There’s a lot of hype about cyber security. Is it really as bad as everyone says? Yes—but only if you’re unprepared. Millions of computers are infected with viruses, and many of those computers are used by hackers to send spam, launch phising scams, and attack popular Internet sites.
Is Your Computer Running Slow?
If your computer suddenly started running slower than normal, it could be infected with one or more dangerous viruses. Viruses aren’t only dangerous to your computer; they can be dangerous to you.
The police occasionally arrest people for hosting child pornography on their computer only to discover, sometimes months later, that the computer was really infected with a virus which let hackers use it as a child pornography server.
Cyber safety can save you from an embarrassing situation such as explaining to everyone you why your photo appears in the newspaper labeled as an accused child pornographer.
Common Problems From Poor Cyber Security
All of these take a steady toll on your computer productivity and can cost you dozens or hundreds of hours a year. Getting these problems fixed often requires taking your computer to a repair shop and paying hundreds of dollars to have the malware removed.
How To Use Cyber Safety To Protect Yourself
You need to defend yourself on the internet and basic cyber safety comes down to two simple steps:
1. Activate your computer’s firewall.
2. Install anti-virus software and keep it updated.
Firewalls protect your computer from viruses and hackers who are trying to access your computer remotely. These hackers are out there scanning constantly for unprotected computers. (One study showed that every computer on the Internet is scanned by hackers every two minutes looking for vulnerabilities.)
Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses hidden in files you download to your computer from Internet sites or through your email. These viruses wait for the chance to install themselves on your computer and then bury themselves in core parts of Windows so you can’t easily remove them.
Cyber Security In The Future
It used to be that hackers were goofballs or small-minded thieves, but today we all have to worry about cyber terrorism, a much more serious cyber safety threat.
Cyber terrorists can use your virus-infected computer to attack government and corporate targets in an attempt to make people’s lives miserable. Although the government rarely blames the people whose computers were infected, knowing that your computer was used in cyber terrorism can’t be a good feeling.
As cyber terrorists and hackers of all types become more advanced, they may begin to use your computer to launch more insidious attacks through your email, social media accounts, and other online services—staining your good online reputation. The only way to stop them is good personal cyber security.