By protecting your personal information, a secure computer can provide peace of mind. This section describes security measures to prevent unauthorized computer access from outside networks. Learning how to secure your computer from unauthorized access is essential so your information does not get stolen or lost. Hackers are always ready to use any opportunity available to them. Users are interested in taking action to prevent others from using their computers. The following sections detail several ways to protect your computer from others. To proceed, you can read through each section or choose one from the list below that interests you.
What is unauthorized access?
Unauthorized computer access happens when someone gains access to a website, program, server, service, or other system using someone else’s account or other means. For example, if somebody kept guessing a password or username for a performance that didn’t belong to them until they gained access, that’s considered unauthorized access. Unauthorized computer access can also occur when a user attempts to access an area of a system to which they should not have access. They will be denied access when trying to access that area and possibly see an unauthorized access message. Some system managers set up alerts to let them know when an unauthorized computer access attempt has been made so they can investigate the cause. These alerts help prevent hackers from gaining access to a secure or confidential system. Many security systems can lock down an account with too many failed login attempts.
Common Reasons For Unauthorized Access
1. Weak Passwords
A big problem like hacking comes due to a weak password. For the ease of the user, sometimes applications do not enforce password complexity, and as a result, users use simple passwords such as password, password123, Password@123, 12345, god, own mobile number, etc. A weak password does not always mean length and the characters used. It also implies guessability. Name@12345 looks like quite a complex password, but it can be guessable. So do not use your name, place, or mobile number as a password. Weak passwords can be guessable, or attackers can brute-force if the length of the password is very small, so try to use random strings with special characters. Though that can be hard to remember from a security point of view, it’s quite secure.
NOTE: Use as many strong passwords as possible. Strong password protection is essential for software, wireless networks, and systems. We can use alphabets, numbers, and special symbols to create a strong password.
2. Social Engineering Attacks-Phishing
Social Engineering Attack
Social engineering attacks use human interaction to get or compromise information about an organization or its computer systems. An attacker claiming to be a new employee, repair person, or researcher and even offering credentials to support that identity may seem polite and respectful. However, asking questions can gather enough information to infiltrate an organization’s network. Suppose an attacker cannot collect enough information from one source. In that case, they may reach another source within the same organization.
Phishing-Attack is a social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. Phishing-Attack occurs when an attacker masquerades as a trusted entity to open a message. A malicious link is sent to the recipient, which could install malware, freeze the system in a ransomware attack, or expose sensitive information. An attack can have fatal consequences. For any individual, this includes unauthorized purchases, theft of money, or identity theft. A phishing attack is often used as part of a larger attack, such as an advanced persistent threat event, to gain a foothold in corporate or government networks. Employees are compromised to bypass security perimeters, distribute malware in a closed environment, or have privileged access to protected data. Organizations succumbing to such attacks usually suffer serious financial losses apart from a decline in market share, reputation, and consumer confidence. Depending on the scope, a phishing attempt can become a security incident that will make it difficult for the business to recover.
3. Insider Threats
The most common way people store their passwords is through Post-It notes. It is the most careless way someone can keep their passwords. Surprisingly, some companies do not value their data and do not invest in cyber security. Writing passwords in notes is an irresponsible way of storing your passwords. It means anyone can gain access to your documents and use them for their benefit.
Keeping Your Computer Safe From Unauthorized Access: Prevention Techniques
1. Use a firewall
Windows and macOS have built-in firewalls, which create a barrier between your information and the outside world. Firewalls stop unauthorized access to your business network and warn you of intrusion attempts. Make sure the firewall is enabled before you go online. Depending on your broadband router, you can purchase hardware firewalls from companies such as Cisco, Sophos, or Fortinet, which also have a built-in firewall that protects your network. You can buy an additional business networking firewall if your business is large.
2. Install antivirus software
There are computer viruses and malware everywhere. Your computer is protected against unauthorized code and software by antivirus programs such as Bitdefender, Panda Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes, and Avast. Viruses can have a simple location-to-location effect – for example, they can slow down your computer, delete key files, or become less obvious.
To ensure the security of your data, antivirus software plays a major role in protecting your system by detecting real-time threats. Some advanced antivirus programs offer automatic updates, keeping your machine safe from emerging viruses daily. After installing an antivirus program, do not forget to use it. Run or schedule virus scans regularly to keep your computer virus free.
3. Install an anti-spyware package
Spyware is specialized software that secretly monitors and collects personal or organizational information. It is designed to be hard to detect and remove and delivers unwanted advertisements or search results to direct you to certain websites. Some spyware records every keystroke to access passwords and other financial information. Anti-spyware focuses exclusively on this threat, but it is often included in major antivirus packages such as Webroot, McAfee, and Norton. Anti-spyware packages provide real-time protection by scanning all incoming information and blocking threats.
4. Use complex passwords
A secure password is the most important way to prevent unauthorized computer access. The faster your passwords, the more difficult it is for hackers to attack your system. More secure often means longer and more complex. Use a password with at least eight letters, a mixture of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, alphabets, and some special symbols to create a strong password. It is now possible for hackers to crack short, easy passwords in a matter of minutes with an arsenal of tools. Don’t use recognizable words or combinations representing birthdays or other information that may link to you. Don’t reuse passwords, either. If you have a lot of passwords to remember, consider using a password manager, such as Dashlane, 1Password, Sticky Password, LastPass, or Password Boss.\
5. Keep your OS, apps, and browser up-to-date
Always install new updates on your operating system. Most updates include security fixes that protect your data from hackers’ access and exploitation. The same goes for apps. Today’s web browsers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, especially regarding privacy and security. In addition to installing all-new updates, review your browser security settings. For example, You can increase your online privacy by blocking websites from tracking your activities with your browser. Or, use one of these confidential web browsers.
6. Ignore spam
Be wary of email messages from unknown parties, and never click on links or open attachments with them. Inbox spam filters have become quite good at catching the most specific spam. But more sophisticated phishing emails that imitate your friends, associates, and trusted businesses (like your bank) have become commonplace, so keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks suspicious.
Data protection is not a linear process or a one-time activity. You need to constantly invest resources, time, and effort to ensure protection from unauthorized data access. Cybercriminals are becoming more advanced daily, using the latest technologies to target organizations and access unauthorized data. As data breaches shoot up, you need to be more vigilant. You must integrate robust security measures into your enterprise and make cyber security a top priority for every employee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I prevent unauthorized computer access?
There are many ways to prevent unauthorized computer access but the most common method people use is to set a secure password, at least eight characters long, with numbers, symbols, upper and lower cases, and most importantly, easy to remember.
What is unauthorized access?
Authorization means Granting access rights to information security, computer security, and access control resources. It is typically possible when the software/service is purchased through legal and formal procedures.