In a nutshell, computer security is the process of preventing and detecting unauthorized use of your computer; or to prevent an invasion of your computer from programmed intruders. Preventive measures help you to stop unauthorized users or “intruders” such as viruses or malware from accessing any part of your computer system. Detection helps you to determine whether or not someone attempted to break into your system, if they were successful, and what they may have done.

Many people read so much about hackers trying to steal, manipulate, or destroy data, and yet never imagine that it might happen to them. Although not considered as part of the five FAQ, the common question usually asked by homeowners about home computer security is, “Do I really need it?”

Homeowners must realize that it’s not only big companies that get attacked. Small time hackers love to penetrate home computers for the information and money involved simply because most home computers aren’t adequately protected against “intruders.”

Who Would Want to Break Into My Computer?

You may not have millions in the bank, but you still use your computer for banking transactions, shopping, and paying bills. More than 50% of home computer transactions involve money. If a hacker “intrudes” into your computer information and steals $500, that may hurt you in the short term, but it doesn’t seem to be a substantial amount. However, if a hacker can break into one computer a day for a week and steal $500 from each, the hacker just stole $3,500 in a week. Getting the big picture now?

How Easy is it to Break Into My Computer?

You’ll be surprised; hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities in computers called “holes” to exploit software. The complexity of software makes it hard to test the security of computer systems in detail. Make sure that your computer system is licensed and always updated. Make sure your programs are set to automatic updating so any holes are automatically “patched.” Finally, make sure your computer has a strong anti-virus and anti-malware system.

Do I Need to Backup All My Data?

All your financial transactions and informational data are important to your day-to-day activities. Backing up all your important data is a must. You can either manually back up your data on a disk, or use an external hard drive for backup storage.

Am I at Risk from Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when personal information is obtained by unauthorized individuals who use that information to commit a crime such as fraud. Everyone is at risk from this. Careful management of personal information, identification, and passwords can help minimize risk.

  • Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized.
  • Use hard-to-guess passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Keep your passwords and PIN numbers secret.
  • When shopping online, make sure the site is secure by looking for the padlock icon in the corner of the page that asks you to input your personal information.

Is Social Media Dangerous for Home Computer Security?

Nothing will happen if you use Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook. The danger there is if a scammer or hacker, disguised as a supposed “friend” or a company, asks you to click on an innocent looking external link that may open up your computer to malware or intrusion.

There are virtually hundreds of questions involving home computer security. For the sake of extreme safety for your personal computer, nothing beats being extra careful and extra watchful when it comes to the security of your personal information and data.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 9:53:42 PM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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