What is information security and how can one improve it? What do we mean when we say “information security”? Is everyone talking about the same thing when they use this term? Here, we will answer some of these questions.
What is Information Security?
Information security is a discipline that focuses on protecting information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption and destruction. It requires data to be confidential as well as authenticated. The security of your info means that only the right people have access to the right info at the right time for legitimate purpose. This is a very broad discipline as it deals with protection of all kinds of digital as well as non-digital information.
There are two main aspects involved in information security:
Confidentiality means that only the authorized people are able to see or access something. For example, when you send an e-mail message to someone, confidentiality is ensured because you have limited who can read your email by using the appropriate mechanisms to encrypt it so that only the intended recipient is able to decrypt and view it.
The integrity of info means that when people access something, they can see the correct version of data and not a ‘manipulated’ version which has been changed or altered from its original form either intentionally or by accident. For example, if someone visits an e-commerce site to purchase a new video game console, the person needs to be confident that he is seeing the correct price and not some altered version of it which has been changed by a cyber criminal in order to trick him into paying more than what the product actually costs.
Why is Information Security Important?
Information security is important for everyone involved in using, maintaining or handling information of all kinds. It is also important to organizations as it directly affects their brand value and image in the market. When an organization fails to protect its digital assets (information) properly, it can result in significant financial losses for that company.
Tips and Tricks to Improve the Security of Your Data
There are many tips and tricks that can be used to improve the security of your data. Here are some of the top ones:
1. Keep Your Systems Up-To-Date
Always make sure that you regularly update your operating system and other software you use regularly. The reason why many organizations fail to do this is because it takes up a lot of time and resources to make these updates and hence they end up skipping them and ignore security patches which are released regularly by the vendor.
2. Create Strong Passwords
You might be familiar with the phrase ‘passwords are dead’ as they lack security and can be easily guessed, but if you change your passwords regularly and create a strong one (make sure that it is at least 12 characters long and not like this: abcd1234), then you can keep yourself safe.
3. Use Anti-Virus Software
This is the easiest and most common way to protect your computer from viruses, malware and other threats that can harm your computer. However, you should not rely on anti-virus software alone, as it can’t detect or stop everything. You need a complete layered security approach which should include anti-virus software, anti-malware software, and web filtering solutions to protect your employees from visiting potentially harmful websites.
4. Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Although it is tempting to use free public Wi-Fi networks when you are at an airport or shopping mall, it is not a good idea as these networks are not secure at all. Most of them are unencrypted and can allow hackers to access your traffic if you don’t take the necessary precautions. There are ways to be safe while using public Wi-Fi networks, but its best to avoid them as much as possible.
5. Always Double Check Before Clicking on Any Link or Attachment
You should never open any link or attachment from an unknown person as it might be a phishing email that looks like it has been sent by someone you trust, but actually is a link or attachment which can infect your computer with malware. You should always double check the email address of the person who sent it and if it seems to be weird, then do not click on any attached file or link in that email.
6. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication includes both the ‘something you have’ as well as ‘something you know’. For example, some devices or computers that are used to access a particular service might have a unique ID which is required to authenticate the user. Another common method is using a token generator which provides a temporary one-time password for accessing an online account.
7. Keep Your Personal Information Private
You should keep your personal information private and also keep it off social media as much as possible. For example, if you post a picture of yourself with a new car or bike on Instagram, then anyone can use that photo and claim to be you and apply for credit card in your name. So it is better to keep your personal information private.
8. Check Your Financial Statements Regularly
You should always check your monthly statements carefully for any unknown transactions or charges which might be unauthorized, if you notice that then immediately contact your credit card company or bank to report this fraudulent activity.
9. Use Privacy Protection Software
You should use ‘Privacy Protection Software’ to hide your IP address which is the digital fingerprint that can be used by hackers to identify who you are and where you are located. Using a VPN or Proxy Server for protecting your online activities is always recommended as it will keep all your internet traffic private.
Hackers are getting smarter day by day and they are using new methods to attack anyone. But you can stay safe by following the above mentioned tips for protecting your information online.
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