Cyber Security, impact to the user and cost?

How often do you read emails or articles depicting the threats directed at users of emails or the Internet?  Figuratively speaking the statistics are over whelming, the following links depict the size of the ‘Risk’ and it’s growing!!:

I’m not making reference to major companies or SME’s, but to everyday users, like you and me.  We don’t have budgets set aside to address the threats or risk mitigation.  Meeting our monthly or even weekly budgets are an overwhelming constraint.

But as users we need to have a framework in place, one which is not crippling but manageable.  We’re more than aware of the risks which are placed before us, yet we seek remediation.  Therefore in this article, I wish to identify, tools that can be used in order to give peace of mind and appreciation, that there is no such thing a ‘100%’ secure.

What will be an eye opener, is that the majority of tools are free and those which aren’t, I’ve taken a realistic approach, which by purchasing will cost no more than a £1.73 per week or 25p per day, you and your family are worth it.

Security is about having a layered approach in place for remediation, which you the user are satisfied with.  Ultimately you wish to protect your finances, photographs and what you consider are your sensitive documents.

When implementing your security, it’s a discipline which in itself is a ‘continuum’.

It’s worthy to ‘mind map’ your security posture, risk assess from another perspective.  Identify what your requirements are, and how they can be addressed.  The ‘KISS’ principle is useful by keeping it simple and not too complex.

How your ‘tool box’ can stack up

Probably the primary tool we all need is to have antivirus, here I have looked at the following products, each with varying strengths and weaknesses, but it’s your call to decide which is right for you.  The products are:

  • AVG, the following link gives an indication of what’s free and which have an associated cost.
  • Norton, the following link allows you to view the options of Norton Security, with additional links about the products.
  • Trend Micro, the following link allows you to interrogate the range of Trend products, with overviews for comparison.
  • Kaspersky, the following link gives you full overview of their products and depth of functionality.
  • MacAfee, the following link provides you with a comprehensive overview for you to choose from.

As you will see, there is only one ‘free’ option above (free trials of others are available, of course), but what’s important here is what are your requirements, and what budget do you have, again this is your decision.

Subject to what decision you make, it is interesting to note that the following products make a ‘free’ house call.  The respective product will install itself, subject to accepting the terms and conditions. I find, doing this, gives an impartial overview that correlates that your computer is in good order. But if something was wrong, it’s up to you to take remediation (hopefully all will be in order). However, once installed, sit back and it runs itself in the background.  I do suggest that you ensure that this is carried out on a regular basis, if only to give you the peace of mind. They are:

External Removable Hard Drives (RHD)

When assessing all your data, you may wish to review the categories of all your data, accordingly you could have everything encrypted.

One aspect I refer to here is the use of Removable Hard Drives (RHD), by housing all your data on the RHD, your laptop or computer then becomes your ‘Tool’. In essence, you are ensuring that your valuable data is housed ‘externally’ of your computing power.  An additional enhancement you may wish to consider is using an encrypted RHD, giving an extra layer of security.  Once more it’s your decision.

Search the Internet for the product you prefer, though a driving factor will be your budget, maybe something for the future!

Security tools

How strong is your password, well you can verify this by using this tool, Password Checker.  Remember, never share your password.

Our passwords could be beyond a practicable task to handle, by using a ‘Master’ password, which means you only need to remember just one password, this tool Keepass enables this.  Another tool you may wish to consider is Password Safe.

We all delete documents on our computers by using the ‘Bin’, by using this File Shredder it more than deletes the image, it does a proper job.

Option

Norton Utilities is explained as follows:

Benefits

  • Fixes typical PC problems to enable keeping your computer operating trouble free and fast and trouble-free
    • Finds and and then fixes problems in Microsoft Windows to stop PC from freezing, getting slow and crashes.
    • Scans your hard drive for potential errors that can cause it to crash.
    • Aids you in rescuing files being damaged or deleted accidentally that may possible be retrievable still on your HDD (hard disk drive).
  • Promises to make your PC run like a new one again by bossting its performance
    • Enables you to turn off the services and programs your Windows tend to loads automatically at startup, hence, making your your PC lighter and ultimately running faster.
    • Safely defragment feature, repairs as well as optimizes your operating system (Windows) registry to enable programs load much faster and boost PC performance as a whole.
    • Frees up your PC memory, making it possible for you to run more computer programs simultaneously without having to worry about crashes or slow downs.
  • Helps your hard drive to store more stuff and and run faster by cleaning it up

    • Reorganizes (optimizes) the files that have been scattered through your hard drive, enabling your PC find those files faster.
    • Finds all of the duplicate files for you, and of course, you easily can remove them afterward.
    • Removes unused programs.
  • Keeps your activity private online and helps protect your personal information to not get stolen
    • Erases all your web activities record permanently, so no one couldn’t see whatever you do while online.
    • Enables you permanently erase all unwanted and old personal Stuff, making it impossible for others to access or retrieve it ever.

