Thursday, October 01, 2009

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

Did you know that October is Cyber Security Awareness Month? New computer threats happen daily. This month serves as a good reminder for us to review our computer security programs.

To undertand cyber security it helps to understand a few basic terms. These include phishing, virus protection and firewalls.

Phishing is the attempt of a criminal to get their hands on your personal information. Phishing attempts usually happen through the receipt of a bogus email message. Opening the email attachment is enough to trigger a virus to run on your computer. This virus can log your keystrokes and send them back to the person who originally sent the bad email.

The problem is that the email won't go directly to the criminal but through an endless sea of twists, turns and deceptive accounts before it arrives at the destination. This makes it almost impossible to track down the creators of these programs.

The best cyber security protection is to never open any email attachment from anyone you aren't sure about. Even if you are sure about the person who sent it never open an email that sounds strange to your or is peppered with misspellings and bad grammar. Those are two signs that the email may be forged. Simply turn it over to your spam filter and let it do the work.

Maintaining virus protection on you computer is a must for good cyber security. There are free programs that are available from reputable sites such as C-Net. Virus protection keeps programs from fraudulent emails from being able to open and run. Think of these programs as vaccinations for your computer. They have to be updated frequently but are an important aspect of cyber security.

Firewalls stop advertising bots and other phishing attempts from taking place. This of this cyber security necessity as a brick wall that fortifies your computer. These cyber security programs, like other virus protection programs, run constantly in the background of your computer and work to keep you protected.

For more information on cyber security check out these websites.

Department of Homeland Security
Symantec