The post below recommends techniques to improve your security on line, but that's not much use if your computer/smartphone/tablet is insecure. All your private content could be viewed remotely.
If you install a Windows operating system onto a computer and connect it to the internet without the firewall enabled and updating the computer, it only takes seconds for malware to discover and infiltrate your computer. Your computer can then become part of a botnet and commanded to send spam, attack other computers, etc without your knowledge (until you wonder why you've exceeded your data allowance). Apple and Linux/Android based operating systems are also insecure if they are not kept up to date.
Any computing device you use to access the internet, should have the following:
* Firewall enabled
* Automatic Updates enabled (viruses often disable this)
* Virus scanner up to date (viruses often disable these)
* Browser updated to the latest release (don't forget add-ons also need updating)
* Java disabled in your browser (It is most unlikely that you need it)*
* Other applications that access the internet updated to the latest version and/or patched, in particular:
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Adobe Flash
Java, Reader and Flash are most-exploited Windows programs:
These are NOT included in Microsoft Windows updates - you may need to update them manually
* Oracle released their quarterly patch update in late 2013 which contained 127 fixes; 51 of these were for Java! The first 2014 patch release from Oracle is due next Tuesday 21st January and includes patches for 36 exploits for Java 7 alone and over 140 for all Oracle products currently supported, of which over 80 require no authentication to execute.
Here are the latest 2013 Adobe security patches for Flash and Shockwave-players:
(Covers Android, Apple Mac, Linux and Microsoft Windows)
Lately, there's been some particularly nasty 'ransomware' attacks. This form of malware encrypts your data and brings up a message asking you to transfer money to pay for your data to be restored. What do you think your chances are? Back up your important data onto a flash drive or portable hard drive.
Just recently, Trend Micro announced that the number of malicious apps available for download for Android phones had reached the 1 million mark. iOS is better, but you are still not immune, with many apps gaining greater access to your phone content than they need.
Is anyone still using Windows XP? Microsoft will no longer provide security updates after April next year. You can be certain that any vulnerabilities that are patched by Microsoft in Vista, Windows7 and 8 will be checked to see if they are present in Windows XP so if you use XP after April next year, you will be a sitting duck for net nasties.
The biggest malware, security threats in 2013 according to Malwarebytes' 2013 Threat report, "assumed guilt" ransomware tactics, mobile device cyberattacks and Mac-based threats are all gifts we had to cope with this year
This post only touches on the basics of computing device security. If you aren't sure how to check what you use to access this site is up to date per the above, ask a trusted, knowledgeable friend for assistance (and do something for them in return!) or use your Operating System and Application Help or your favourite search engine to find out what to do.
If you have a Google account, Google is at least being transparent about the data it collects on your on-line activities and allows you to examine and delete it if you wish. Just log in with your Google account here: myactivity.google.com/myact...
Related Security Posts
Online Security Starts with YOU!
Tips for spotting a Phishing Email Attempt
(With apologies to the innocent ducklings above)