Internet security is a broad term that refers to the various steps individuals and companies take to protect computers or computer networks connected to the Internet. One of the fundamental truths behind Internet security is that the Internet itself is not a secure environment. The Internet was initially conceived as an open, loosely linked computer network that would facilitate the free exchange of ideas and information. Data sent over the Internet—from personal email
messages to online shopping orders—travel through an ever-changing series of computers and network links.
As a result, unscrupulous hackers and scam artists have ample opportunities to intercept and change the information. It would be virtually impossible to secure every computer connected to the Internet worldwide, so there will likely always be weak links in the chain of data exchange.
Due to the growth in Internet use, the number of computer security breaches experienced by businesses has increased rapidly in recent years. At one time, 80 percent of security breaches came from inside the company. But this situation has changed as businesses have connected to the Internet, making their computer networks more vulnerable to access from outside troublemakers or industry spies. To make matters worse, as Vince Emery noted in How to Grow Your Business on the Internet, 97 percent of companies that experience breaches in computer security do not know it. When business owners become aware of problems furthermore, Emery estimated that only 15 per cent report the security breach to authorities.
Small business owners need to recognise the various threats involved in conducting business over the Internet and establish security policies and procedures to minimise their risks. As a writer for Business Week noted, “With your business ever more dependent on the safe use of the Internet, security-savvy has become as important as understanding marketing and finance.”
Internet security measures range from hardware and software protection against hackers and viruses to training and information programs for employees and system administrators. It may be impossible—or at least impractical—for a small business to achieve 100 percent secure computer systems. But small business owners can find ways to balance the risks of conducting business over the Internet with the benefits of speedy information transfer between the company and its employees, customers, and suppliers.
Why is network security important?
Network security is essential for home networks as well as in the business world. Most homes with high-speed internet connections have one or more wireless routers, which could be exploited if not properly secured. A solid network security system helps reduce the risk of data loss, theft and sabotage.
PC Magazine offers simple steps you can take to make sure a home network is secure:
- Change your router admin username and password
- Change the network name
- Activate encryption
- Double up on firewalls
- Turn off guest networks
- Update router firmware
Types of internet security threats
While the web presents users with lots of information and services, it also includes several risks. Cyberattacks are only increasing in sophistication and volume, with many cybercriminals using a combination of different types of attacks to accomplish a single goal. Though the list of potential threats is extensive, here are some of the most common internet security threats:
Short for “malicious software,” malware comes in several forms, including computer viruses, worms, Trojans, and dishonest spyware.
A computer worm is a software program that copies itself from one computer to the next. It does not require human interaction to create these copies and can spread rapidly and in significant volume.
Spam refers to unwanted messages in your email inbox. In some cases, spam can include junk mail that advertises goods or services you aren’t interested in. These are usually considered harmless, but some can include links that will install malicious software on your computer if they’re clicked on.
Phishing scams are created by cybercriminals attempting to solicit private or sensitive information. They can pose as your bank or web service and lure you into clicking links to verify details like account information or passwords.
A botnet is a network of private computers that have been compromised. Infected with malicious software, these computers are controlled by a single user. They are often prompted to engage in nefarious activities, such as sending spam messages or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
Common Security Problems
In The E-Commerce Book, Steffano Korper and Juanita Ellis outline several common security problems that affect small business computers. For example, a well-known cause of computer problems are viruses or damaging programs that are introduced to computers or networks. Some viruses rewrite coding to make software programs unusable, while others scramble or destroy data. Many viruses spread quickly and operate subtly, so they may not be noticed until the damage has already been done.
Hackers have two main methods of causing problems for businesses’ computer systems: they either find a way to enter the system and then change or steal information from the inside, or they attempt to overwhelm the system with input from the outside so that it shuts down.
One way a hacker might enter a small business’s computer network is through an open port or an Internet connection that remains open even when it is not being used. They might also attempt to appropriate passwords belonging to employees or other authorised users of a computer system. Many hackers are skilled at guessing common passwords, while others run programs that locate or capture password information.
Another standard method of attack used by hackers is email spoofing. This method involves sending authorised users of a computer network fraudulent email that appears as if it were sent by someone else, most likely a customer or someone else the user would know. Then the hacker tries to trick the user into divulging their password or other company secrets.
Finally, some hackers manage to shut down business computer systems with denial of service attacks. These attacks involve bombarding a company’s Internet site with thousands of messages so that no legitimate messages can get in or out. Check out Security Systems’ range of high-end Melbourne home security for your home protection needs.
Basic Means Of Protection
Luckily, computer experts have developed ways to help small businesses protect themselves against the most common security threats. For example, most personal computers sold today come equipped with virus protection. A wide variety of antivirus software is also available for use on computer networks. In addition, many software companies and Internet Service Providers put updates online to cover newly emerging viruses. In addition to installing antivirus software and updating it regularly, Korper and Ellis recommend backing up data frequently and teaching employees to minimise the risk of virus transmission.
One of the most effective ways to protect a computer network connected to the Internet from unauthorised outside access is a firewall. A firewall is a hardware security device that is installed between a computer network and the Internet. It acts as a Web server, routing traffic and blocking external users from accessing the internal computer system. Of course, a firewall cannot protect information once it leaves the network. A standard method of preventing third parties from capturing data while being transmitted over the Internet is encryption.
Encryption programs put data into a scrambled form that cannot be read without a key.
There are several methods available to help small businesses prevent unauthorised access to their computer systems. One of the most common methods is the authentication of users through passwords. Since passwords can be guessed or stolen, some companies use more sophisticated authentication technologies, such as coded ID cards, voice recognition software, retinal scanning systems, or handprint recognition systems. All of these systems verify that the person seeking access to the computer network is an authorised user. They also make it possible to track computer activity and hold users accountable for their system use.
Digital signatures can be used to authenticate emails and other outside documents. This technology provides proof of the origin of documents and helps prevent email spoofing.
Protecting E-commerce Customers
In addition to protecting their computers from security threats, companies that conduct business over the Internet must also protect their online customers. Individuals and companies that make purchases online are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of the Web sites they visit. If a customer experiences problems using your small business’s location, they are unlikely to trust you with their business again. They may use the mass communication potential of the Internet to inform other potential customers of the hasards. Furthermore, competitors may take advantage of the situation to steal your customers by advertising a secure Web server. “It’s up to you to make your online customers feel safe and secure in their dealings with your company, And it’s your responsibility to reduce their actual risk. