As more things and operations are performed online, Internet security and awareness are increasing by the day. People are continually looking for ways to protect themselves from a myriad of threats, hazards, and dangers related to the web.
The numbers are alarming: more than two-thirds of the American population have been victims of some form of hacking or cyber attack.
What is Internet Security?
It is the conglomerate of terms, situations, and recommendations for safety and awareness when using the web. It is a broad issue that encompasses things like browser security, transactions, data safety, privacy, email security, authentication methods, password management, and more.
As hackers’ attack and cause damage (sometimes irreparable;) individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments’ awareness go up, and Internet security becomes a priority. Protecting online transactions, information, data, and files become a very sensitive issue.
Here are some notorious threats associated with the online world:
Malicious software: It can be defined as any software that disrupts or alters the performance of a computer or device. Numerous times, the user is tricked into clicking, downloading or accessing suspicious links that contain some form of the virus, Trojan horse, spyware, or worm. Some malicious software examples or types are:
- Viruses; programs that infect other files or structures on a computer to steal data.
- Worms; replicable programs that perform malicious tasks in a network.
- Ransomware; a malware that “hijacks” a computer or device and threatens to erase, permanently lock or publish information unless a “ransom” is paid.
- Spyware; software that spies on a specific user’s activity to report the information to a third party without the former’s consent.
- Trojan horse; a seemingly harmless software that users download without knowing the possible consequences.
Denial-of-service attacks: Known as DDoS attacks, they are shady techniques that involve attempts to “take down” a server with the purposely redirected traffic flow that overloads the system. The intention is making a certain offering or service unavailable.
Phishing: It is an attack in which hackers pretend to be a known entity or company to trick users into providing personal or financial information to use them for their own benefit.
Smishing: It is the same as phishing, but done via SMS (SMiShing.)
Internet Security Recommendations
Intelligent password management
If hackers find themselves in front of extremely basic and simple passwords such as “123456”, “abc123;” or your name or birthday, the job will be so much easier for them. At least put up a fight!
Users need to diversify their password catalog, especially for sensitive activities such as online banking and shopping. Try mixing up letters, numbers, and special characters such as points, commas, asterisks, and exclamation points.
Creativity is also recommended. Try coming up with things that no one would ever guess, even if they perform a hundred attempts.
Some of the biggest and most widely recognized online networks and enterprises are implementing this method. It consists of asking the user more than one requisite to enter its account. It is often a code sent to its phone service, in addition to the already required password.
Be responsible for what you reveal to the world
Everything starts with yourself. Be careful what you share on your social media accounts: they are excellent tools for interactions with the community, but they are also favorite spots for hackers to gather information about potential victims.
Try to avoid going public with specific details about yourself, such as your address, your email account, and your banking information, as harmless as it may seem.
The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) provides access to the web’s many pages and sites. However, the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is far safer, as the communication between the user and the page is encrypted.
Users prioritize HTTPS sites for sensible data sharing and exchanges. You can check for the HTTPS in the address bar with a padlock symbol.
Numerous travelers share their current location in social media as a way to engage and interact with their friends or followers. However, cybercriminals are finding out that you are not home and they can plan to break in without you even knowing it until you come back.
Also, there is a growing importance in not leaving your computer alone, especially if you are traveling. It may result in someone swooping in and stealing sensible data.
Try to avoid public Wi-Fi
Going to a café or a library and having free Wi-Fi can be a blessing. However, be very careful, as it can also be a pain: there are numerous hackers lurking around public hotspots, and they are ready to pounce and victimize unaware users.
A frequently used tool for data privacy, VPN (Virtual Private Networks) are encryption tools that reroute the user’s traffic and send it to remote servers managed by the VPN company or service provider. The goal is to keep the information encrypted to fend off hackers, governmental surveillance agencies, online advertisers, and other prying eyes on the web.
However, as they can make users anonymous and often come with anti-spyware or anti-malware features, VPNs are perfect tools for Internet security.