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If I could tell you just one thing …
Hi, everyone! Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com. A while back, about a month ago, I was asked to give a short talk about computer security. But I was given only about five or ten minutes, which really made me, or forced me to distill down exactly what it is I think about when I think about computer security.
In fact, the way I approached it, was to say, “Ok, If I can tell you only one thing, if you can walk away from listening to me for five minutes with only one thing, what would that thing be? What would I want it to be?”
So I gave the talk and I actually came back again a second time so I had the opportunity to say, “Great. What’s the second thing if I could have you remember only two things I say about computer security, what would it be?” I gave that talk, and it actually led me down a path where I ended up talking or thinking about five separate things in priority order relating to computer security.
What I want to do today is basically give you that list – in reverse order.
So, number 5: Keep learning. Now I mean this in a couple of different ways. Of course, it means keep learning about your operating system, how to use your computer, how to use your technology – that kind of thing, but more importantly when it comes to security, it means keep abreast of what’s happening. Stay open to security or computer related news. Understand what the current threats, what the current vulnerabilities are, even just hearing them. You don’t necessarily need to understand them in detail, but even hearing about what’s going on, learning about what’s happening in security in technology today, will help keep you more secure.
Number 4: Be patient. I say that not because I have some important idea that you need to be patient, rather I come to it based on the experiences of the people that I see. So many people are in a rush to get something done, to fix a problem, to accomplish with their technology that when they do encounter a problem, when they do encounter a security issue, they blow right through it and often make the wrong choices when it comes, again, to computer security. Take the time to do a little bit of research, to wait for an answer, to ask a question and get an answer. Do a little bit of work; be patient; it will save you a lot of grief in the long run. Spending a little bit of time up front can often save you a tremendous amount of time later on if things go wrong.
Number 3: Don’t panic. Seriously. This is one of those things where I see people make the worst possible choices when it comes to something related to their technology out of panic. They will click on anything; they will install anything that even hints about being a solution to their problem and many times those solutions really just make the problem worse. In a way, it kind of follows on being patient but definitely take the time; don’t panic; think it through. There’s actually very little you can do that will actually, permanently, physically, damage your computer so just be ok with it. Take your time. Don’t panic.
Number two: Be skeptical. Now we all want to believe. We all want to assume the best out of humanity, and you know what, for the most part, that’s true, but when it comes to promises made by software vendors or tools or pop-ups or any of those kinds of things, absolutely question the source. Make sure you understand exactly where a bit of information is coming from. See if you can’t corroborate with some other bit of information from a trusted source. Develop trusted sources that you know you can rely to steer you straight.
And the number one, most important tip I have for computer security, it’s going to surprise you, but it’s the one thing I want everybody to remember and that is back up. Seriously, back up. Back up everything. Back up your data, back up your computer. Back up. I say that because, you know what, things are going to happen. Things are going to go wrong. Hardware’s going to fail but in the realm of computer security, you’re going to miss something. You’ll end up with malware of some sort; you’ll end up with a virus. Even ransomware. All of those kinds of things can be protected against if you have a good back up in place. If you get malware, you restore to the previous back up that you took the night before and the malware is gone. It’s like it never happened. How much secure can you be?
So those are my five tips. Number 5: Keep learning. Number 4: Be patient. Number 3: Don’t panic. Number two: Be skeptical: Number 1: Back up. You probably could have guess I was going to say something about backing up, I’m sure. If you’re interested in these tips and want something a little bit more readable, perhaps a little bit more coherent, than my just spouting them off here on video, I actually have them collected in a 17-page PDF that’s yours FREE. It’s called, Computer Security: The Five Things I Would Tell You If I Could Only Tell You Five Things. You’ll get it free. Here’s a link: isafety.askleo.com. Enter your email address and I’ll send you a copy of the PDF for free. It’s that simple.
As always, I hope it gives you value. I will see you again next week. Until then, remember stay safe, have fun and tip number one, don’t forget to back up. Take care.