Core Features

  • Duplicate File Finder – Finds all the duplicate files spread across your PC’s hard, so that you could remove them all and free additional disk space up for more stuff of yours.
  • System Dashboard – Presents you step by step insights on how you can get your device run like a new one again.
  • Application Uninstaller – Help you remove the unwanted programs that you don’t want to keep.
  • Speed Disk™ – It defragments (Brings together) and reorganizes (in other words optimizes) the data and files that have been scattered all through your computer hard drive.
  • Disk Doctor – Help you identify the problems that could cause your hard drive to crash, by scanning it for you.
  • Disk Cleaner – Erases all of your web activities and computer records in an attempt to thoroughly shield your privacy.
  • Registry Cleaner – Aids in eliminating Registry problems in Windows that can possibly slow your PC down, trigger some error messages or cause Windows to get crashed.
  • Registry Defragmenter – Free spaces, corrupt files and gaps within Windows registry are removed to free some system memory up to make start up of your PC faster. It also compacts the Windows registry.
  • Registry Restore – You can undo any changes made to the registry because it makes a registry backup for you every time.
  • Startup Manager – It lets you select what programs should automatically be loaded as Windows starts, which can help free some memory up alongside improving startup time of your PC.
  • Service Manager – Makes startup time faster and reclaims your system memory via enabling you to turn the unneeded computer applications off (which is known as Windows services, too) that typically runs in the Windows background.
  • UnErase™ Wizard – Accidentally deleted files can be retrieved with this feature.
  • Smart Updates – Automatically and silently installs the product upgrades for users.

Cost is just below £40, allied to the antivirus software, means you’re protection is circa £90, equates to £1.73 per week or even 25p per day.  These I do suggest are affordable, even on the tightest of budgets, in order to protect you and your family.

Best practices

The following best practices are covered for your benefit:

  • Firewalls – always ensure your ‘firewall’ is active, a key measure in your security posture.
  • WiFi – secured – if you are using WiFi, make sure it’s ‘secured’, if need be, seek advice for its configuration.
  • IBM Trusteer – some banks offer, at no cost, the Trusteer Rapport, or you may wish to investigate it yourself.  It will provide you with:

Trusteer Rapport of IBM Security offers:

  • Multilayered protection for securing user devices against the malware infections and possible phishing attacks.
  • Protection of web browser sessions for preventing customer transactions’ tampering.
  • Defense against identity fraud for safeguarding the personal information of users.
  • Prevention of malware infections alongside the removal of already existing malware for providing a safer Internet banking experience to customers on board.
  • Protection against phishing related to payment card data and login credentials to preserve the private information.
    Software updates – install updates always whenever prompted, they are important piece of the your system’s configuration puzzle. Don’t let updates get building up prior to their installation.
  • Internet HTTPS – TLS / SSL – when some visits a site, this tells whether the site being visited (or even the one intend to be visit) is secure. A padlock (as a symbol) is going to be visible within the browser bar for secure sites.
  • Phishing emails, unknown senders – your delete key – be the lookout always for this, in case of any uncertainty use ‘delete key’.
  • Recommended settings – settings being recommended by Norton or Microsoft.  Set them as a default always, unless you really are experienced in the field.
  • Do not tamper if you are not aware – don’t ever play with the settings as you possibly could do un-told damage, hence, if in any doubt – better ask for the help.
  • Protection of children as well as young teens, since they typically won’t be able to see dangers – now this is of paramount importance, more likely as educating the family.

Links

These links are very beneficial:

Conclusion

There are a myriad of sites on the Internet for advice and guidance.  I trust this information is useful for you, remember, security is a continuum, so you have to discipline yourself and protect you, your family and your documents.

Top/Featured Image: By Chris Amelung / Flickr

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Cyber Security, impact to the user and cost?

by Howard Smith time to read: 7 min
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