With the world becoming more interconnected through the Internet, one downside has been the widespread invasion of malicious software on your desktop computers and laptops. Falling prey to any of a myriad of threats can result in potentially serious damage to your data as well as to your privacy. With so many risks lurking in cyberspace, it can sometimes be overwhelming to determine the right tools to secure your desktop. A good place to start is desktop security software that can avert potential risks from both emails and web browsing.

Various surveys have shown that neither technology nor policies alone can offer an effective defense for your computer. Intrusions take place despite the presence of firewalls and similar intrusion-detection software. If you want to develop a comprehensive approach for desktop and information security, you need to embrace both human and technical dimensions.

The first aspect is ‘people’.  You need awareness and enforcement of certain policies on desktop usage. With the right policies, the following threats can be eliminated:

  • Using programmes that send passwords in an unsecured way.
  • Bad password management, such as using weak passwords, sharing passwords, never changing passwords, or placing passwords down in easily-seen areas (such as on a note on your desk).
  • Guest accounts or open accounts.
  • Social engineering attacks.
  • Viruses and other malicious code attacks.
  • Unsolicited email attachments.
  • Downloading software from untrusted sites.
  • Installing software from untrusted sources.
  • Unattended desktops, without screen lock.
  • Bad desktop management, such as no anti-virus software, outdated virus definitions, no backups, no desktop locks, and open folder shares without password protection, etc.

The second aspect is ‘technology’. Under this category, there are quite a number of technologies that can be implemented to support desktop security, such as:

  • Centralised management.
  • Password protection.
  • Single sign-on.
  • Desktop locks.
  • Virus detection.
  • File encryption.
  • Personal firewall.

Desktop security is a practice of process, people and technology. It is not a simple system, where it has specific input, process and output. The process consists of protection, detection and response. It is a continuous journey. The only time you will realise that you need good desktop security is when viruses attack and destroy your files, or when confidential data is lost forever. We have the option of acting early to prevent such an eventuality before it is too late. After all, prevention is always better than cure!

Stay tuned and learn more about the importance of desktop security next week!