Improve Cyber Security. Install a "Human Firewall."

Improve Cyber Security. Install a “Human Firewall.”

Firewalls are security mechanisms through which Internet packets must travel.  These computer security devices can either be hardware or software.  They can also be a combination of both.    The purpose of firewalls is to prevent any unauthorized access to computers and networks by threats such as a virus or other malware.

The hardware version of a firewall is usually placed between the connection to the Internet and the network or computer.  The software version can reside in the computer or the hardware device itself.

How Does It all Work?

Packets of data come in from the Internet.  Each contains both a source and destination address as well as a “payload” section.  All packets are examined as they pass from the Internet and into the firewall.  A properly configured firewall only lets legitimate Internet packages through and blocks unauthorized messages that could be spam or malicious code.

Both the hardware and software firewalls work at the speed of computers.  But there is another “firewall” that can help stop the threat of cyber crime.

What Is a Human Firewall?   

A human firewall is different.  Well-educated computer workers are urgently aware of the need to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.  Fully prepared humans, schooled in security best practices, can be very effective “firewalls” against intruders.

Why Not Create a Human Firewall?

A human firewall can stop a threat or close down a vulnerability by simply handling a threat in a proper manner.  For example, a virus can be downloaded onto a machine or network if just one person falls victim to a deceitful “phishing attack” and get through to compromise a computing infrastructure.

What Should the “Human Firewall” Know and Do?

A “properly configured” human firewall should be thoroughly aware of security best practices that include:

  • Avoid clicking on unknown links or questionable websites
  • Avoid downloading software or apps from unknown sources
  • Maintain a secure work space
  • Disallow the uploading or downloading of unauthorized files or software
  • Creating and changing robust passwords
  • Don’t allow others to use your computer
  • Lock your keyboard when temporarily stepping away from your computer
  • Terminate your connection when ending an Internet session
  • Don’t share storage media with others
  • Be suspicious of emails asking for confidential information
  • Disable services you aren’t using on your computer
  • Encrypt critical information
  • Comply with security policies

Summary

The human component in cyber security can be the weakest link.  Insiders are at the top of the list of threats.  Many exploits aim at the employee seeking to gain entry into the system through them.

People who have access to your system and information truly must become a part of a “human firewall” against the cyber criminal.

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