Victoria M. Deardorff
Brevard Community College
April 10, 2012
This paper is written as a basic overview of computer security for the non-technical user. This paper is meant to educate the reader on practical steps that can be implemented to secure their home-based computers. Additionally, the reader will be informed of industry and government needs for and methods of computer security. With this information, the reader should gain a better understanding of why agencies and companies have their rules and regulations pertaining to computer security.
What do you think when you read or hear the words “computer security”? The word security implies freedom from risk, ...view middle of the document...
” (Ross, 1999) In the early years, systems were kept in what could have been referred to as a glass house where constant cooling, electricity and protection from vandalism was provided. They were protected and alarmed as part of the general building security. Security focused on break-ins that might include vandalism or theft of computer equipment. Today, we have desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones that cannot be kept in glass houses. Whatever form your computer(s) have, how do you begin to protect them and the information they contain? You must start with a plan to protect and be prepared to restore your computer(s) and the data they house before there is ever a need.
Computer Security for the Home Computer
Protecting your personal computer is a never ending task. Whether you use a home system, one at your place of employment or both, it is your responsibility to educate yourself concerning the growing need of computer security. Following are steps to protecting your home computer(s):
1. Notebook computers, along with any mobile device, should be kept under a watchful eye at all times.
2. Use a strong password which is the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. A strong password is at least eight characters long, does not contain a complete word or your real name, is very different from previously used passwords and contains characters from uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, symbols on the keyboard and spaces.
3. Backup your system in the event there is a natural disaster, power failure, disk failure, accidently deleted files or your system is subjected to theft. The easiest way to perform a backup on your home system is to use any USB external hard drive and the built-in Windows or MAC software. Store this backup in a place that would not be subject to the above mentioned disasters. A fireproof and waterproof safe would be one recommendation.
4. Install system patches as they are released by your particular software vendor. Quiet often these patches or repairs contain security updates as a result of a security threat being discovered. Your software documentation or the manufacturer’s website will have instructions for obtaining these patches.
5. Anti-virus software is a must for your home system. McAfee Virus Scan by Network Associates (www.mcafee.com) and Norton Anti-Virus by Symantec (www.symantec.com) are the leading anti-virus software packages and can be purchased through most retailers or online directly from the vendor. A good habit would be to scan your entire PC at least once a week.
6. Firewalls that are available in hardware or software are your next protection item. Firewalls are especially important when using a high speed cable or DSL Internet connection that is “always-on”. “Hardware-based firewalls act as physical barriers between your PC and the Internet, so that packets from unknown addresses are deleted before they ever reach your...