends without any discrimination and does he really know all the people that read the post?
With smart phones and 3G connectivity, it is easy to make such running commentaries, minute by minute, and share information that you are better off keeping to yourself.”
Physical protection of information: “Most people don’t back up their data. Considering storing data has never been easier, this slackness is odd.
People can put their data in a cloud or store them in other resources. These aids come cheap.”
(For more information, visit ideas for activities on Computer Security, visit www.computersecurityday.org and For news relating to breach of information security and ways to protect information and computers, go to www.securityawareness.com)