Today the Internet connects billions of computers worldwide, and it has become a personification of the real world.
You can meet people, chat, play, shop, do business, watch movies, meet friends, and study using the Internet.
But the bad news is, by personifying or making itself an extension of the natural world, the Internet became vulnerable to the threats we face in the real world, which means your internet safety is at stake.
Today it’s a reality that we face serious threats like identity theft, fraud, etc., on the Internet.
It is an ironic fact that the activities that you think are productive for you, like sharing information, doing research, sending instant messages, and emailing, make your internet infrastructure more vulnerable and fragile.
Each time you turn on your computer and connect to the Internet, you face multiple threats from cybercriminals. According to computer Economics “New security threats such as web attacks, spyware, malicious mobile code, and phishing cost organizations worldwide an estimated $16.7 billion by the close of 2004.”
Based on recent research and analysis, the internet safety threats that we face today on Internet are listed below:
1. Malicious programs
4. Identity fraud
5. Denial of Service Attacks
8. Pornographic content
Malicious programs can be further divided into viruses, Trojans, rootkits, and worms. The primary purpose of these programs is to disrupt the standard functionality of a computer by reprogramming its features and forcing the system to act in a way not facilitated by the administrator or the legal owner.
These programs find their way to the system via email attachments and downloads. Extreme care, therefore, should be taken while downloading files from the Internet. We must use a standard and good quality antivirus to protect our computers from malicious programs. Firewalls also help us safeguard internet safety from these programs.
Spyware and adware are used as spying tools. Keyloggers are also used to obtain confidential information such as passwords, login ids, and PINs stored on our computers. A good quality anti-spyware program must be used, and all attachments must be verified and checked by an antivirus program before downloading to ensure internet safety. Passwords must protect computers. Intrusion detection software must be used.
Hacking comprises one of the most severe threats we face on the Internet. Hackers get into our computers by sending malicious code or spyware. These programs are engineered to transfer the control of our system to the prospective hacker. That person then, in turn, uses the victim’s computer for cybercrime. Extreme care must be taken while downloading files from the Internet. Some websites also act as ‘traps’. The malicious code automatically gets installed on the computer by visiting these websites. Good antivirus, firewall, and intrusion detection software can help us protect our computers from hackers.
Identity theft or identity fraud means somebody steals your id and password and then uses your id and password for illegal purposes. Strong passwords and anti-spyware programs can protect you from identity fraud. Encryption must be used while transferring confidential information to guarantee internet safety.
Denial Of Service Attacks:
Denial of service attacks or distributed denial of service attacks is generally targeted at websites and servers. The primary purpose of these attacks is to knock off a website or server and make it unavailable for its intended users. The attacker uses a host of computers called bots to send multiple ping requests to the server, eventually knocking it offline due to the large volume of submissions.
Phishing (what is a phishing email?):
Phishing is the process of gaining confidential and valuable information by camouflaging a fake website to look like a trustworthy or authentic website. Users are lured via instant messaging or email to enter personal information into a fake site that looks exactly like the original one. This information then can be used to harm the users. To protect yourself from phishing, you must verify the website’s authenticity before entering your data by checking the certificate and looking for the SSL connection symbol.
Spam (what is a spam filter?):
Spam means using electronic networks like instant messaging and email to send unsolicited bulks of information to multiple users indiscriminately. According to the European Union Internal Market commission, junk email and spam cost Internet users 10 billion Euros every year. Spam also consumes the email service resources and is a waste of time for everyone, making it a threat to internet safety and your computer.
Pornographic content is exceptionally harmful to children. Websites containing pornographic material are also a leading cause of spreading malicious programs which can damage your computers and put internet safety at stake. Using parental control features found in antivirus programs and operating systems, we can block access to these websites and protect our computers.