How do Security Experts Protect their Systems?

How do Security Experts Protect their Systems?

The results of a recent pair of surveys conducted by Google will allow everyone to be able to protect their systems just like the pros do.  In a new paper entitled “…no one can hack my mind”: Comparing Expert and Non-Expert Security Practices” Google elucidates the results of questions posed to 231 security experts and 294 users who are not experts in security.  In a post on their Online Security Blog, Google researchers summarized the findings of the study in a simple infographic.

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Of the top five online security practices of each group, there is only one that overlaps. The principle practices of the experts include deploying unique passwords and storing them in a password manager, utilizing two-factor authentication, and regularly completing software updates. Software updates, the study has found, are viewed by some as being a risk to security—however, as Google emphasizes, they are “the seatbelts of online security; they make you safer, period.” The non-experts surveyed relied more upon frequently changing passwords and only visiting websites they were familiar with.

One major revelation from this study is that “42% of non-experts vs. only 7% of experts said that running antivirus software was one of the top three three [sic] things they do to stay safe online. Experts acknowledged the benefits of antivirus software, but expressed concern that it might give users a false sense of security since it’s not a bulletproof solution.” The installation of anti-virus software should represent a single element of a range of precautionary measures, not the totality of protective steps taken.

This study has effectively demonstrated that conventional wisdom may not always the best; that widespread practices might not be the most helpful. Everyone should be concerned about keeping the integrity of their systems and information intact, and following these recommendations will help non-experts be protected just like the experts.

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