How to Protect Yourself from a Key-Catcher

A key-catcher is a hardware device plugged into the back of a PC that records all the keystrokes on a desktops keyboard. Protecting yourself from a key-catcher is not the same as defending from a virus. To start, check your PS/2 and USB ports for mysterious devices, which may have found themselves attached to your computer via a malicious insider. Though antivirus software will detect most malicious programs, it may not recognize a key-catcher as it is an external device and does not run on the typical keylogger software.

Key-catchers are made to look exactly like a legitimate hardware device that you may already have plugged into the machine. Since this is the case, you must inspect the computer to find out if a key-catcher is present.

To ensure you are safe when entering credit card information on the Internet, you should always use an automatic form filler or on-screen keyboard, that way even if there is a key-catcher attached to your computer, it will not capture the keystrokes.

What is a Firewall?

A firewall is software or hardware that is designed to either block or allow outgoing and incoming transmissions that occur between the Internet and your computer. It is designed to either permit or deny a network transmission based on specific rules.

Most operating systems have an inbound firewall that comes with the program. This performs a number of basic functions, and it determines whether or not to allow or deny a number of programs based on its settings.

A more advanced system will alert you to any potential threats that are coming in or out, and it blocks all threats until you deny or allow the access manually. Typically, when this software is installed, you will not need to configure the firewall, as it does this automatically.

If it notices any suspicious activity, such as any attempt to breach the firewall, the software will act immediately to prevent this action.

What is a “Windows Update” and What is a “Service Pack?”

A Windows Update is a software update from Microsoft that scans a computer on a scheduled basis for any necessary hardware or software updates. To set this up, access it from your control panel and set it to download and install critical security updates automatically.

Technology evolves quickly and cybercrime keeps up. When there is a security breach, the updates quickly become available, and Microsoft will release it to Windows users.

Just as a Windows Update patches the holes in your system, a service pack is a bundle of updates for the system that will allow your computer to run more smoothly, and it will strengthen your protection against many threats. The main difference between the update and the service pack is that the service pack includes a number of updates at one time.

Even with these updates in place, to keep yourself safe, you must remain vigilant. Think before clicking, and only then connect. Make sure you know who is on the other side of any torrent, e-mail or instant message, and remember, anything you do or say in cyberspace remains there, and anyone can find it, steal it and use it against you.

How Social Media Risks Security

Social networking is popular, yet dangerous, as security issues include brand hijacking, identity theft, online reputation management, compromised privacy, and the physical security of the user. One of the easiest ways to get into a company’s network, for instance, is through social media. Social media networking sites have grown too large, too quickly, and many of the sites and users do not keep up with the latest security updates.

Through social media, criminals can become your “friend,” and this creates a false sense of trust. Once established, they can use it against their victims through scams such as phishing. Criminals know exactly how to take advantage of their victims on social media, so we need to ensure that there are procedures and policies in place that outline how to keep everyone safe.