Security for Beginners
security is a lot less complex than it sounds.
The reason that so many people are taken
advantage of by hackers every year is that they
don’t adopt basic safe practices. Consider the
inconsistency in this. In many cases, users will
bike to a coffee shop, slap an $80 lock on a
$100 bike and then leave their $1,000 laptop
laying wide open on the table while they use the
restroom or order a beverage. They’d never
announce their credit card or social security
number to a crowd of strangers, but they’ll
transmit it over a network that anyone with a
freeware packet sniffer can mine for such data.
There are two main
areas to concern yourself with where laptop
security is concerned: physical and digital.
Users, to put it plainly, are usually positively
awful when it comes to physical laptop security.
Laptop cable locks, which prevent the laptop
from being opened or absconded with, depending
upon the design, are very rarely seen.
Fingerprint scanners are even rarer. There is
one major enemy of laptop security in the
physical sense of the term that seems to elude
most users: your backpack.
As is mentioned in
an article at ScamBusters.org, many users tend
to walk around with a bag that’s so obviously
made for a computer that it may as well say
“Computer” on the side. The backpacks carried
around by students are particularly obvious
examples. You may want to consider getting a
nondescript bag instead of an expensive computer
bag. You can get an internal sleeve that you can
protect the computer in and load the computer
and your other items into a backpack that’s not
so obvious. For instance, military surplus bags
are tough, long-lasting and give away nothing
about their contents. If you’re walking in front
of a thief with a computer backpack on, you may
as well have a thousand dollars in it, and they
Whenever you’re in
a public place, there may be a hacker somewhere
near you. At least, that’s how the FBI states
it, and they tend to have good information about
such things. A hacker doesn’t have to be a
master programmer with incredible skills. They
work like any other predator in that they’re not
looking to break into a system: They’re looking
for a system that’s wide open to them. The less
effort, the better.
You’ll want a
firewall, at the very least, and anti-virus
software on your computer. You’ll also want to
turn off any network services you don’t use.
These are oftentimes used as exploits by
hackers. When you’re not actively using a public
wireless network, turn off your wireless card.
The hacker, if they’re after you, will wait
until you’re not looking at your computer to
launch a major attack, in most cases. This is
because it prevents you from noticing a slowdown
in performance and, of course, because you have
no idea what’s going on while they’re copying
your files, reading your email or whatever else.
security is concerned, be sure that you always
know where your computer is. If you’re in
public, set your screen saver to turn on after a
minute of the computer remaining idle and put a
password on the screen saver. Remember that
passwords should be nonsensical combinations of
numbers and letters. Sure, you can use your
kid’s birthday or your name, but whoever’s
hacking your machine may have already gotten
both out of your email and files while you
weren’t paying attention to your live, networked
and very vulnerable laptop computer.