A bank, insurance company or investment firm may have a database of tens of thousands of customers—their names, addresses, birth dates, even social security numbers. That client list left unprotected could be a boon to rival companies or, even worse, identity thieves. Information security amounts to protecting that corporate asset from unwanted eyes. It is a set of tools and techniques that security professionals use to keep intruders out while making information secure, keeping it confidential and available to trusted employees.
You’re not very different from that financial institution.
Many of us shop online using our credit cards, send private emails or Facebook messages we wouldn’t want the whole world to see, some of us even manage our bank accounts and investments on the Internet. All that information is stored on your Mac or PC. So what tools and techniques are you regularly implementing to keep those personal assets safe? Is your web browser up-to-date? Do you have a firewall running? Antivirus software? Mal-ware protection? Are you a “smart” Internet user?
In this new Privacy & Security column on Credit.com, we’re going to discuss security basics, to ensure your system is running as clean and safe as possible. We’re going to look at technical changes you can make on your home computer along with more holistic human or user changes—like upping your level of basic online awareness. We’re going to look at best practices when shopping online, the secret information buried in the files we share and offer user tips like “hygienic browsing”—you brush your teeth, but do you brush your browser?
For more than a decade as a computer security professional, I’ve helped governments, corporations and individuals evaluate security risks and respond in force to a broad range of technology crimes. As the chief information officer for CyberScout—the nation’s premiere identity management, enterprise-level fraud solutions and consumer education service—I’ve helped businesses and individuals reevaluate their network security and have conducted numerous computer forensics investigations. Even stealthy cyber criminals leave fingerprints behind.
So whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or first-time computer user, ask yourself, Is my digital information safe? To help answer those questions, and to learn more about information security and computer forensics, stay tuned.