In daily life, NSA is not your main problem


Lately I’ve had several discussions with customers and friends about online security (“Cyber Security”). I noticed that there are quite a few misconceptions out there, and I’d like to share my “two cents”, just to put things a bit into perspective.

1) Misconception 1: “Protection is useless, NSA gets it anyway”
In daily life, NSA is not the problem. Obviously, there’s a massive political problem regarding NSA, but in daily operations, this will usually not affect you or your business.
Your problem are the countless hackers and “script kiddies’ out there who permanently harvest the internet in order to get… well… whatever they can get. By following some basic rules and implementing some basic concepts, you can build a highly effective protection shield.

2) Misconception 2: “I’m not important enough, so they won’t waste time on me”.
The contrary is true. Private people and small businesses are considered the perfect prey, because their protection levels are usually (ridiculously?) low.
Don’t think of an attacker like somebody sitting in front of a laptop, attacking precisely YOU! Most attacks are fully automated processes by programs that “crawl” through the internet, searching for weak computers. Infecting standard computers is a standard process that runs in most cases automatically, without a hacker even looking at it. By following some basic rules… Oh, I said that before? Well, it’s still true.

3) Misconception 3: “I have nothing to hide”
That’s totally irrelevant. The hacker’s target is not to blackmail you with stuff you did in the past (that would be far too much work).
Their targets are:

  • to steal valuable information (like login credentials, credit card numbers etc.) for obvious purposes
  • “Social engineering”, i. e. to get you doing stuff, like clicking on dangerous links, answering fishy emails and stuff alike
  • convert your computer into a “zombie”, which means an attacker uses your computer to attack and infect other computers.

Of course there’s much more to it, but as always, I try to keep things as simple as possible.
I’ve been giving a few presentations lately about that topic. If you are interested, feel free to have a look at the slide show I’m using for this presentation

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Should you have any questions, or comments, please let me know (or post them below), I gladly provide more information.

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