Byte Me Article 133 – Protect your closest relationships

Protect Your Closest Relationships

Computers are your own personal confidant – you often trust them with your deepest and most important secrets as well as the information that is most vital to your business or your very existence!  You trust them with personal emails to friends and loved ones, with important letters to solicitors, with financial information in accounting packages, with logon information to secure websites, with database information for clients, with your own identify information and even banking information.

So are they ever going to tell anyone about your secrets?  Well, hell yes they are – if they are not secure!  Would you write love letters or jot down banking passwords on pieces of scribble paper and leave them lying around your house?  Furthermore would you cast these viral scribbles out into the street for anyone to find?  Of course you wouldn’t – you can link an immediate threat to this type of behaviour.  What many fail to see are the links between putting information into their computers and the possibility of others getting hold of that very info.

Computer security threats can come from within the confines of your house or office or, thanks to the Internet, from sources that are external to where the computer is housed – even from as remote as other countries.  Firstly let’s deal with from within.  If you do not have a password on your PC then, are you sure of who will be able to access it?  If someone can walk up to your PC, turn it on and gain access to your desktop without a password, then they can gain access to everything you have on that PC.  Perhaps you live alone and don’t think there is any risk here – so have you thought about house sitters when you are on holiday, a nephew that will stay with you for a week over Easter or even a tradesperson who has to fix something in your house while you are at work?

2013-07-13 Byte Me Article 133 - Keeping PC's Secure

In a business situation, if you don’t have a proper ‘secure’ network with a dedicated Domain Controller then you also need to consider who could be sitting in front of your PC at night or while you are away as well as the ability of other users on the network to view your files from their own PC at any time they choose.

Secondly if we look at external threats via the Internet then we need to consider a whole range of threats.  There are small time “backyard’ hackers that send you fishing emails looking for credit card or banking details or even the prank callers that say they are from Microsoft or Telstra and that they need access to your PC to remove viruses.  If you are in a company and do ‘larger’ banking transactions then you also need to consider the ‘expert’ hackers.  Consider the following scenario.

If you run ‘unsecure’ remote control software, such as VNC viewer then your PC could easily become compromised.  If an external entity gains access to your PC then they can look through your Sent items list in your emails.  They may then dig out passport or licence details or any manner of identify information.  They would also place a key logger onto your PC and monitor your next Internet banking session.  Presto – they have everything they need to rob your company blind and stand a fair chance of getting away with it.

You treat your PC like your own personal confidant, but all relationships need maintenance.  If it is a personal PC then do all of the Windows updates, run a good anti-virus, put a password on your profile, be cautious about emails from an unknown source and don’t believe too good to be true Internet pop-ups.  If you run a business then don’t pretend to think that you can keep up with the pace of IT and also run the business effectively – get a good IT company to look after your network and treat network security with the importance it deserves. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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