What are the risks of computer security?
There are many risks in computer security to consider. Sometimes believe that only travelers are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hackers. However, cyber security is a risk for everyone, even if you stay at home!
Public Internet Access – WiFi Security
There are millions of people who do not own a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. They must use a shared device – like a local library computer or a tablet at school to access the internet. These users are especially a risk. Personal credentials, usernames, and passwords. to accounts are sometimes stored within a web browser. A shared computer should never be used to log into any accounts with any sensitive or personally identifiable information.
What many do not realize is that a simple task like logging into an email account can leave someone vulnerable to hacking. Let’s say you use a public computer at your local library to check your email. Google Chrome browsers can save usernames and passwords as well as the browser history (the websites visited on the computer.) The next person – a hacker – uses the computer and examines the browser history. He sees your email website and goes navigates to it. If the Chrome browser on the public computer saved the login information, the hacker can again log directly into your email.
Let’s say your email account contains a statement from your bank. The hacker can then proceed to your bank websites and send a password reset request. Once the hacker gets the password to your bank, they are free to log in, and get your account information. They can also get other personally identifiable information like your home address. Every bit of personal data can give a hacker enough to move onto larger identity theft crimes like opening up a credit card in your name.
Common computer security concerns include:
- Identity theft
- Computer viruses
- Theft of physical equipment
- Theft of financial data
- Opening up credit cards under your name
Those who user various technologies – laptops, smartphones, or any other internet connected device should have a basic understanding of security risks. Most people are aware that logging into sensitive websites like bank accounts on a shared computer is risky.
Computer Security on Mobile Devices
Data transmitted via cellular provider is secure. However, any connection to public wifi or a shared connection, even when it is secure, opens up the device to vulnerabilities. To save on cellular data use, people are always looking to connect to public wifi. However, this is one of the simplest ways for hackers to collect data from a device. Once a device is using any shared connection – open wifi or private – any data transmitted across between the device and the router can be intercepted. This includes logins to bank accounts, social media channels, and email credentials. Anything that is sent via a web browser or internet connected app provides an opportunity for hackers to get some personally identifiable information from you.
Many people don’t realize that even legitimate apps like Facebook Messenger, are tracking them via location data. Information sent through messaging apps is not secure unless both the sender and the recipient are on a secure connection.
Computer SEcurity for Travelers
Business travelers and vacationers must be especially diligent where they use their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Although it is tempting to share free public WiFi at airports, on airplanes, and on buses, users must understand that any data transmitted over a shared wireless connection can be easily intercepted.
When traveling to business conferences and trade shows, venues typically offer conference-goers free internet access. Like the shared airport connections, any data sent over a free public wi-fi connection is easily intercepted.