What is Layered Security

Drawing of Castle
Wikipedia Public Domain

Earlier, I mentioned “layered security,” and felt it would be good to expand what I mean when I use that term.  Layered security, to me, means that you do not depend on one method of protecting your computer, laptop, or phone.

Often I have heard people say, “I have an antivirus program, so I am protected.” Well, yes you have protection, but an antivirus program is not a 100% guarantee that your computer will not get a virus. Why? Because it is a cat and mouse game when it comes to virus protection. Antivirus companies work hard to make better ways to stopping viruses,  but the problem is that there are people working hard to make better, sneakier, and stronger viruses.

Am I saying don’t get an antivirus program? No! Just don’t act like bulletproof when you read emails, downloading, and surfing the web. One of the first layers of security I recommend is being smart and on the defensive when using your computer. (More on this in another post. Also see my post on WOT – Web of Trust.) Note: MAC users, despite what you might thinks, MACs get viruses too! See http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/flashback_trojan_responsible_nearly_600000_mac_attacks_and_counting**

Another layer I always recommend is patching your software aka installing updates. While most of the newer OS (Operating System like Windows) have the auto update setting turned on, your other programs may not automatically update. So it is a good idea to check your software vendor’s website from time to time to see if there is an update for your program.

So now you have three layers of security, not just one protecting your computer. In the future I will share with you even more.

** Footnote: Don’t use more than one antivirus program. In other words, three antivirus programs are not better than one. Just like taking more than the prescribed medication can be bad for you, too many antivirus programs can be hazardous for your computer.



Suspicious URLS’s and Files?

One of my new tools in my layered security blanket is a site called virsustotal. What is great about virus_totalthis website is that you can take a link in an email, copy and paste it into the search field and then scan it without harming your computer. (Note: you have to click on the scan URL link below the scan button to switch from the default scan file mode.)

The other plus is you can download a file from a website, and have it scanned by not one many different antivirus vendors.

virus_total_2It should be noted that this website application does not “guarantee” that the program you download is not a virus, worm, trojan, or malware. In fact no antivirus program can provide 100% protection, but it does provide another layer of security.