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October 21, 2010

Safe Computing

What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft
Introduction to Safe Computing
What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft

Home computers are a popular target for intruders. This is due to the fact that home computers usually use less complex protection and take less work and risk to penetrate than the systems within a secure enterprise network. This is not to say that in the past, hackers haven’t also provided equal headaches for the security administrators in big enterprises, exploiting every possible opportunity to sneak in. The attackers look for credit card numbers, bank account information, and anything else they can find from your home computer. But it’s not just the money-related information they’re after. Intruders also want the compromised computer’s resources, to attack other computers on the Internet. In fact, the more computers an intruder uses, the harder it is for law enforcement to figure out where the attack is really coming from.

Not many of the home computer users are aware of the security issues that can arise out of unsafe computing practices, unless they experience an attack on their computers. When combined with high-speed Internet connections that are always turned on, intruders can quickly find and then attack home computers. While intruders also attack home computers connected to the Internet through dial-up connections, high-speed connections modems and DSL modems) becomes a favored target. As we have discussed earlier, attackers use various methods such as attaching a virus in an email, to enter or access the home computers. They also take advantage of vulnerabilities in the computer’s programs code to gain access.
What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft

What follows are some tips to help provide a more secure computing experience.

How to choose secure passwords??

What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft
What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity TheftPasswords are your protection against fraud and loss of confidential information, but few people choose passwords that are truly secure.

Make your password as long as possible
The longer a password is, the harder it is to guess or to find by trying all possible combinations (i.e., a brute force attack). Passwords of 14 characters or more are vastly more difficult to crack.

Use different types of characters
Include numbers, punctuation marks, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.

Don’t use words that are in dictionaries
Don’t use words, names or place names that are usually found in dictionaries. Hackers
can use a dictionary attack (i.e., trying all the words in the dictionary automatically) to
crack these passwords.

Don’t use personal information
Others are likely to know information such as your birthday, the name of your partner or child, or your phone number, and they might guess that you have used them as a password.

Don’t use your username
Don’t use a password that is the same as your username or account number.

Use passwords that are difficult to identify as you type them in
Make sure that you don’t use repeated characters or keys close together on the keyboard.

What is a Potentially Unwanted Program/Application (PUP)?

What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft
What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft
What You Need to Know to Avoid Identity Theft
Potentially unwanted applications are programs that are not malicious but may be unsuitable for use in a business environment.

Some applications are non-malicious and possibly useful in the right context, but are not suitable for company networks. Examples are adware, dialers, non-malicious spyware, tools for administering PCs remotely and hacking tools. Certain anti-virus and endpoint security programs can detect such applications on users’ computers and report them. The administrator can then either authorize the applications for use or remove them from the computers.

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