Since 81% of global organizations have complained of increased Internet security threats during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that we need to upgrade our internet security to protect ourselves from these dangers.
Internet security protects your internet-based activities and transactions. It falls under the branches of cybersecurity and computer security, which cover topics such as browser safety, online behavior, and network protection.
Many internet threats can put your information at risk. These include viruses, spyware, phishing attacks, and more.
However, there are also many ways to protect yourself from these threats. Don't be a victim of cybercrime - read this guide to learn how to stay safe online!
Common Threats to Internet Security
It is crucial that we educate ourselves on the different types of Internet security threats that exist and how they operate. By doing so, we can better protect ourselves from them.
So let's not waste any more time - arm yourself with the knowledge you need to stay safe online! In the next section, we'll take a closer look at some of the most common Internet security threats.
Malware is a combination of "malicious" and "software," meaning any software that can harm a computer, server, or network. This broad term includes viruses, worms, trojans, and other harmful programs used by hackers with bad intentions. Anything created to damage a system falls under the malware umbrella.
A virus is a harmful, downloadable file that frequently takes the form of code inserted into an application, program, or system. It is then spread by victims who may leave it dormant to replicate itself by modifying other computer programs.
Those files become infected once they've been copied and may travel from one machine to another, as well as corrupt or delete network data.
Ransomware is a form of malware that prevents you from using your computer or viewing certain files on it until a ransom is paid. It's commonly spread as a trojan, which means it's disguised as legitimate software. It locks your system's screen or specific files until you pay up.
A computer worm is a software program that copies itself onto other computers without human interaction. Because it can spread quickly and in large numbers, worms have the potential to cause great damage.
The Trojan horse from Greek mythology and computer Trojans have something in common: they both trick people into a false sense of security. In the story, the Greeks gifted the Horse to the Trojans as an olive branch, but little did they know that Greek soldiers were inside it, ready to invade.
Similarly, computer Trojans may look like helpful programs or be hidden within existing ones. If someone is not careful when installing new software, they may accidentally install malware onto their devices. A trojan virus can delete files, activate other malware hidden on your computer network, and steal valuable data.
Adware is a malicious program that runs on a user's computer without their knowledge or consent. It is often bundled with other legitimate software programs, making it difficult to detect and remove.
It is harmful since "spammy" advertisements flash on the screen continuously, reducing the speed of your computer considerably. Furthermore, these advertisements may lead users to install unintended malware.
Do not mistake malvertising for adware--malvertising is a type of malware that comes from advertisements on legitimate websites, while adware is a type of malware already present on a device. Furthermore, both types of attacks utilize online advertising to inflict damage.
You may be attacked by malvertising if you click on a hacked ad or visit a website with an infected ad and is home to a damaged malicious software installation.
Spyware is a form of malware that infiltrates computers without the user's consent. This is frequently for the purpose of monitoring online activity, collecting login and password information, or gathering sensitive data that may be used for fraudulent purposes.
Fileless malware, as the name suggests, doesn't require any files to be downloaded to infect your device. Rather, this type of malware uses software already built-in or native to devices' operating systems to install and execute malicious activities. Because fileless malware is memory-based instead of file-based, it can be more difficult to detect.
Rootkits have been around since the 1990s, with Linux systems as their initial target. "Root" is another word for an admin or superuser who has access to all files and commands on a Unix/Linux system by default. "Kit" in this context refers to the software that grants said access.
Rootkits are a type of malware that gives cybercriminals control over other people's devices, usually without the victim knowing. They are designed to stay hidden, and they can take control of security software. This means that rootkits can stay on your computer for a long time without you realizing it, causing lots of damage.
The term "botnet" is a shortened form of "robot network." A botnet is a group of computers that have been hacked with malware and programmed to carry out automated activities on the internet without their owners' consent or knowledge.
Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS)
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a deliberately malicious attempt to interfere with the normal traffic of a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming it with an influx of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks are effective since they rely on the participation of several compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic.
Spam is any kind of electronic communication that is sent without consent. This can include email, text messages, or phone calls. Often spam is simply considered harmless and annoying, but some can be malicious. These will often include links that, if clicked on, could install harmful software onto your computer.
The phrase "spam" was inspired by a Monty Python skit in which the actors declare that everyone must eat the food spam, whether they want it or not. Similarly, we are all forced to receive spam emails, whether we like it or not.
Phishing is a term that web developers and hacking groups use to describe the practice of obtaining sensitive data from someone without their consent. The word alludes to the usage of lures to "fish" for this data derived from fishing.
Phishing is a cyber-attack where hackers send out emails that look real but are actually fake. They do this to get people to click on links or attachments so they can steal their personal information or infect their computers with malware.
Cryptojacking is a malicious act where someone uses your computer or mobile device to mine cryptocurrencies without your consent. This unauthorized cryptocurrency mining often occurs through web browser downloads or rogue mobile apps and can affect any type of device, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, and even network servers.
