Internet Security - Why Is It More Important than Ever?Updated: January 09, 2020
Internet security is vital so you don't fall the victim of hacking, fraud, identity theft, and even property damage.
You might think that only corporations and governments may become the targets of cybercriminal but, in reality, everyone who uses the internet is a potential target.
There are many ways in which hackers and criminals use their knowledge for getting money from users, and you must learn how to secure your devices in order to protect yourself online.
So let's see what internet security is about, why it is highly important in the modern age, and what are the steps you should follow so you keep yourself safe.
Internet security refers to the part of computer security related to internet threats. It involves security on the World Wide Web and internet browsers, along with network security and its goal is to provide security measure against attacks over the internet.
Such online threats include hackers gaining unauthorized access to computer systems, infecting one's computer with malware or malicious software that can damage the device or make it vulnerable to other threats, stealing users' personal information to use it for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.
Strong internet security measures can protect you against such online threats.
To understand why internet security is important for you or your business, let's take a look over the online dangers poor internet security makes you vulnerable to.
When you don't have any security measures in place to protect your private information, sensitive data or even communications can be intercepted and stolen by a hacker who's a bit knowledgeable in the business.
In some cases, the intent of having your private information stolen is solely for marketing purposes. Advertisers are trying to get as many information about users (such as age, location, browsing history) so they can predict users' online behavior in order to target them with personalized ads for products and services they might need or like. While this behavior isn't directly placing you in danger, it's not a soothing thought to think that a company knows everything you do online.
On the other hand, having your private information stolen can also have devastating outcomes. Companies can have sensitive information about customers and employees stolen, which often results in financial loss and damaged reputation. For individuals, it can result in having their information used for frauds or identity theft.
Without proper internet security, cybercriminals can easily interfere with the information you share online and steal personal data such as name, accounts credentials, credit card numbers, banking information, and even Social Security Numbers. Identity thieves use this data to commit fraud that can ruin more aspects of the victim's life.
If someone happens to steal your identity, they can open new lines of credit in your name, change the email on your credit card account, open bank accounts in your name, apply for loans in your name, and even use your name to commit other crimes.
In most cases, if you become the victim of identity theft, the recovering process can take months and huge amounts of money. Not to mention that, besides financial loss, identity theft also has other consequences such as affected reputation and even making it hard to apply for loans in the future because of a damaged credit score.
Data theft also refers to the act of stealing information. But besides stealing personal information such as names, passwords, and bank accounts, it can also include data such as personal documents, videos, and photos.
Data theft occurs when the victim has poor internet security and the cybercriminal manages to hack into the computer system. These types of occurrences are often referred to as data breaches and they have businesses and companies as targets. And the problem is that you, as an individual, are also put at risk if a company becomes the victim of a data breach.
Nowadays, most companies store huge amounts of information about their users, from names and account credentials to credit card numbers and banking information. While you can't directly influence the level of security a company ensures against data breaches, part of internet security is for you to be cautious when providing personal information online.
Also, a criminal managing to get into your computer can even steal your personal files or lock your access to them until you pay a ransom to get them back. This type of attack is known as ransomware.
While many hackers nowadays use hacking as a way of taking advantage of your information for profit, there are also cases when the goal of hackers is to create chaos by damaging users' computers.
There are more types of malware that can affect your computer such as viruses, worms, Trojans, or malicious software. They can either only cause your computer to become unusable, or they can do both stealing information and damage.
As we mentioned above, there are lots of types of malware out there and hackers can use them to deploy different types of attacks. Malware or malicious software can get installed on your computer through different means when you're connected to the internet.
The most common ways for malware to get into one's computer are through malicious pop-ups, fake emails, downloaded media or software. Without any kind of internet security, your computer can get infected with dangerous malware with only a single wrong click on a malicious link while browsing online.
Taking strong internet security measures can protect you against hacking attacks and other online threats. Here are the mus follow rules for improved internet security.
The first step you wanna take so you improve your internet security levels is to install antivirus software.
As you've seen above, the most common way for hackers to gain access to a computer to damage or steal private information and data is through installing malware or viruses on the victim's computer. Antivirus software is designed to detect and remove malware if you happen to click on a malicious link or download a malicious file over the internet.
There are many antivirus software programs out there that, besides scanning for malware, also provide advanced internet security measures such as secure shopping, backups, WiFi security, and more. but if you're not willing to invest in a paid solution, you can always choose a free antivirus software that provides basic internet security.
An important thing to note is you should regularly check for software updates to get the best protection. Hackers keep on creating new malware and antivirus software programs are always updating their database so they can detect as many types of malware as possible.
Besides using antivirus software, enabling a firewall will add an extra layer of protection for your internet security.
