Internet security relies on specific resources and standards for protecting data that gets sent through the Internet. This includes various kinds of encryption, such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). Other aspects of a secure Web setup includes firewalls, which block unwanted traffic, and anti-malware, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs that work from specific networks or devices to monitor Internet traffic for dangerous attachments.
Internet security is generally becoming a top priority for both businesses and governments. Good Internet security protects financial details and much more of what is handled by a business or agency’s servers and network hardware. Insufficient Internet security can threaten to collapse an e-commerce business or any other operation where data gets routed over the Web.
Internet security is a term that describes security for activities and transactions made over the Internet. It’s a particular component of the more essential ideas of cybersecurity and computer security, involving topics including browser security, online behaviour and network security. We spend a large proportion of our lives online, and some of the internet security threats we can encounter include:
- Hacking, where unauthorised users gain access to computer systems, email accounts, or websites.
- Viruses or malicious software (known as malware) can damage data or make systems vulnerable to other threats.
- Identity theft, where criminals can steal personal and financial information.
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Advantages and Features of Comodo Internet Security
The Comodo Internet Security Suite protects from most online attacks and malware activities that can steal the sensitive data stored on a computer. The security suite will robustly stop hackers from accessing financial details and personal information.
Malware arising from the Internet can hold a system hostage and demand money, secretly gather sensitive information about the computing habits of users, internet activity, keystrokes, etc. Stay protected from all of these threats with the latest version of Comodo Internet Security!
Comodo Internet Security Key Features
- Anti-virus: Tracks down and destroys any existing malware hiding in a PC.
- Anti-Spyware: Detects spyware threats and kills each infection.
- Anti-Rootkit: Scans, detects & removes rootkits on your computer.
- Bot Protection: Prevents malicious software turning your PC into a zombie.
- Defense+: Protects critical system files and blocks malware before it installs.
- Auto Sandbox Technology: Runs unknown files in an isolated environment where they can cause no damage.
- Memory Firewall: Cutting-edge protection against sophisticated buffer overflow attacks.
- Anti-Malware: Kills malicious processes before they can harm.
Types of security
Network layer security
TCP/IP, which stands for Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), aka Internet protocol suite, can be made secure with the help of cryptographic methods and protocols. These protocols include Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS) for web traffic, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) for email, and IPsec for network layer security.
Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)
This protocol is designed to protect communication in a secure manner using TCP/IP, aka Internet protocol suite. It is a set of security extensions developed by the Internet Task Force IETF, and it provides security and authentication at the IP layer by transforming data using encryption. Two main types of transformation form the basis of IPsec: the Authentication Header (AH) and ESP. These two protocols provide data integrity, data origin authentication, and an anti-replay service. These protocols can be used alone or in combination to provide the desired security services for the Internet Protocol (IP) layer.
The essential components of the IPsec security architecture are described in terms of the following functionalities:
- Security protocols for AH and ESP
- Security association for policy management and traffic processing
- Manual and automatic essential control for the Internet key exchange (IKE)
- Algorithms for authentication and encryption
The set of security services provided at the IP layer includes access control, data origin integrity, protection against replays, and confidentiality. The algorithm allows these sets to work independently without affecting other parts of the implementation. The IPsec implementation is operated in a host or security gateway environment, giving protection to IP traffic.
Some online sites offer customers the ability to use a six-digit code that randomly changes every 30–60 seconds on a security token. The keys on the security token have built-in mathematical computations and manipulate numbers based on the current time built into the device. This means that every thirty seconds, there is only a specific array of numbers possible, which would be correct to validate access to the online account. The website that the user is logging into would be made aware of that devices’ serial number and would know the computation and correct time built into the machine to verify that the number given is indeed one of the handfuls of six-digit numbers that works in that given 30-60 second cycle. After 30–60 seconds, the device will present a new random six-digit number to log into the website.
What are the most common internet security threats?
To ensure privacy and security on the Internet, it’s essential to be aware of different types of internet attacks. Common internet security threats include:
Phishing is a cyber-attack involving disguised emails. Hackers try to trick email recipients into believing that a message is genuine and relevant – a request from their bank or a note from a co-worker, for example – so that they click on a link or open an attachment. The goal is to deceive people into handing over their personal information or downloading malware.
