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Who’s Behind Your Keyboard?

Hello, everyone! This security article is going to be a little different than some of the others we’ve run in the past. Usually, I write about a security issue that is affecting certain programs or a program that will help fix a security problem, but today, I’m going to talk about the number one threat to computer security.

And that is the person sitting behind the keyboard (including me!)

Now, I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’ll start by giving you my story.

One day, I was putting together a small Web site just for fun. In the process of doing that, I decided I wanted a small sound effect to play when a person ran their mouse over one of my images. I figured that would be simple enough. I could just search the Web for the sound I wanted to use. Well, that was a bad idea! I downloaded the sound and as soon as I played it, my computer completely froze. After getting my computer started back up in Safe Mode, I ran a virus scan and it found three viruses on my system. Oh no!

If I hadn’t downloaded that sound, this would never have happened. The sound file I downloaded was not from a site I had ever been to before. It was free and the file size seemed awfully large for a two second audio clip. Given all of this, I still downloaded the file. Why? Because I really wanted that sound, I guess.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, we all get carried away on the Internet. We start clicking on things and downloading things we know we shouldn’t trust. This is what gets us all in trouble. I can write a million warnings about viruses and vulnerabilities, but the only thing that will truly keep your data safe is good old fashioned common sense!

Here are some guidelines to follow:

1.) Don’t download items from Web sites you do not trust.

2.) Don’t install things you do not recognize.

3.) If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

4.) Ninety-nine percent of viruses cannot harm you without you clicking OK at some point.

If you follow those tips, you will save yourself many, many headaches in the future. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary