Now that the bad guys, so to speak, have found a different route to getting at our money and a cleaner one (no need for guns a blazing) we are very vulnerable to finding our accounts changing balance without our awareness. Those that hack systems are very intelligent and inventive. Using just the new household name, the PC and its like, hackers can get into our systems undetected and pilfer a fair bit of money from us without our even being aware it is happening.
This is no time to be complacent. Mac users are just as vulnerable. There are things we can do though to avoid problems and protect ourselves. Companies themselves have put in a fair bit to identify illegal activities but there is only so much they can do alone. With an enlightened end user population, there is more of a chance that hackers can be stopped or the problem mitigated to some degree.
Old Faithful: Anti Viral Software
Anti-viral software has been with us for a long time. Initially, it was intended to deal with infections that messed with the computer. Now, it has expanded dramatically in that it is to ensure no malware or software that could steal your information – mainly financial – has been loaded on your system. In fact, it is the latter that the AV software is meant to deal with primarily.
If hackers can get at your financial information, there could be havoc. However, if they get enough information they might be able to steal your identity something which is very difficult to fight. For many, the loss of their identity turns into an outright nightmare.
There’s a lot of AV software available however, what you really want software geared to protect you from personal information theft along with that which can mess with your computer. Three of the best packages for this j0b are:
- S9 from Intego
Virtual Private Networking software is beneficial by protecting your IP address. It redirects the IP through a Virtual Private Network. It is very effective in keeping someone out of your actual computer but it tends to slow your connection speed fairly substantially in some cases.
Some use a VPN in hotspots only where they feel most at risk. The sad fact is, regardless of where you are you are at risk. The trade-off in speed over safety is only something that you can decide on specifically. From a safety point of view, always running via a VPN would be ideal but there those who are not interested in giving up a large degree of performance.
Little Snitch from Objective Development software is designed to tell you what you’re computer is connecting to and where your data is going. If you notice something that shouldn’t be happening you can shut the process down effectively putting you in control. This is a very useful tool which in v4 has been designed so that the software doesn’t overwhelm you.
For documents just sitting in the open on your computer it is wise to encrypt them with 256 AES. There are numerous Mac Products that will do this forcing you to put a password in to see the file.
Pcloud has a folder called called Crypto which will encrypt anything in it. You have to have the password created to decrypt the folder. pCloud provides a lot of storage at very reasonable prices.
There are also many other products you can encrypt with a password. Winzip v6 is one such product. Not only does it save space, create archives but you have to enter a password even if you’ve sent the file to someone knowingly. It’s an excellent way of transmitting a file across the internet but making sure that it would be very hard if not impossible to break the file.
Many Techniques including you the User
For anything to be of value you the user has to know what’s possibly something that could happen in the background without your knowledge. The more aware y0u are of the risks, the more likely it will be that you will protect yourself.
You could literally loose many 1000s of dollars and at the worst your identity. This could ruin you near the end of life. To have worked hard only to have it all disappear would be so tragic. At a minimum use a good anti-viral program. However, don’t stop there. It’s too risky. Prepare for the worst and worst is not likely to happen. It only takes a few moments of your time to know how to implement a good strategy but those few moments could save so much. As the old saying goes from Nike “Just do it”.