When users go online, their personal information may be
exposed in a number of different ways. For this reason, Internet security procedures
should be understood and practiced by anyone who accesses the Internet.
Common Threats Faced
The most well-known threats to Internet security are
computer viruses. A virus is a
self-replicating program that infects a device and makes a number of
undesirable changes. Some viruses may attack the operating system of a device
rendering it useless. Other viruses may delete data from within the hard drive.
There are a multitude of known computer viruses, each with varying degrees of
Spyware is another common type of malicious software. Some spyware
tracks and monitors Internet usage for marketing purposes. The most dangerous spyware
may include key loggers. These record and transmit everything that a user types.
Hackers can then use this information to access a users accounts and
perpetrate identity theft and fraud.
How Users can Protect
Users can protect themselves by using the following Internet
firewall – A firewall can help keep a network secure by controlling
incoming and outgoing traffic by analyzing data-packets and using a predetermined
set of rules. It can be hardware or software-based. Often, one can be found
built directly into the users operating system. Additionally, many broadband
routers have rudimentary firewall capabilities built in.
and anti-spyware software This software will analyze programs and files
as they are downloaded on to the users system. Users should also be sure to
run frequent scans of their entire computer system to check for malware that
may have slipped through, or that was not yet identified by the software. It is
crucial that users keep their software up-to-date as new viruses are frequently
developed and identified.
the ability to run scripts without permission – some Web browsers will
allow users to block scripting. Because scripting is needed for infected or
malicious websites to install code onto a users computer,
disabling this ability will serve to protect users.
mobile devices for the presence of unauthorized software additions Users
may occasionally be prompted to update an application on their mobile device
that they do not remember installing. This may be a sign that their device has
been infected. Users are advised to periodically look through the applications
on their devices and delete any that are unimportant or that they do no use.
third-party cookies Most Web browsers make it possible for users to block
cookies. While most cookies present no threat to the user, a few can. Blocking
the cookies can provide a bit of security to a user.
open suspicious emails Viruses and spyware can be embedded within an
email. Sometimes, hackers will send an email that appears to be from a known
source. Within the email will be a link. Clicking on the link can infect a users
computer and present a security risk. The link may also be a phishing scheme
that will trick users into entering usernames and passwords into a bogus site.
strong passwords Users are advised to use strong passwords that include capital
and lower case letters as well as numbers and special symbols. People should
not use passwords that are easy to guess, such and names of family members or
Online Security Photo
By TBIT from Pixabay