Personal Computer Security Goals - The 5 "R"s
Reconcile Often Most financial companies (eg. banks, mutual fund companies, brokerages) will reimburse you, if a hacker/criminal/thief steals your money. However, financial companies set limits on the amount of time you have to discover the theft/robbery/crime occurred. Check with your financial company to find out the time limit. The best practice is to review and reconcile all of your financial statements on a monthly basis.
Reduce Surface Area In the security world, surface area means how big is the opportunity for a hacker to single you out for their crime. There are many factors that increase the opportunity for a crime:
  1. How visible are you? In the physical world, if you drive a fancy car, wear fancy jewelry, and carry a bunch of money in your wallet; you are very visible to criminals.
  2. In the digital world, surface area means: Are there weaknesses in the security controls on your PC, are there security gaps on your PC that exist because your security patches are not up-to-date, do you visit risky websites (e.g. various types of adult sites), and do you access critical financial information on the Internet? Hackers are always looking to take advantage of these opportunities.
  3. In the digital world, surface area also means the most popular PCs, applications and websites will attract hackers more often. The reason this happens is because criminals will invest their time where they know they will get the most mileage. The moral of this story is that if you really want to reduce the opportunities hackers have to attack you, don't use the most popular PC operating systems, don't use the most popular brands of applications (e.g. browser, PDF reader, movie player) on your PC, and don't use the most popular websites on the Internet. Of course the most popular applications and websites often have more money to invest in security, which must be considered too.
Reduce Physical Threats Unfortunately, a high percentage of financial crimes in the world are committed by people who know their victims; often, by people who have access to your house (which could include family members). So, your mission is to reduce the opportunities people around you have to gain access to your financial information.
  1. Keep your financial statements locked in a drawer/filing cabinet.
  2. Don't give other people the opportunity to see your passwords.
  3. Use a password to access your PC. This will help prevent people you know from looking at your information on the PC. If your PC is stolen, a password will help prevent the criminal from getting both the physical asset (your PC) and your financial assets (the information on your PC).
  4. Use encryption to safeguard sensitive financial information on your PC.
  5. Keep sensitive information on your PC in folders that only you can access.
Regular Software Updates If your PC is hacked, or your account on a financial website is hacked, it will most likely happen because the hacker has exploited a security gap on your PC that is caused by software that is out of date. This not only applies to your operating system (e.g. Windows); but also applications you use on your PC like your browser, PDF readers, music players, and movie players. Configure your PC and applications to apply security patches automatically.
Raise The Bar Just by using PsyberScan you are raising the bar. You are learning more about security, and hopefully you are strengthening the physical, PC and Internet security controls you use. Keep raising the bar! Read books on computer security, read web articles about computer security, and talk about computer security with your family. You can be sure that hackers are always trying to improve their skills, and you should continuously be trying to improve your knowledge about security too.

We will be continually updating this website to give you links to the best articles and sources of information on the Internet. So, check in on a regular basis.
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