Phishing is one of the oldest internet security threats, dating back to the 1990s. It has remained popular since it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways for criminals to steal information. In recent years, phishing techniques and messages have become increasingly sophisticated.
Hacking and remote access
Hackers are always looking to exploit a private network or system’s vulnerabilities so they can steal confidential information and data. Remote access technology gives them another target to use. Remote access software allows users to access and control a computer remotely – and since the pandemic, with more people working remotely, its usage has increased.
The protocol that allows users to control a computer connected to the Internet remotely is called Remote Desktop Protocol, or RDP. Because businesses of all sizes so widely use RDP, the chances of an improperly secured network are relatively high. Hackers use different techniques to exploit RDP vulnerabilities until they have full access to a network and its devices. They may carry out data theft themselves or else sell the credentials on the dark Web.
Malware and malvertising
Malware is a portmanteau of “malicious” and “software”. It’s a broad term related to viruses, worms, trojans, and other harmful programs that hackers use to cause havoc and steal sensitive information. Any software intended to damage a computer, server, or network can be described as malware.
Malvertising is a portmanteau of “malicious” and “advertising”. The term refers to online advertising, which distributes malware. Online advertising is a complex ecosystem involving publisher websites, ad exchanges, ad servers, retargeting networks, and content delivery networks. Advertisers exploit this complexity to place malicious code in places that publishers and ad networks don’t always detect. Internet users who interact with a negative ad could download malware onto their devices or be redirected to malicious websites.
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from using your computer or accessing specific files on your computer unless a ransom is paid. It is often distributed as a trojan – that is, malware disguised as legitimate software. Once installed, it locks your system’s screen or specific files until you pay.
Because of their perceived anonymity, ransomware operators typically specify payment in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Ransom prices vary depending on the ransomware variant and the price or exchange rate of digital currencies. It isn’t always the case that if you pay, the criminals will release the encrypted files.
The term botnet is a contraction of “robot network”. A botnet is a network of computers that have been intentionally infected by malware to carry out automated tasks on the Internet without the permission or knowledge of the computers’ owners.
Once a botnet’s owner controls your computer, they can use it to carry out malicious activities. These include:
- Generating fake internet traffic on third party websites for financial gain.
- Using your machine’s power to assist in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks shut down websites.
- Emailing spam to millions of internet users.
- Committing fraud and identity theft.
- Attacking computers and servers.
Computers become part of a botnet in the same ways that they are infected by any other type of malware – for example, opening email attachments that download malware or visiting websites infected with malware. They can also spread from one computer to another via a network. The number of bots in a botnet varies and depends on the ability of the botnet owner to infect unprotected devices.
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Wi-Fi threats, in public and at home
Public Wi-Fi carries risks because the security on these networks – in coffee shops, shopping malls, airports, hotels, restaurants, and so on – is often lax or non-existent. The lack of security means that cybercriminals and identity thieves can monitor what you are doing online and steal your passwords and personal information. Other public Wi-Fi dangers include:
- Packet sniffing – attackers monitor and intercept unencrypted data as it travels across an unprotected network.
- Man-in-the-middle-attacks – attackers compromise a Wi-Fi hotspot to insert themselves into communications between the victim and the hotspot to intercept and modify data in transit.
- Rogue Wi-Fi networks – attackers set up a honeypot in the form of free Wi-Fi to harvest valuable data. The attacker’s hotspot becomes the conduit for all data exchanged over the network.
You don’t have to worry so much about someone spying on the Wi-Fi network at home because you own the network hardware. But there are still threats, internet service providers (ISPs) can sell data about their users. While the data is anonymised, it can still be an unsettling thought for those who value privacy and security on the Internet. A VPN at home makes it much harder for outsiders to correlate your online activity to you.
How to protect your data online
If you are wondering how to ensure internet protection and how to protect your data online, sensible internet security tips you can follow include:
Enable multi factor authentication wherever you can
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that asks users to provide two or more verification methods to access an online account. For example, instead of simply asking for a username or password, multi factor authentication goes further by requesting additional information, such as:
- An extra one-time password that the website’s authentication servers send to the user’s phone or email address.
- Answers to personal security questions.
- A fingerprint or other biometric information, such as voice or face recognition.
