Internet Security Threats and Protection

The Internet may have opened up new doors for businesses & individuals but while that is true, it also presents an insecure channel of exchanging information. This has led to a high risk of fraud and intrusion. But what precisely are some of these internet threats that we face?

Internet security threats

1. Malicious software; A computer can be tricked into downloading and installing malicious software, which comes in various forms such as spyware, botnet, worms, Trojan horses, and viruses.

  • Spyware is a type of malicious software that is used to monitor activity on a computer(s) without the consent of the user and reports to a third party.
  • A botnet is a network of zombie computers that performs malicious tasks on other computers on behalf of its creator.
  • Worms are self-copying malicious programs (malwares) which attack networks. They create network errors and issues for target computers.
  • Ransomware prevents access to a computer network by its owner and demands a ransom be paid to the creator so that restriction can be removed.
  • Computer viruses take over computer networks and are used to steal data.
  • A Trojan horse is software that appears to be harmless in a bid to trick computer users to download it. Its name is drawn from the use of the Trojan horse in the Legend of Troy.

2. Hackers and predators
People have for years dedicated themselves to creating malware as well as other computer security threats. Hackers and predators is a term used to refer to such people – programmers who break into computer systems and networks to destroy, change or steal information for their gain. This form of internet insecurity is sometimes known as cyber-terrorism.

3. Phishing
Phishing occurs when an attacker pretends to be trustworthy, either via a web page or mail. Phishers trick their victims into visiting fake websites via social media, instant messaging, spoof email or other avenues. According to RSA, phishing was responsible for up to $1.5 billion in losses worldwide in 2012.

4. Identity theftOnline threats and Protection
With malicious software, phishing and hackers out there gunning to steal information from computer systems, identity theft is one of the imminent internet threats faced today. If one can access your computer network, then taking information for identity theft is the easy part.

Staying protected

Every time you connect to the internet, you increase the risk of cyber attacks. Passwords, tax records, credit cards and other types of information can be stolen from your computer.

Also, the whole system could be disabled. So how do you ensure that you protect yourself from internet threats?
1. Firewalls
The role of a firewall is to restrict unauthorized network access. It has filters and gateways, which vary from one firewall to another. Firewalls are also responsible for screen traffic, identifying what’s dangerous and blocking it from accessing computer networks.

They create choke points between private and public networks to ensure that only authorized traffic passes through.

2. Anti-virus software
Installing a reputable anti-virus on all computers, PCs, and mobile devices helps protect them against attacks by viruses.

The top ranking AVs these days include Avast, Avira, AVG, Kaspersky Lab and eSET..etc. It’s also important to note that being a fast evolving world, new viruses are built every day and so are new software versions. For this reason, always make a point of ensuring that your anti-virus software is up to date.

3. Scan internet downloads
Any files downloaded from the internet should always be scanned before they are used. This should be done from the central point of your network.

4. Filter email traffic
Ensure that incoming as well as outgoing emails are scanned for viruses. Emails that contain file attachments with the attachments.SCR, COM and.EXE should never be allowed to enter your network as they are often used for spoofing purposes.

The 21st century has seen major advancements in internet technology. However, these advancements are facing critical security challenges. Achieving internet security is a priority today and the above tips can be a perfect place to start.

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Shaukat Ali

Shaukat Ali Brohi a business graduate is an SEO and passionate Blogger, He writes technology and infotainment articles as founder of PiFeed.