Google’s ?security princess?: Don?t depend too much on anti-virus software

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By Edd K. Usman

A security guru from Internet giant Google has advised Filipinos who go online to avoid becoming overly complacent just because they have an anti-virus (AV) software in theirs PCs and devices.

Google's 'security princess' Parisa Tabriz conducts a video conference from South Korea for local journalists at the Google Philippines headquarters in Taguig City
Google’s ‘security princess’ Parisa Tabriz conducts a video conference from South Korea for local journalists at the Google Philippines headquarters in Taguig City

Keeping yourself safe and secure online is still the best antidote against hackers and attackers, according to Parisa Tabriz, who is dubbed as “security princess” of Google.

In a videoconference with local journalists, Tabriz warned that an AV software may even put online users in danger. “Anti-virus software is definitely not a security panacea, and it’s actually been shown to leave your computer more at risk if the anti-virus software itself is written poorly,” she said.

Tabriz, an American whose mother is from Poland and her father from Iran, conducted the remote press briefing on the occasion of Google?s release of a 22-page booklet titled “Good to Know” to serve as a guide to staying safe and secure online.

Responding to a question from a reporter regarding the motives of hackers, Tabriz said online attackers are not motivated purely by monetary considerations. “I don’t think money is the only objective. People are complicated,” she pointed out. “Information is another motivation, to get access to information.”

She said Google intends to keep the dialogue going to help educate and inform people of the risks online.

“It is important to share what we are doing, talking to a lot of people. We do it through our blog. We publish research papers, through academic conferences, speak in industry conferences, making our source code available and, in general, sharing so that other people can use it if useful to them,” said Tabriz.

The executive shared her top four security tips:

? No. 1: Don’t reuse or share same password.

? No. 2: Don’t log in on shared computers and verify your account security settings.

? No. 3: Be mindful of all software or applications you install on your computer and phone.

? No. 4: Keep your software up to date.

In Google’s “Good to Know,” the booklet noted the many opportunities arising from the use of the Internet but it could also be a dangerous place.

Google Tips

To full take advantage of the benefits of going online, the guide said it is vital for everyone to stay safe and secure.

“There are many kinds of cybercrimes. A criminal might try to gain access to your information — like your email password, banking details or social security number,” it said.

Other variations of cybercrimes, it added, involves criminals foisting a scam, selling fake goods, or forcing one to do perform things that will cost money.

“Or, like a thief who steals a getaway car without caring who the owner is, they (cybercriminals) could want your computer or a website you own as a tool to commit cybercrime,” the company warned.

Saying that “passwords are the first line of defense against cyber criminals, Google advised on how to come up with a strong password:

? Use a unique password for each of your important accounts like email and online banking.

? Use a long password made up of numbers, letters, and symbols.

? Many services will send an email to you at a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and an account you can still access.

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