October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

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Happy Computing Tip #82:
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month
By Switch, the I.T Support Robot

Why Beware? 

Today, everything that is involved in our lives is related to the Internet, email, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, personal background information, etc.

What Could Happen?

You would actually be surprised at how much of your personal information is being stored on some server in some dark corner of the Internet. That is ok as long as the server is secure. But as you’ve no doubt heard about in the news, hackers are now taking this information and using it in all sorts of nefarious ways. All the while, you suffer the consequences!

How Do I Prevent This?

First of all, recognize that these are very serious risks. Additionally, it’s important to understand a little about who it is that aims to harm you.

Here are some of the terms that you should know: “Hacker” and “attacker” are commonly used to describe these folks that aim to hurt you. They look for opportunities and weaknesses in a computer system to use for their own selfish gain. Malicious code, also known as malware, is often used. Viruses and worms are very common forms of malware. Computers are often affected with the simple act of opening an email attachment. And if you forward the email, you spread the virus, affecting many more computers (and risk making all of your friends upset). But this is not just limited to emails. Installing certain programs that claim to make your computer run faster may actually do just the opposite. They often bloat and slow down your computer. And even worse, some of them will send your personal information to the hackers. Ouch, right?! 

That is why it is so very important to make sure your antivirus software is up to date on all of your devices.

When Should I Be Alert and Aware?

All the time. This does not mean, however that you should live in constant fear. If something is too good to be true, more than likely it is. Be mindful when you open emails. This is so important! Ask yourself, “Who is this from?” “Would they send this link to me?” “What is the subject of this email?” Asking yourself questions like these can help you and your computer stay happy.

Happy Computing!!!