Multifactor authentication decreases the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack. To make your online accounts more secure, it is a good idea to implement multifactor authentication where possible. You can also consider using a third-party authenticator app, such as Google Authenticator and Authy, to help with internet security.
Use a firewall
A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and another network, such as the Internet. Firewalls block unwanted traffic and can also help to stop malicious software from infecting your computer. Often, your operating system and security system come with a pre-installed firewall. It is a good idea to make sure those features are turned on, with your settings configured to run updates automatically, to maximise internet security.
Choose your browser carefully.
Our browsers are our primary gateway to the Web and therefore play a crucial role in internet security. A good web browser should be secure and help to protect you from data breaches. The Freedom of the Press Foundation has compiled a detailed guide here, explaining the security pros and cons of the leading web browsers on the market.
Create strong passwords, and use a secure password manager
A strong password will help you maintain internet security. A strong password is:
- Long – made up of at least 12 characters and ideally more.
- A mix of characters – that is, upper- and lower-case letters plus symbols and numbers.
- Avoids the evidence – such as using sequential numbers (“1234”) or personal information that someone who knows you might guess, such as your date of birth or a pet’s name.
- Avoids memorable keyboard paths.
These days, it’s no longer enough to substitute lookalike characters for letters or numbers – for example, “P@ssw0rd” for “password” – since hackers are wise to it. The more complex and involved your password, the harder it is to crack. Using a password manager will help – by generating, storing, and managing all your passwords in one secure online account.
Keep your passwords private – avoid sharing them with others or writing them down. Try to avoid using the same password for all your accounts, and remember to change them regularly.
Keep an up-to-date security program installed on your devices.
Internet security anti-virus is critical for ensuring privacy and security online. The best internet security software protects you from different types of internet attacks and protects your data online. It’s important to keep anti-virus software up to date – most modern programs update themselves automatically to stay on top of the latest internet security threats.
How to keep your family safe online
Internet security for kids is critical – protecting children from harmful or inappropriate content and contacts, as well as malicious software or attacks. Teaching your children online safety tips can help to keep them safe.
Internet safety tips for children
Children are spending more and more time online, and it’s important to talk to them about how to stay safe on the Internet. Making sure that kids know what information to keep private online is essential, for example, explaining why they need to keep their passwords confidential and not give out personal information. Keeping the computer in a common area, where you can watch and monitor its use, can also be a helpful way of ensuring children use the Internet safely.
Many kids enjoy watching YouTube videos. So, to make this a safer experience, you can use YouTube parental controls. You may also want to use YouTube’s dedicated app for children, YouTube Kids. This provides a more child-friendly interface, and videos on the app are reviewed by a combination of human moderators and automated filters to help ensure videos are appropriate for younger children.
How to keep your email safe
The email was designed to be as open and accessible as possible to allow people to communicate with each other. The drawback of this accessibility is that certain aspects of email are not secure, allowing attackers to use emails to cause internet security problems.
What is email security?
Email security refers to the methods used to protect email accounts and correspondence against unauthorised access, loss, or compromise. Email is often used to spread malware, spam, and phishing attacks. Email security is an essential aspect of internet security.
How to deal with email spam
Spam emails – also known as junk emails – are unsolicited messages sent out in bulk. Most email providers use algorithms to filter out spam messages, but they can still appear in your inbox despite this. Steps to take include:
- Mark spam emails as spam – this will help the email provider to refine their spam filtering. How to mark a message as spam will vary depending on which email client you use – Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo Mail, and so on.
- Never click on a link or open an attachment in a spam email. Doing so could mean you download malware onto your device. At the very least, you confirm to the spammers that yours is an active email account, incentivising them to send more spam.
- Be careful about where you disclose your email address. It’s a good idea to have a secondary, throwaway email account that you use solely for email sign-ups and subscriptions, separate from the one you use for friends and family and different from the one you use for work.
- Most email providers will offer privacy settings – review these and make sure they are set to a level you feel comfortable with.
- Look into third-party email spam filters. These provide an additional layer of cybersecurity, as emails have to travel through two spam filters before getting to you – your email provider’s spam filter plus the third-party app.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with spam, it could signify that your email address has been exposed to a data breach. When this happens, it is recommended to change your email address.
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