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Data Privacy & Security Matters to Every Computer User

Daily, information in digital formats are transferred from device users to digital devices via mobile phones, PCs or across the web using the internet. Combination of Data gives information and these brings us to the importance of data.

Data can be in form of images, Audio or even Audio Visuals. Their storage location are very important based on the data owner. The privacy of the data depends on the user (assuming the user is shrewd) or left to remain on easy locations. With personal computer (PC) being the most used electronic device in the world of Data computation, carriage and sharing, everybody stands the risk of compromising Data, but every PC user should answer the question, “Do I really have any data to secure?”, this question is often answered by some PC users as “I have nothing to be kept secret, anybody can use my computer or access my computer”

Below are data that are to be kept secured:

  1. Files that may contain passwords for device(s), websites or Network connections.
  2. Your bank details – giving the complexity of the banking system these days.
  3. Documents that relates to your academic career.
  4. Personal projects, visions, goals, plans etc.; these are to be kept private and secured.

In this context, Privacy refers to keeping items in your PC accessible only to you and elected few. Security is making sure stored files in your PC cannot be stolen or is a way of preventing harm being done to stored files (information).

For every basic PC user, it is necessary to know how to use the preinstalled operating system (OS) both in organizing, personalizing or securing data. Over 87% of computer users make use of windows operating system to run their daily lives and such gives room for easy use of operating interface for both the good and bad users of PC. Microsoft made special provisions for securing and personalizing windows with utilities such as:

i) Bitlocker ii) User Account Control (UAC) iii) Users Account Manager  iv) Windows CardSpace etc.

I’d like to talk briefly about the above mentioned security programs before going into the topic of areas of exposure to data compromise

  1. Bitlocker: This utility is used for an entire drive encryption that requires you to enter password to access data in a given drive (be it permanent or removable, even flash drives are included), and allows you to printout the drive encryption codes on paper. It is very powerful for securing data. It is available on windows 7 and later versions. Using this program is good but it’s important to keep passwords and codes safe
  2. User Account Control (UAC): It is a technology and security infrastructure introduced by Microsoft starting with windows vista to later OS version. It helps to prevent making critical changes to the computer and calls for administrative privilege to continue an action especially when it comes to installation of unsigned programs. This is a pop up you see when you try installing a program or trying to make changes to the computer. It might be annoying to some people but it is very important to stop running malware.
  3. User Account Manager (UAM): Managing users in windows is very important in privacy and security in relation to data sharing. With this provision a computer can have many users with different privilege assigned to each by the administrator. Not to go too far, if you share your PC with other people you may consider creating an account for them. By default two account can be assigned, Standard User and Administrator. On the other hand there is an open account known as the Guest account which you can turn on/off, I advise against turning it on at all because of the hacking activities discovered happening via this account. Using UAM each standard user can only apply changes and security to only his/her account, but data are visible to all administrators and inaccessible to other standard users. There is more to UAM, visit Microsoft website.
  4. CardSpace: Stores passwords and other powerful credentials that you can just submit to website that allows it. I have only used it in windows 7 but invisible in windows 8, though the technology has been improved am still studying it for use across PCs and use on websites.

That been said, now let’s talk about how you get your data unprotected or compromised

  1. Wi-Fi: The use of adhoc pc-2-pc sharing can get you exposed to security threats when you use an open file sharing settings. Ensure the use of passwords to share data or use third party software to do this.
  2. Installation of Software: Installation of unsigned software can create holes within the security perimeter of your firewall. Always install signed software programs and programs you need.
  • Drivers installation: Drivers run and maintain your Hardware, getting the exact drivers is very important while failure to do this may cause your computer to crash, this may be disastrous to both the computer and the contained data. Go to the Original Electronic Manufacturer for your computer website for downloads.
  1. Virus Attack: You may get your data breached by installation of malware, adware and even spyware. Just be mindful of what you download from the internet, make use of Antivirus and ensure Virus Definition time to time update.

If you don’t know some of this stuffs, you have to learn them, though, this may not apply to basic computer users since they don’t involve in complex computing requiring knowledge of security measures, but if you are a standard user of PC make sure you contact your technician sometimes for some assistance or let’s do it for you right on our homepage

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