3 Information-Security Myths (Busted)
Most of us would never leave our wallets in an unlocked car or give a random stranger our bank account information.
However, when it comes to our security online, we’re much less cautious. But there are two major reasons to protect sensitive data (whether you’re at work or home): first, to avoid identity theft, and second, to maintain privacy and confidentiality.
Here’s what you should know about cybersecurity.
Myth #1: Firewalls are infallible.
Unfortunately, simply having a firewall installed on your computer doesn’t mean you’re safe from a data breach.
Firewalls act as gatekeepers for your network, letting certain elements in and keeping others out. The rules about what gets in and what does not have been configured by humans—which means, of course, there’s going to be an element of human error.
Hackers are skilled at finding and exploiting the holes in your firewall. For example, they might get in through a phishing scam, a forged IP address, or an exposed system server.
The moral of the story: even if you have a firewall, you can’t forget about your information security.
Myth #2: Antivirus software is fail-safe.
Sorry, more bad news. Many security pros have stopped using antivirus software. That’s because it’s fairly easy for criminals to create attacks that’ll beat the most popular antivirus programs.
That’s not to say you should delete your antivirus software, as it’ll still keep you safe if you accidentally visit a sketchy site or download the wrong file. But you should also start investing time and money into setting up encryption and authentication software.
Myth #3: All threats come from the Internet.
Criminals rely on a number of data-breach strategies that don’t require a network connection. If you or a coworker forget to wipe an old laptop, hard drive, or thumb drive clean before selling, recycling, or discarding it, hackers can easily get your data.
Losing or misplacing sensitive files and failing to set strong passwords are also common ways thieves gain access to your information.
USB drives, keyboards, and mouses are threats, as well. In the past, you could count on antivirus software to scan a thumb drive and tell you if it was safe. But there’s new technology that allows compromised USB devices to come up as “clean”—and once they’re in, they can do virtually anything to your computer.
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