A firewall acts as a shield between your computer and the internet. It inspects all the data packets that are being transferred, analyzes them based on a set of security rules, and only lets packets from trusted sources to communicate with your computer. This way, you'll stay away from accessing malicious websites and sources that could compromise your internet security.
Firewalls are a bit trickier to use compared to antivirus programs because you have to manually configure them. But once they are set, they'll improve your internet security an protect you against online threats.
If you're a Windows user, you already have the Windows Defender you can enable without having to install a third-party app. Still, we put together a list of the best free firewalls out there that are worth checking out. Each has its strengths and some are easier to use than others.
Online shopping can be one of the most dangerous online actions if done in the wrong place.
When you're online shopping, you provide lots of personal information such as name, address, phone number, and even make money transactions using your credit card information. If the websites you're using for online shopping are not strongly secured, a cybercriminal can easily interfere with the communication and steal your sensitive information.
One of the most important aspects to look for when online shopping is to make sure the website you're accessing is HTTPS and not HTTP. The "S" in HTTPS stands for secure, and it means that the communication is encrypted. HTTP websites are not secured and are easy to hack. A couple of other good practices are to a bit more digging about the shop so you make sure it's genuine, to look for clients reviews, and to keep an eye for anything that might look shady (such as poor website design, grammar mistakes, or too good to be true deals).
One of the most important aspects for high internet security doesn't involve any software but rather refers to using common sense while browsing online.
Lots of hackers rely on people's naivety and try to deceive them through different means. Malicious pop-ups that promise software and once clicked, they infect your computer with malware. Fake giveaways guaranteeing free goods in exchange for your private information. The better the deal sounds, the higher the chances it is a scheme or a malicious link that will turn you into a victim of a cyber attack.
Always use your common sense when browsing online and don't trust everything you see. Poor design, grammar mistakes, prizes, promises to win big while doing nothing - these are all triggers that should make you rethink clicking or providing personal information. Keep in mind that nothing comes free, there's always a catch.
Same as with browsing around, you should also keep your eyes wide open when checking your inbox.
Most cyber-attacks happen through emails and they are known as phishing. Hackers rely on their charisma to trick people into giving them personal information. They send a fake email that looks as coming from a trusted source (a company or a bank), asking the user to follow a link and provide sensitive information to verify his identity or to download an attachment. Needless to say that the website is also fake and the hacker gathers all the information that's provided, including usernames and passwords.
The level of security on your network influences your overall internet security because when there are flaws in your network security, hackers can exploit the vulnerabilities and hack into your computer.
When it comes to a WiFi network, the dangers are even higher than with a cable connection as someone doesn't need physical access to your cable to get into your network. If someone manages to access your network, he can then access all the devices connected to the network, track your activity, install malware on your device that will allow the attacker to steal login information and credit card details, or even to use your device to send malware to others.
One important step for improved network security is to limit other peoples' access to your network. You do that by properly securing your WiFi router by setting up a strong password and by using strong encryption.
Most WiFi network cracking attacks happen in private places such as coffee shops and venues. Even though hacking a WiFi network to steal private information happens less frequently in apartment buildings, an attacker can still step foot in your building (such as an Airbnb guest).
We mentioned above that it's a common act for hackers to crack WiFi networks in public places so they can steal private information from anyone that connects to the network.
Public WiFi spots represent a high threat for internet security and the danger shouldn't be overlooked.
The networks in public places (coffee shops, airports, hotels) are poorly secured and the fact that they are heavily used makes them even more vulnerable. That's why you'll often find attackers looking for targets around these kinds of places.
If you're often traveling and use hotels' networks, work from coffee shops, or you have a habit of checking your email or do online shopping while in public places, you want to make sure your internet security is on point before you do it again.
A VPN service is mandatory when using public WiFi networks.
What the VPN does is it will encrypt all your internet traffic, making it impossible for attackers to steal your personal information. Even if someone hacks the network, he won't be able to read any of the information because it is encrypted.
Not to mention that using a VPN will also benefit you at home as it highly improves your online privacy.
With a VPN, you also get other perks such as:
- Hiding your real IP address and location
- Becoming anonymous online
- Being able to access geo-restricted content (such as Netflix)
- Being able to access websites that are blocked by the firewall (common in workplaces and schools)
- Downloading torrents anonymously
- Finding the best deals when shopping online
For improved internet security, DrSoft provides a highly secure VPN software that uses strong 256-bit encryption, designed to offer you high online privacy and give you back the freedom you deserve online. You get thousands of servers you can choose from, located all around the world, so you can access all the content you want online.
Install the DrSoft VPN software and stop everybody from tracking your online activity and harvest your data.