How to Protect Your Computer from Spies and Hackers
The recent discovery of global hardware exploits in the forms of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities make computer security more pertinent and challenging than ever.
Computers can be powerful tools and robust entertainment devices for a family or a business.
However, they also represent repositories of information. Information that can be used for to gain power.
Securing the information on your devices can protect your interests. Learning to distinguish between the threats and maintain a security routine can sound daunting.
When it comes to the question of how to protect your computer, the solutions are simple but have to be followed thoroughly.
How To Protect Your Computer
The bottom line on preventing problems for your computer systems is about controlling access. Access, both physically and digitally, represents the threat you want to avoid.
Limiting access requires constant vigilance. Vigilance in the form of physical security and internal monitoring. Learn how you give out information every day that can be collected and used against you.
Let’s walk through the internal monitoring first. Then we’ll branch into how to stop computer spies from gaining information from you indirectly.
The trickier line of defense comes from within the computer itself. Computer software offers several types of defense and also several types of vulnerabilities.
Three kinds of software form the blanket defense for your computer: anti-virus, firewalls, and anti-spy. Each helps to prevent data from being taken or used against the machine.
Viruses in a computer can have a multitude of effects. Some, such as malware-style programs clog your processor and memory, slowing the performance of the machine.
Malware is often more nuisance than problem. There are some malware viruses that actually hijack your system to send fraudulent emails and further viruses to others. These become a bigger problem because they allow one system to spread malicious programs to others.
Antivirus software adds its own set of slowdown and performance burden, which makes them something of a nuisance to users. Like most safety precautions in life, the costs outweigh the risk of not having it.
Antivirus software knows how to check for viruses by comparing incoming programs to virus lists. This combination of blacklisted and whitelisted software protocols works just like any lock and key.
Blacklisted protocols get rejected outright and often quarantined. Depending on settings, these will be brought to your attention in a report.
Whitelisted software allows trusted sources to access the computer more thoroughly. This offsets some of the performance loss, but it creates an issue for access that we’ll go over in a minute.
Firewalls block communication into and out of the network. They have gates which allow access. Random messages getting sent to the computer will not be accepted.
The key goal of a firewall is to regulate access. The secondary effect is that the computer doesn’t have to use up resources sorting through unneeded and unwanted communications.
Firewalls can also be a nuisance when trying to access new information. People disable them for this reason. Much like with antivirus software, this security cost is worth it in comparison to the risk.
Knowing how computer hackers operate is important. Understand that they will use software to gather information once inside a system. Computer spies like to work from the inside as often as possible.
Programs such as keyloggers record passwords and financial information as it is entered. This information then gets relayed to the intruders.
Spyware often creates holes in other security programs that allow unimpeded access. A lot of ads or website pop-ups can indicate spyware at work.
The Issue of Updates
Each of these software types works to protect you from threats. However, threats are constantly evolving and tactics get refined.
In this digital arms-race, updates from manufacturers aim to keep the defensive software a step ahead of the offensive software.
Keeping systems up to date is critical to the success and function of these programs.
However, programs can suffer from bugs and unknown effects. This happens when manufacturers don’t test their patches properly. This can lead to the very slow down, again, that you want to avoid by having strong computer protection.
Updates are a usually a good thing. At other times you may need to rollback a buggy update.
Knowing how to do this can be the difference between keeping your business running and losing precious work hours.
Strong and varied passwords keep your system safe from direct access. Software protects you from ongoing attacks. A strong password protects you from individualized attacks.
Using the same password for multiple sites and purposes may be easy to remember, but it creates a massive vulnerability for you.
Common passwords, such as the names of household pets, relatives, or common power terms all make for poor choices. The current standard includes letters and numbers to keep brute force attacks from working.
A brute force attack will try random letters over and over until it succeeds. The addition of numbers forces such programs to work much harder.
The first and last line of defense for your computer comes from within. Web spies employ tactics to get you to give them your information outright.
Innocuous seeming information can be used to get at larger information. A random call asking to verify a birthdate may give a phisher information to guess at passwords or to access second chance password systems.
A person asking to be a part of an email may use that access to gain contact information. They can then find other victims and can even promote correspondence as if they know you.
Always verify agents asking for your information.
With enough access, a web spy may even surveil your home. To prevent home intrusion attacks, seek out services that know how to scan for electronic bugs and surveillance.
When it comes to how to protect your computer, understanding access makes the difference.
Like so many other areas of life, knowledge is power.
If you want to find out more information on this and other topics, check out our tips and tricks blog for interesting facts. Don’t start protecting yourself tomorrow. Get started now.