Computer Security Day is November 30

Image: techflier.com creative commons

One of my Go -To guys on online security is Dan Feldman of DBA Designs. Poor guy, he probably gets 3 screen shot messages a month from me.. WHAT IS THIS, I THINK WE HAVE BEEN HACKED…! He coached me to change my passwords at least 3 times a year if not more. He has calmed me down, when we have been hacked and our webserver(s) hacked. He’s the man.

For Computer Security Day, I asked him to do post to remind us, how important it is to secure and back up your computer. If you can believe this more than 200 security breaches have been reported in USA hospitals in the last seven years.

We live in an ever more digital world. We interact online through social media more than ever before. We search for restaurants online. We shop online. We research products and stores online. We date online. We communicate online. We bank online. We pay our bills online. We all know this, and so do criminals.

The penalty for robbing a bank with a weapon is up to 25 years in prison. The penalty for identity theft is up to 5 years in prison. Robbing a bank with a gun risks you being shot. Robbing a bank account online risks having to put on a bathrobe.

Cybercrime is big business and can be done from anywhere in the world without risk of life or limb. Cybercrime today can be anything from simple spamming you and tens of thousands more with unwanted ads and pop-ups, to recording ever keystroke of your computer to access your passwords and bank accounts, to locking up and remotely encrypting your computer with a demand for ransom paid through something untraceable like Bitcoin.

While no digital device is 100% safe from the bad guys (and gals), you can take a number of preventative measures to help protect yourself, your family, and your business from digital disaster. Let’s explore a few:

  • Passwords. Never use simple easy to guess passwords like “12345” or “password”. You are begging to be hacked. Use a different password for each website and account, or at least a handful of different passwords to protect a bigger percentage of your accounts. Use a password management program like Dashlane or LastPass to remember your passwords for you and don’t store them in your browser. Change your passwords on a regular basis. For goodness sake lock your phone with a password too!
  • Backups. With cloud services and remote drives, there is no excuse anymore not to have a back-up of all your information. The data drive of my work computer is in a RAID, which means all information is written to two hard drives that mirror each other. If one fails, the other still works. That same data is backed up to a remote drive and a cloud service off in the ether as well.  I could come to work tomorrow and find a hole in the ground (hopefully not) and my data is saved for me to pick up pretty much where I left off.
  • Anti Virus. How anyone can have a computer in this day and age and not be running a valid anti-virus, anti-malware system is beyond me. The wrong click to an unexpected email or the wrong click to the wrong website can spell disaster for your computer. Having a good anti-virus program running won’t protect you against everything, but like human vaccinations, will help keep most problems at bay.

There are of course lots and lots of other things you can do from making sure your wireless network is secured to updating your programs and operating systems they become available, but the 3 things listed above should help all of us be safer and happier with our computing and our mobile phones.

 

Daniel Feldman, is CEO of dba designs & communications an optical design and marketing firm specializing in improving eye care practices and a co-founder to the Visionaries Group,

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