Safer Computer Day
The world has been subject to fast-progressing digitalization in recent years. In schools, offices, universities or at work, the computer has become an indispensable element used to perform everyday duties. It can not be denied that extensive computerization has made life easier. Unfortunately, the popularity of computers also brought dangers. With their development, cybercriminals appeared, trying to take advantage of users’ inattentiveness in order to steal data from their devices. Today’s Safer Computer Day is an opportunity to remind you how important it is to protect your data.
Safe Computer Day is an action that began in Poland on October 12, 2004. It is an information and educational campaign for computer users and general Internet users. The aim of the campaign is to popularize knowledge about IT security and ways to prevent threats from the network. It is worth noting that the action was covered by the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland.¹ It should be noted that the noble goal of the was obscured by controversy at the beginning of the campaign. The free software environment had reservations that the action and discussion was only conducted around Microsoft’s Windows programs and tools, and other platforms such as Linux were completely omitted.
Data protection is extremely important. As a result of weak or no security, we may be exposed to huge losses. Imagine a situation in which someone stole data from a comapny computer. Such a situation exposes the company to huge financial and image losses. Similarly, in the case of hacking a personal computer – an unwanted person may gain access to our bank accounts, photos, etc. and using it against our will. Safer Computer Day is therefore an excellent opportunity to present several ways to protect your data from unwanted activities. Below are the most popular ones.
Full disk encryption²
Computer disk encryption is one of the basic steps we can take to protect our data. This is one of the most effective methods of data protection. It allows you to encrypt the entire disk, so that the data on it are kept confidential, and more importantly are protected in the event of theft of the computer. Disk encryption can be done with the help of specially designed programs, so anyone can easily secure their computer.
Backup is a data copy. It involves saving data in a different place than this which we use every day. This solution will allow you to restore the original content, for example from a disk, in the event of loss of data or damage them³. When using the data backup method, it is recommended to use the 3-2-1 rule, which looks like the following:
- always have three backups (original and two copies),
- using two different data storage technologies (pendrive, cloud, external drive),
- always keep one backup out of the house or company4
Browser protection against tracking (adblock, disconnect, DNT)5
If you use this method, you must change the browser settings yourself so that it works in privacy mode. It is also important to use the following rules to use Internet browsers: removal of unwanted plugins or extensions attached to downloaded files, use of pages with HTTPS script, or using different browsers for different types of activity.
Sticking the webcam on your computer
As it turns out, a hacker attack can also be carried out with the help of a webcam. What’s more, it is extremely simple, because usually camera security is very weak. Therefore, in order to protect against the use of it without our knowledge by third parties, it is recommended that the camera be sealed in a laptop. For better protection, you can also turn off the camera in the controller settings.
Protection against phishing by making people aware
Phishing is an attempt to extort sensitive information from users (eg personal data, passwords, card numbers). By phishing this information, hackers are able to obtain user’s financial data, access his online account, perform operations with this account and transfer money from it. How does the phishing process work? Hackers send messages to random e-mail addresses. In the text of such a message, the most common information is the need to log into the customer’s bank account along with a login link. The link redirects the user to a fake bank website that looks identical to the normal page. The difference is that in the address you will not find the prefix https. Client logging in on such site leaves the fraudsters their real login and password. Very often fraudsters ask to provide authorization codes, so that in the future they can send money from the user’s account to their own6. To protect yourself from phishing you must first of all be aware of the existence of such a threat. In addition, be careful of emails coming from unknown addresses and in no case enter into links from such emails.
In addition to the above-mentioned methods of data protection, it is also important to follow the following rules7 that will increase the safety of users in the network:
- system and software upgrade,
- login only from a trusted device and in a trusted network,
- giving your data only to trusted sites and only when it is necessary,
- using the Linux operating system,
- using strong passwords (uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters),
- using different passwords on different pages, do not use the same password,
- remember to log out (especially if you use a foreign device),
- do not download files from sites you do not know.
Unfortunately, during using the Internet, in addition to data loss, we are also exposed to various types of fraud. There are several channels through which fraudsters are able to swindle from users the information they want. They use social media for this (eg a fake profile in social media), e-mail (lottery method, “Nigerian method”, fake bank websites to log in) or telemarketing. Below, the particular methods listed earlier are briefly characterized:
- a fake profile in social media – in this particular case, the fraudster acts as an eg. American general, what making it easier for him to gain the trust of the victim. During a few months of online knowledge, the cheater gains the trust of the victim and then extorts money from her. In this method, very often are used the professions that are very trusted among people, thanks to making it easier for them to get a victim and extort money from it;
- lottery scams – the user gets information about winning the prize, but before he receives it, he must pay a certain sum;
- “Nigerian fraud” – the user receives information by e-mail from an alleged relative who asks for help in recovering a specific sum of money. In exchange for financial assistance in the case, of course, it offers a share of the recovered amount;
- fraud related to telemarketing;
- false job offers8.
The idea of creating a Safer Computer Day is unquestionably good – in the era of today’s possibilities offered by the Internet and wide use of the network, it is good to make users aware of the threats that await them. Especially today, it is worth considering your security online and using devices more wisely. The enormity of the opportunities offered to us by the Internet is unfortunately associated with a huge number of threats resulting from them. Therefore, we hope that today’s article will contribute to increasing your caution in the network, and the methods of data security presented by us will be used by you. It is worth remembering that the application of even the simplest security rules minimizes the risk of unpleasant situations that may occur while using the Internet.