The Security of Your Computer Should Always Be a Priority
It is virtually impossible to go throughout your day without interacting with at least one computer. As technology has advanced, computers have become more and more commonplace throughout the world. While, in the past, they were mostly used by big universities, large corporations, and the government, computers quickly found their place in the homes of most of the world. Even your smartphone is a small supercomputer that fits in your pocket.
Computers are what keeps us connected. We use our computers to bank, do work, go to school, and connect with our loved ones all from the comfort of our own home. Most schools expect their students to have access to the internet in some way or another. So much of our lives are connected to computers and the internet. However, these advancements in technology also come with a fair share of dangers.
Even before the first home computer, viruses and malware have made themselves known to computer users. They have threatened the security and privacy of computer owners for years. With this threat lingering and so much of our lives tied to computer use, wouldn’t it make sense to make security a priority?
That is why in 1988, Computer Security Day was established on November 30th every year. Computer Security Day reminds everyone in the country how much of a priority protecting your computer and the private information on it is. Tech Critic encourages all of you to participate in ensuring your computers are protected this holiday season.
The History of Computer Security Day
Before computers became household items, there have been a number of breaches in cybersecurity. Even before the internet, plenty of security threats plagued computers.
On November 2, 1988, A group of researchers at Cornell University discovered an unknown virus within their computer symptoms. The virus, known as the “Morris worm,” had spread within hours of its initial discovery, invading several other university systems. Eventually, it made its way to the ARPANET, the precursor to today’s internet.
Almost a week after this incident, two computer experts in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) suggested creating a group with the sole purpose of being available 24/7 to respond to these kinds of attacks. Eventually, on November 14th, a partnership between the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and Carnegie Mellon University established the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). In 2003, CERT partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create the National Cyber Awareness System.
Computer Security Day was established after the “Morris worm” virus spread throughout several computer systems and the ARPANET. It is a reminder to everyone to be proactive in ensuring the safety and privacy of your computer.
Officials established it in the middle of the holiday season for a reason. People are typically more focused on the holidays and holiday shopping than they are on their own cybersecurity. By placing Computer Security Day right after Thanksgiving, it ensures that cybersecurity remains at the front of people’s minds.
Other Cyber Attacks
While the “Morris worm” virus certainly sparked quite a response regarding computer safety, it was not the only cyber-attack in history. There have been numerous instances where individuals all across the world saw their cybersecurity threatened and attacked over numerous decades. We would like to discuss some of the most infamous computer viruses in history:
- Creeper: Considered the very first computer virus in history, “Creeper” was discovered in March 1971. The virus displayed the message, “I’m a creeper, catch me if you can!” on computer screens. However, “Creeper” was not malware. It didn’t hurt any computers, steal information, destroy data, or anything malicious. A programmer merely created it to show that a self-duplicating program could be made.
- MyDoom: In 2004, the MyDoom virus was spread, which was able to create a backdoor into any victim’s computer. It had two triggers. One caused it to begin a denial of service (DoS) attack in February of that year, while the other stopped it. It would spread through email and peer-to-peer networks. This virus caused $38.5 billion in damage.
- WannaCry: A malware, potentially originating from North Korea, called WannaCry spread across the world, infecting computers in over 150 countries. WannaCry was ransomware, encrypting user’s files and demanding payment as a ransom to unlock them. It requested cryptocurrency. The malware kicked off thousands of hospitals in the U.K., threatening the safety of many.
There have been countless attacks throughout history, even many taking place in the year 2019.
Ensuring Your Security
Since Computer Security Day’s inception, technology has advanced to new heights. There have been countless advancements in computer technology since then. When the “Morris worm” virus first spread, it wasn’t very common for people to have their own personal computer. Now, many people own several computers. You may have a computer for work, personal use, and school. Your smartphone also counts as a type of computer.
The risks are so much greater than they ever were. With so much of our personal information stored on computers now, it only makes sense that we take our privacy and security online more seriously. There are countless things you can do to protect your computer:
- Install and continuously run an antivirus and malware protection software
- Keep your operating system up to date
- Always have strong passwords and never share your passwords with anyone
- Occasionally update your passwords after several months
- Consistently encrypt and backup any data you have on your computer
- Secure your wireless network
- Consistently check your computer for malware or viruses
The world of computers and the internet continue to advance at exponential rates. It can be incredibly difficult for the average computer user to completely understand the scope of the internet and how it works. However, you can still take the necessary steps to properly protect your computer, identity, and information. Computer Security Day is a yearly reminder of just how important taking a proactive approach is to your cybersecurity. Tech Critic encourages you to observe Computer Security Day and share it with your loved ones.