This is the first third of a much longer article that I have broken up and are re posting. In this first page we are looking at the underlying motives and problems that bring about computer privacy and security issues.-DP
As I recently stated in this blog, your computer is very complicated. At any given second, hundreds of processes are going on inside it at the same time. Such a complicated system presents the would-be attacker with a number of different points of entry. One of the most common ways to enter your system is via you, yourself.
Social networking, phishing, and just plain innocent trust on your part combine to make you the main vulnerability into your system. Think about it this way. A computer is just a tool, your tool if it’s your computer. The computer itself doesn’t have any security problems, because the problems are YOURS. I am going to restate that:
Computers do not have security problems, users do.
And what kind of security problems do you have? They generally fall into these categories:
1. Data safety (Protecting your data from being wiped out, encrypted and held for ransom, or otherwise lost to you personally. By the way, now would be a good time to back up your data. And set a schedule to do it regularly, like each year over July 4 and Christmas, or do what I do and keep constant and daily redundant backups of every little thing.)
2. Data Security: (Keeping somebody other than you from seeing your computer data) People always tell me “I have nothing to hide.” Really? Not even the names and ages and schools of your children? Not even knowledge about when you are on vacation and where your house is located? Not even your tax return? Paycheck stub? Shopping habits? Personal correspondence? Data is data is data.
3. Access: (Keeping somebody from using your credentials to get into anything locked with your password–your bank would spring to mind but in the future your car, your home, your medical records and other access/credential problems will arise) This most certainly include access to your workplace, your friends and family, and other associations (religious, political, etc) that might be valuable to the attacker.
4. Reputation: (Today you have a credit score that you know about. What other kinds of ratings and scores might you have on the internet, either now or in the future? Analysis of all your emails, all your social media, metadata from your phone and computer and tablet might add up to a very thorough dossier. If this becomes commonly available you can not only kiss away your privacy, you can forget about your civil rights.)
5. Privacy: It is possible that it is too late for privacy. What isn’t already known about you might be easily inferred. By Governments, by Criminals, by Employers, by anyone who could profit by looking into your past.
Those are the basic things we are talking about protecting. Every single one mentioned has happened hundreds of thousands of times over. But that has just been part of a plea for you all, my dear readers to educate yourselves and do things more securely. But when the word Vulnerability is used, it is referring to a flaw in some part of the computer system, something that the bad guys can exploit to get into and control your system. With our next entry we will look at just how vulnerable your computer might be.
David Perry, Huntington Beach, California