In 1988, computers started to become commonplace. They presented a new world of possibilities for these entities … as well as hackers. For the first time, a ton of secret, valuable information was a code crack away. And with the high profile of some companies, hackers could make a name for themselves (this was before the selfie). So as part of the effort to combat cyber crime, National Computer Security Day on November 30 was created. We certainly don’t want another MyDoom (it’s the worst email virus in history, causing $38.5 billion in damage), so let’s do our part and celebrate!
How to Observe National Computer Security Day
1. Create a strong password
Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips. In computer security, length matters. Passwords that are 6 characters are easier to hack, and that goes double if they're only made up of lower case letters. To beef up your password, weave a 9 character combination of uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Lastly, avoid using the same password for every account. We know they're a pain to remember, but there are programs that can help you out.
2. Update spyware and malware protection software
Many of us delay updates because they come right in the middle of our favorite show. But this is one day where you'll have to let the suspense eat away at you a bit longer. First, you have to check to see if your operating system is up-to-date. If that's set, then you can update your protection software and run a scan. And don't forget to invite your other devices to the party. Phones and tablets are also major security risks, so you have to be diligent. Either that, or face the worst horror of all: a day without a phone!
3. Encrypt and backup your data
Hey, you like riddles, right? Hackers do too, but who wants to give them an easy one? Encrypt your data to create the brainiest of all brainteasers. But keep this in mind: even the best brainteaser can be cracked. That’s why it's still important to back up your info on either the cloud or an external hard drive. (Just make sure that everything stays encrypted.)
Why National Computer Security Day is Important
A. It reminds us that we play an active role in computer security
Whether it's a bank account or pics that should never have taken, your personal life is, well, personal. This day is a reminder that, although we deserve to have our privacy protected, we can't only rely on programmers to do the job. Regularly updating anti-virus software, using stronger passwords, and encrypting data are all measures we can take on our own. So let's make sure our records of the bad old days stay in our memories, and not in a stranger's news feed.
B. It shows us that our security issues affect others
This holiday reminds us that, well, viruses spread. So if you link an infected device to your friend or coworker's, you put them at risk. From there, it doesn't take much for an entire network to be compromised. The same warning goes for any funky emails that stumble into your inbox. While you might be tempted to forward a message from Too Good to Be True Inc, be strong and resist the urge. We believe in you!
C. It gives us a new appreciation for security systems engineers
Security systems engineers are unsung heroes. It can't be easy trying to stay one step ahead of hackers, especially when technology changes so quickly. Computer Security Day's the perfect time to show your appreciation for what they do. A thumbs up is kind of cheesy, but sources say that a thank you will do the trick. It won't make the updates on your computer any less annoying, though.