The Digital Age has brought forth advancements in technology more so than any other era in history. Unfortunately, along with all the positive precipitations by such advancements, their negative by-products are on the rise, the most debilitating of which is cyber crime.
The growth of cyber crime has paralleled the growth of the digital industry. In fact, one could argue that the people and methods behind cyber crime have grown to be more sophisticated and their evolution much faster-paced than anticipated. So, how does one protect themselves from this virtual onslaught? LA Electronic crime statues are a must read in this regard. Now that everyone is tied at the hip to numerous devices that have been marketed to help them stay connected, how does a person increase their defenses to stop their lives from being turned upside down, and how does one do this with little-to-no knowledge of anything “tech”?
The good news is that there is one simple thing that everyone can do in order to stop viruses, malware, worms and other threats from taking over. In this particular scenario, the best offense is a great defense and it’s as simple as installing an anti-virus software.
Why the stress on “AND?” Because having an anti-virus program alone is simply not enough. When waging war, the worst attitude to have is that of complacency. Cyber criminals are constantly trying to better their “products” and with an enemy that committed to disrupting the status quo, the rest of the world should be just as dedicated when it comes to their defenses. Your anti-virus is a lock, but locks can be picked, and so to minimize the chances of that, you have to change and upgrade your locks on a regular basis, and this is where updating your anti-virus comes in.
There is an assumption that all anti-virus software comes with auto-update features. Even if most of them do, you would need to tick a box that actually allows them to which usually appears during (or immediately after) installation. Sometimes though, in the absence of a prompt, you would actually have to find it on your own by accessing the Settings or Properties of the program. Any decent anti-virus software will require your permission to auto-update because they need it to “access” your computer in order to download and run the necessary updates. You may also opt for any cloud antivirus software to manage automatic virus updates through cloud computing. Though it may seem redundant to most people, this simple task of clicking “Accept” or ticking the box reiterates the fact that having the program is half the battle. You decide what to download, what to click, which e-mails to open, what sites to go visit, all of which, ultimately means, you have to stay on top of what you do on your computer and be cautious about the choices you make, in order to set up a credible first line of defense.
Now that it’s been established that YOU are the other half of the equation, let’s move on to another topic that falls under the umbrella of Updating Your Anti-Virus. “Ticking the box” is merely the first step, but having auto-update in place does not create a very strong protective barrier. Unless your anti-virus update comes with push updates (updates are downloaded as soon as they are released), manual forced updates need to be executed as often as possible. The problem with most auto-updates is that they are usually sent at fixed intervals, so any modifications to the software, additions to virus/malware/worm list and so on are collated over a set period and then sent in one go. In the time it takes to collect everything, cyber criminals would have already rendered the updates useless, and in fact, could’ve even developed more advanced malware. If your anti-virus software allows you to determine how often it will check for updates, set it to the one with the smallest interval between updates, but chances are there isn’t that feature so you have to take it upon yourself to update your anti-virus more frequently.
Update your anti-virus manually through your anti-virus website. All you need to know is which version you’re running and then you can download updated virus definitions and such onto your computer. Below is a list of the most commonly used anti-virus software (as per the site ComputerHope) for your reference. Suffice to say, everyone should do this as often as humanly possible so as to make it less as a “have-to” and more as part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth helps prevent cavities, updating your anti-virus helps keep cyber criminals at bay.
|Trend Micro PC-cillin||http://www.trendmicro.com/download/pattern.asp|
FBI Partnerships in New Orleans
The FBI has partnered with several groups in New Orleans in order to tackle the growth of cyber crime:
- Louisiana Joint Terrorism Task Force
- New Orleans Field Intelligence Group
- Innocent Images Task Force
- New Orleans InfraGard Chapter
- New Orleans Violent Crime Task Force (NOVCTF)
- New Orleans Gang Task Force (NOGTF)
(More information can be found in the FBI government’s website.)
Your Role as a Citizen to Prevent Cyber Crime
Every minute, every day that passes, new viruses, malware, worms, scams, etc. are being created. Going toe-to-toe with cyber criminals doesn’t necessarily mean having to take up advanced programming. Safety is more about being aware of your surroundings, however virtual, and taking full advantage of the deterrents widely available. Granted, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to places where you can get viruses removed from your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone at little cost, but why risk losing files, strangers getting access to sensitive information, identity theft, etc. In the war against cyber-crime, there is no greater and more effective weapon than prevention.