In today’s digital landscape, many of our daily activities rely on using the internet. On any given day people communicate, entertain themselves, and complete financial and work-related tasks online. This results in a lot of data and sensitive information constantly being shared over the internet. The internet, for the most part, is secure, but there can be some exceptions. Doing anything online, comes with the risk of intrusion by hackers and cybercriminals, making internet security a top priority for individuals and businesses alike.
At its core, internet security consists of various tactics one can implement to protect their activities and transactions conducted over the internet. These tactics are meant to safeguard users from threats such as hackers gaining access to our computer systems, emails, or websites; malicious software that can infect and wreak havoc on systems; and identity theft by hackers who steal personal data such as bank account information and credit card numbers – mostly through phishing attacks.
We aren’t helpless though – far from it. As a basis, for all threats that involve the internet, we should always aim to:
Through the use of various software and know-how, we can protect ourselves from ever experiencing an online security threat. One of the best weapons is knowledge; identifying a possible threat beforehand is essential to prevention.
Sometimes you can’t prevent an attack or a lapse in judgement leads to a break in security. During these times, it is important to detect the threat before it can cause damage. In the case of malware, anti-malware and anti-virus software are a must have. There are a few tell-tale signs that something is amiss, which cover in a free course (link at the bottom).
If a threat exists, we need to counter it – that is, minimise the damage. There are various strategies one can employ to combat different internet security threats; all of which you as individual are capable of implementing.
Types of threats
There are many types of threats when it comes to internet security; far too many for us to cover in proper detail in this post. However, below you can find just some of the dangers you can encounter online.
Malware is the collective name for malicious software, including viruses, ransomware and spyware. Malware typically consists of code developed by cybercriminals, designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems, or to gain unauthorised access to a computer or network.
These attacks impersonate reputable websites, banking institutions, and personal contacts that come in the form of instant messages or emails designed to appear legitimate in an attempt to steal sensitive information from the victim.
Pharming is a scamming practice in which malicious code is installed on a personal computer or server, misdirecting users to fraudulent websites without their knowledge or consent. Pharming has been called "phishing without a lure."
With cryptojacking exploits, hackers trick their victims into loading mining codes onto their computers and then use those fraudulent codes to access the target’s computer to 'mine' (a way to generate) cryptocurrency.
With internet access expanding to all types of devices – like your mobile phone or tablet – you’re no longer only vulnerable to threats through your desktop computer. If you want to learn about how you can keep yourself and your data safe while using the internet, on any device, be sure to check out our free course “Internet Security: The dos and don’ts”.