Internet Security: Four Reasons Users Choose Risk and How to Overcome Them

by Sylvia Breau

The risk of monetary loss in the event of a computer security breach is frighteningly high. These days, an unprotected computer is likely to be infected with a pest within 20 minutes of being connected to the Internet. The average computer is checked for weaknesses by unknown parties 17 times a day.

If you are one of the 70% of users who has experienced an Internet-based attack that you were aware of, you probably shudder as you recall the time, money and aggravation it cost you to clean up your computer or reinstall your operating system. The costs are high enough to cause a business to fail. In fact, the majority of businesses that experience data loss or total system failure do fail, usually immediately.

In our work with small businesses and home users, we have observed that people are generally aware of the dangers, but at the same time, up to 90% do not have adequate protections in place. This is a cause for deep concern because of the enormous negative impact these attacks have on individuals and organizations.

It is also cause for curiosity. It’s as if 90% of the homes and businesses in a bad neighborhood weren’t locked up at night: Very risky. It made us wonder why.

So, we started asking. Here is an overview of the responses we got:

  • Response #1: Internet security isn’t achievable because new threats are coming out all the time, so why bother.

  • Response #2: Internet security is too complicated to do anything about.

  • Response #3: It’s easy to recover from an attack. If something happened to me, I would just deal with it.

  • Response #4: It won’t happen to me.
As computer professionals, we’d like to weigh in with our opinion about these responses because if your system is not adequately protected on the Internet, you are at high risk and we’d like to see you move to a low risk category.
  1. For the first response, that Internet security is not achievable: Ninety-nine percent of all reported intrusions occur because of known vulnerabilities or configuration errors. This means that 99% of intrusions are preventable right now, today. Internet security is very achievable.

  2. For the second response, that Internet security is too complicated: Computers certainly can be complicated. However, the right kind of information and support can turn any fearful, confused computer user into a confident, capable one. As the computer industry has matured, computer experts have become better at communicating to end users in clear language. The “complexity gap” is shrinking.

  3. Woe betides the person who persists in the third attitude, that recovering from a security breach is easy. Recovering from a security incident is always costly. It can take up to several days or weeks to recover (if at all). During that time you can expect to pay heavily in system support, business downtime, and serious aggravation.

  4. The fourth response, that “it won’t happen to me,” is a sort of irrational optimism that humans often use as a way to manage fear in a risky world. Unfortunately, it’s a terrible strategy for the online world, because you can be virtually 100% certain it WILL happen to you.
We urge and encourage you to take the steps you need to take to protect and secure your data, your computers and laptops, and all your wireless devices. Being confident is about being prepared. You need computer Internet security and data protection solutions that give you high confidence.

The author specializes in common sense computer security solutions for real people in their homes and small businesses. View recommended solution here. Includes $25,000 identity theft insurance policy.

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