Insecure Wi-Fi, in public and at home
Public Wi-Fi is dangerous because the security on these networks – in coffee shops, shopping malls, airports, hotels, restaurants, and so on – is often lax or non-existent. The lack of security means that cybercriminals and identity thieves can monitor your online activities and steal your passwords and personal information.
Owning the hardware for your home Wi-Fi network lessens the risk of someone spying on your activity. However, there are other threats to consider – in America, internet service providers are legally allowed to sell data about their users.
Internet Security Tactics and Solutions
Staying safe online is about more than knowing what threats exist. It's also about knowing how to defend yourself against those threats.
Fortunately, we have the information you need to stay safe. Below, we'll share some suggestions on how to keep your devices and data secure.
Protect Your Sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
Personal identifiable information (PII) is any data that may be used by a cybercriminal to identify or locate a specific individual. Information such as name, address, phone numbers, birth date, Social Security Number, IP address, location data, and any other physical or digital identity data is considered PII.
Identity theft, fraud, and social engineering attacks are just a few of the illegal activities that may be carried out thanks to this information.
In today's "always-on" world of social media, it's important to be careful about what personal information you share online. It's best to only show the bare minimum about yourself on social media platforms like Facebook.
Review your privacy settings across all your accounts and ensure you aren't sharing sensitive information like your home address or birthdate. Hackers can use this info to their advantage, so it's better to err on the side of caution!
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication is a security measure for websites and email accounts that requires the user to provide two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. This makes it much harder for unauthorized people to gain access.
There are many ways to set up MFA, some of which include using mobile apps, SMS, email, or a physical token.
Careful Browser Selection
Quality browsers will have reliable security measures to protect your computer from hackers, but some might not be as effective. Checking that you're using a secure browser lessens the likelihood of an invasion of your device or network.
Turn on Firewalls
A firewall is a piece of technology that helps keep your computer safe from being accessed by unauthorized users or hackers when you're online. It does this by acting as a barrier between your device and other networks, like the internet.
Most operating systems come with a pre-installed firewall these days, but it's still important to make sure it's turned on and set to run updates automatically so that your security settings are always up-to-date.
Create Strong Passwords and Use Password Managers
The longer your password is, the more difficult it is to crack. Using a password manager - which generates, stores, and manages all of your passwords in one secure online account - will assist you.
A great example of a strong password would be one that is long and difficult for someone else to guess. It uses more than 10 characters with letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols; and includes no obvious personal information or common words.
This password might even be a bit too complicated to remember without a password manager - which underscores why they're so helpful when creating strong passwords in the first place!
Secure your Email
Email security encompasses the methods used to maintain email accounts and messages out of harm's way. Email is regularly employed to spread malware, spam, and phishing attacks, so email security has an extensive part in internet safety.
For additional protection, cryptography can safeguard email messages, such as signing an email message or encrypting its contents or the communication between mail servers.
Keep Your Software and Antivirus Protection Up-To-Date
Antivirus software protects your computer by detecting, quarantining, and/or deleting harmful code to prevent malware from causing harm to your device. When you connect your computer to the web, it exposes itself to new dangers. A virus can easily infect any unprotected computer because viruses thrive on open connections.
Antivirus is like a closed door with a security guard defending against all harmful intruders. It's critical to keep antivirus software up to date since most current programs update automatically in order to stay ahead of the latest online security threats.
Regularly Back-Up Your Data
One often overlooked component of online security is regularly backing up data. Top IT and security professionals follow a rule called the 3-2-1 backup rule. In short, you will maintain three copies of your information on two types of media (an external and local hard drive) as well as one copy saved in an off-site location (like cloud storage).
The Bottom Line
Internet security is critical for everyone in today's world. With the Internet being such a big part of our lives, it's important to take measures to protect ourselves from hackers, malware, and other online threats.
There are many things we can do to stay safe online, and some of the most important include using strong passwords, being careful about what websites we visit, and backing up our data regularly.
Following the tips above can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe from potential harm. Remember, the best defense against online threats is a well-informed user. Stay vigilant and stay safe!
What is privacy and security?
Security protects your information or data from being shared without your permission, while privacy focuses on your right as an individual to control the use and sharing of your personal information.
What is the #1 cybersecurity threat today?
The number one cybersecurity threat today is phishing. Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals send emails or messages masquerading as a reputable company in order to trick people into giving them personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
Who is the world's youngest hacker?
Kristoffer von Hassel (born 2008) is an American youngster who has become known for being the world's youngest-known hacker and for being the youngest "security researcher" featured on Microsoft's Security Techcenter, having exposed a vulnerability.
Do smartphones need antivirus?
While smartphones do not need antivirus software, installing a security app on your device is still a good idea to help protect it from malware and other online threats.
Do I really need a password lock on my phone?
Setting a password or PIN on your device to help protect it from unauthorized access.