Computer security involves the security measures applied to devices such as home computers, laptops, network computers and mobile devices. The subject includes all practices that are intended to protect software and hardware from unauthorized access and destruction. The term "cyber security" bring to mind security of software and the Internet, however, the physical protection of computers may involve the automatic disabling of a computer to work normally if a breach occurs, and can be the most important part of computer security since physical access to a computer could mean full access to both data and equipment.
Physical Protection of a Computer
Enable a password - Enable password protection on your computer. Make sure you choose your own password instead of using the default. Passwords should contain letters, numbers and special characters. Change your password every 6-8 months and do not write it down in a place where someone can find it.
Lock Your Screensaver - If you have multiple computers in your IT department, you should realize the possibility of an employee leaving the computer unattended for long periods of time. By locking the screensaver, you force the user to re-enter their password over again, since the screensaver will come back on after only a few minutes of non-use.
Password Protect Your BIOS - By password protecting your BIOS, you add an another level of protection to your computer. In cases of theft, your computer secrets are safe and you stop a thief’s efforts to demonstrate the computer's performance to an interested buyer. Protecting your BIOS with a password is not full proof, and you should do a little research to find out the disadvantages. To find out whether protecting your BIOS is worth your time and effort, click here.
Set Permissions on Files and Folders - You can password protect important files and folders on your computer by adjusting permission settings. By adjusting the permissions settings on a folder, you can grant or deny access to specific users on your network. You can also set up password protection on your network attached storage and other drives shared over the network on your computers.
Hide Your Files - If you just want to stash some files away from prying eyes, then using your computer's built-in features will allow an easy way for you to do it. This method offers only minimal security benefits, but it will make your files invisible to the point where they are not easily found by someone who stumbles across them.
Encrypt Files - If you really want to get serious about file security, you need to encrypt them. This will slow down access to those files a little, but it's definitely the best way to hide them away from prying eyes. There are many ways to encrypt your files, but the easiest method is to create an encrypted a ZIP file.
Prevent Users From Installing Software - By using software restriction policies, you can protect against unauthorized software installation. Administrators can use a policy driven mechanism for identifying software programs running on computers in a domain, and controls the ability of those programs to execute.
Lock'em Up - Common sense procedures should include locking doors and preventing access to computer rooms from unauthorized visitors.
There has been a growing concern from users of the Internet, and Internet companies, about the lack of protection for personal information stored in a computer. The Internet is a boundless and vast medium that is proving to be profitable ground for those who seek private information about others for financial gain. There are also those who simply want to cause damage and disruption for reasons that may include revenge, personal satisfaction, disabling websites and disrupting networks. Information can be accessed anywhere in the world at any time of the day, making the Internet's reach both exciting and treacherous. As a result, the Internet has become an appealing place for cyber criminals to obtain identifying data, steal financial assets, install malicious programs and more.
Viruses - A computer virus attaches itself to a file or program enabling it to infect each computer as it travels. Viruses range in severity, as some may only act as a slight nuisance, while other can cause damage to software, hardware and files. Viruses function as executable files, so it sits silently waiting until the user opens the program. A virus cannot spread without the user doing something such as running the program, and running it over again to keep it spreading. Because a virus is spread by the user, the virus continues to spread by sharing infected files or sending emails with viruses as attachments.
Worms - Worms are similar to viruses, however, a worm has the ability to travel without the user doing anything. A worm is designed to travel and spread by using the design features of the computer itself, thus allowing it to spread unassisted. A worm also has another available feature in its arsenal: instead of spreading out as just one worm, it can send out hundreds of copies of itself and create devastating effects. Due to the highly effective nature of a worm to self-replicate, the end result is that the worm consumes so much memory that a network server will stop responding.
Trojan - A Trojan is a type of malware that looks like a legitimate and harmless software program. However, once installed, a Trojan will show it's true colors by deleting data, creating pop-ups, changing desktops, installing more malware, key logging and more. Trojans do not have the ability to replicate themselves like viruses but they can lead to viruses being installed later since they allow the computer to be controlled by the Trojan creator. It is also possible for other crackers to control the compromised computer by searching for computers on a network using a port scanner and finding ones that have already been infected by the Trojan. Trojans have gained popularity during recent years.
Bots - Bots can be good or bad. A malicious bot is self-propagating malware designed o infect a host and connect back to a central server that act as a command and control center for an entire network of compromised devices, or "botnet." With a botnet, attackers can launch remote-control massive-style attacks.
Disable Java - Java has had a long series of security holes. It's often not patched very quickly and in fact, the Java plugin is still vulnerable today. Java seems to spend a lot of it's time with unpatched security holes, waiting to be exploited. Very few websites use the Java plugin because it's a relic most people can do without.
It's essential that you keep your computer current with the latest updates and antivirus tools, stay informed about recent threats, and follow basic rules when you surf the Internet, download files, and open attachments. Ensure that your firewall is turned "ON." A firewall protects you from malicious software and computer hackers. It acts as a layer of protection between your computer and the Internet. A computer without a firewall, or one with a firewall that is turned "OFF" is like a door that is wide open to any attack from the World Wide Web.
Some people think they are technically smart enough to avoid the threat of computer viruses and choose to surf the Internet without the help of antivirus software. However, this could be a bad decision because even the most knowledgeable web surfers can come across programs that they were not aware of, causing damage to a computer hard drive or network. Some viruses can implant themselves into a specific location on your computer, working silently. The user may not ever find out, and even if it is discovered, the damage caused may be irreparable.
There are many reputable antivirus programs to choose from, and there are also some free ones.