• Challenging Common Computer Myths

    Read time (bolded): 5 minutes
    Read Time (comprehensive): 15 minutes

    Over the years, online security has become paramount for anyone with a computer and a way onto the web. To hold back the tide of maliciousness which permeates the Internet, there are a number of things that we can use to protect ourselves:

    • Firewall
    • Anti-virus software
    • Common sense

    A firewall is a part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting authorized communications. It’s installed on a network as a way to inhibit intruders while still allowing you to enjoy freedom to explore the web.

    Anti-virus software prevents, detects and removes malware such as computer viruses, worms and trojan horses. There are many suites of sophisticated antivirus software on the market – look at BitDefender, Kaspersky, Webroot and Symantec antivirus software packages for the best, top-of-the-line protection one can get. As hackers refine the methods in which they write viruses, so too does antivirus software evolve to stay abreast of the latest in computer-crippling malware.

    However, common sense is the most important – proceeding with caution on the web is largely a matter of common sense and taking security seriously.

    With that out of the way, let’s discuss some common misconceptions about network security:

    • Is my anti-virus software 100% effective?
    • While this element is essential and important, nothing can protect you 100% from hacker attacks except a combination and intelligent use of the three elements discussed above.

    • Once antivirus software is installed on my computer, I don’t have to worry anymore – I can download whatever I want and I’ll still be safe, right?
    • Woah, not so fast cowboy. Best practices for surfing the web still apply, and software vendors should consistently provide you with updates to their security – make sure you stay in the know!

    • But, I don’t have any money! What would a hacker want to steal from me?
    • Hackers are after more than your bank account information – once they gain access to your computer via a virus or rootkit (a rootkit is a piece of malware that seeks to gain administrative control over your computer), they can use any information they can find on your computer – your address, phone number, social security number – to steal more than money… they can steal your identity! Also, a rootkit can enable a hacker to make attacks on others, from your computer.

    These are just some of the most common misconceptions about network security. It’s not an issue to be taken lightly, and it certainly pays off to know as much as you can about how to keep your data safe! Becoming a victim of identity theft is as easy as letting your common sense lapse, or letting your guard down.

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