How often do you think about security?
I’d hazard a guess that if you are a non-techy then you will happily go out, buy a computer and surf away without a thought or care as to the dangers you are opening yourself too. So what are, in my opinion, the top 5 most common ways we as users don’t care about enough?
1. Password Strength.
I and others have said many, many times that security starts with a good password. However it doesn’t end there. Again I’ll hazard a guess (and one based on personal observation let alone stats) that you will use the same password or minor variations on it to secure your access to all sorts of things. Using strong** passwords is just too much effort – but when your online life gets taken over you’ll regret those easy passwords.
** What do I mean by strong? A password that involves any non-language specific word AND upper & lower case characters AND numerals AND punctuation AND is at least 10 characters long. And don’t tell me they are too hard to remember as there are many tools out there to help you store and generate them. Then all you need to recall is one strong password.
2. Virus / Spam / Adware / Spyware.
I’m lumping these three together as they can all lead to the same ultimate end – loss of data, loss of access, loss of money. How do these get on to your system – well that’s a topic for another time but a good Anti-Virus / Anti-Spam product or products that are kept up to date and used is a must.
3. Social Engineering.
Again this is more common than folks think. How free are we with information that our banks, etc use to “verify” who we are? Last time I phoned my bank, aside from needing my account number and my personal password (see no.1) they probably asked me two questions like my postcode and my mother’s maiden name. Both these are so easily available as to be laughable.
No, not your sending of an email but the phishing, pharming, spoofing, etc emails that you probably receive on a regular basis. How many times have you heard a security expert say not to click an unknown link and then you’ve gone and done just that? What about that random eMail from a friend with a link? The proper approach here is to trust nothing and nobody unless you specifically requested it.
5. Unpatched Software.
I can hear *nix (and that includes Mac) users sniggering. However security holes are found all the time. Not just operating systems but the stuff we use probably daily like our browsers, java, flash, etc.
Now these 5 are not an exhaustive list and I’ve very much glossed over each of them and that was deliberate. The point of this brief post is to get you thinking. Get you considering. If it makes you change your habits then great but if equally you want to know more then please just ask or Google it.