Computer Security

Ranting About Computer Security

Security. Wow. This is a diverse topic. So, in the spirit of this being a rant, I’ll simply rant about security for a while.

Where to begin…

Hackers.

We’ve all seen the stories on the news, about “hackers” breaking into bank accounts, “hackers” stealing passwords, “hackers” stalking people and stealing their identities. We’re told that hackers are these evil individuals who just want to wreak havoc, steal things and hurt people. Not true.

You don’t really need to worry about hackers randomly attacking your computer and stealing your identity. It doesn’t work like that.

The only thing you need to do to stop people stealing data like bank and credit card numbers is to not be stupid. Most “hackers” get your account numbers via a method known in the computing world as phishing. Many of us have heard that, in ads about anti virus software and in letters from banks, but what exactly is phishing? Say it.

It sounds an awful lot like “fishing”, which is almost exactly what it is. They throw down a line and see who bites. For example, they might send out an email to a bunch of email addresses they acquired pretending to be a bank asking for your bank details.

They might send out a million emails, and only thirty people are stupid enough to bite. Regardless, if they get the right details from these thirty people, and are then able to steal $20,000 from each one, that’s $600,000 right there already. Of course, it’s not as simple as all that, but that’s the general gist of how it works.

And for the record, phishers aren’t hackers. Phishing doesn’t require any sort of hacking, just cunning and convincing.

How about viruses?

Here’s how you go about preventing viruses and other malware from infecting your system:

Step one: Get a decent anti-virus.

Step two: Don’t be stupid.

OK, what about PC security? I’m talking physical, stopping people going on your computer and copying files, changing things, that sort of stuff.

Well, you can password protect your computer for on start up, so that someone can’t just come to your computer, turn it on and do what they want, you can lock it when you leave it, meaning people have to type in a password when they want to use it and it’s already on. Or, you can be a bit more complex.

Some laptops these days (and for several years, actually) have fingerprinting, biometric software installed, meaning you have to scan your finger to gain access.

There’s also such thing as facial recognition these days. It’s not as simple as one might think, and is still in it’s infancy, but it’s a fantastic software. It’ll scan your face from the webcam, and if it’s someone who’s had their “biometric profile” put into the software, the computer will unlock.

About the author

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Toby Seitz

Toby is the Editor in Chief at Sidelayer Security. He is a technology and science writer with an accreditation in psychology and journalism. For the most part he covers the internet and computer security topics.

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