Posted by admin on 21st July 2013

Security

Computer security is often in the news. It worries people that their information is not safe and that big companies like Sony or banks – and even the government – can lose information or be hacked. Lots of misconceptions are still around over what hacking is and how we can keep our computers secure.

Passwords

Your first line of defense is a good password. Using something easy to guess like a name or a word is a really bad idea. Using at least 8 characters including UPPER, lower case, numbers and punctuation is the best. Having different passwords from different sites will stop people working one out and having access to all your data.

Password Security
cat Very Weak
blackcat Medium
BL4ckCa7 Strong
mS$B4(3JV8$7nbF> Extremely Strong

 

Networks

Networks make security a much bigger problem. It’s no longer good enough to make sure no one else logs in at your desk, if you are on a network, anyone else connected to the network could access your computer and try to log in. A good password is a start, but more is needed.

A firewall is a piece of software (or for large businesses, hardware) that is designed to check who connects to your computer and from where. It will block access from computers that it believes should not have access. A firewall is one of the first things you should install on a Windows PC and you will be reminded you that you need one.

Update software installs new versions of your software. New versions are released when bugs or errors are found in software. These bugs can be exploited by hackers to gain access to your computer, updated software will make this more difficult for them.

virus4Viruses & Malware

There are many types of malicious software (also called malware) – programs that are designed to do something bad on your computer, something that you would not want to happen. This might be as simple as putting extra adverts on your screen to much more dangerous and difficult to fix problems.

One of these types of dangerous software are known as viruses. A virus is a program that infects your computer and sends out many copies of itself to infect more computers – exactly like a biological virus infecting people. There are viruses called Trojan Horses, which disguise themselves as something good but turn out to  be dangerous (just like the giant horse the Greek army tricked the Trojans with in the Illiad). A worm is a virus that can infect your computer without you doing anything at all, exploiting a flaw or error in a program like your web browser or email client.

Antivirus software detects and removes viruses from your computer. A virus could act as a back-door for a hacker to gain access to your computer, so making sure there are no viruses is important.

Other types of malware include spyware – software that tracks what you go on on the web, perhaps to give you extra adverts, or worse, to capture login and password details to steal your identity. Another type will hijack your computer to use it for illegal or unethical purposes such as sending spam email or hosting illegal websites or even trying to take down other computers under the control of hackers.

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