Serious cyber-attack threat compounded by lack of individuals' online security

Jun 04, 2014 by Robert Beahan

The major computer virus that could give hackers access to sensitive information is a serious threat, as hundreds of thousands of people have little or no security software, according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Hugh Boyes, the IET's cyber security lead said: "This is a very serious threat compounded by the fact that too many people have limited security protection on their computers.

"We would encourage Microsoft and Apple to maintain 'forever' security support for their old systems. Machines running these older systems could pose a serious weakness and providing on-going support will be lower-cost compared to fixing things afterwards."

"Unencrypted passwords should never be stored on computers in case they are accessed by Gameover Zeus or another aggressive malware program. If there is a need to store passwords, then use a good password manager application, which backs up and shares with your smartphone or tablet computer.

"One piece of valuable advice that is rarely given is that people should have two separate accounts on their PC – one standard account for normal day-to-day use and one administrator account which should only be used when changes need to be made to the machine, such as installing software or adding printers. The administrator account should not be used for web browsing or accessing emails. This action can prevent approximately 90 per cent of current exploits and attacks."

Useful tips from the IET include:

  • Install internet from companies listed on Get Safe
  • Do not open emails unless you are 100 per cent certain that they are authentic, i.e. you know the sender and the email is from them
  • Make sure your internet security software is up-to-date and switched on at all times
  • Make sure your Windows operating system has the latest Microsoft updates applied. If running Microsoft XP, remember that this operating system is no longer being supported and all home and small business users should move onto an alternative operating immediately to reduce the risk of malware infection
  • Make sure your software programs have the latest manufacturers' updates applied
  • Make sure all of your files including documents, photos, music and bookmarks are backed up on a separate machine
  • Never store passwords on your computer in case they are accessed by Gameover Zeus or another aggressive malware program.

Explore further: Tech Tips: A guide to upgrading, using XP computer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US warns on use of flawed Microsoft browser

Apr 28, 2014

A US government cybersecurity watchdog warned computer users Monday against using a version of the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser with a security hole that could allow hackers in. ...

Facing the Windows XP apocalypse? Here are some options

Mar 26, 2014

Are you ready for the "XP Apocalypse" on April 8? That's when Microsoft Corp. plans to stop issuing security updates for the aging, but still-popular XP version of its flagship Windows operating system, which ...

Recommended for you

Survey reveals sorry state of European cybersecurity

Feb 27, 2015

The European Commission's annual Eurobarometer Cyber Security Survey, the third edition of which was recently released, is a substantial survey of more than 27,000 respondents from 28 countries. It contains intere ...

US spymaster warns over low-level cyber attacks

Feb 27, 2015

A steady stream of low-level cyber attacks poses the most likely danger to the United States rather than a potential digital "armageddon," US intelligence director James Clapper said on Thursday.

Cyber thugs taking data hostage

Feb 26, 2015

Marriage therapist Valerie Goss turned on her computer one day and found that all of her data was being held hostage.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.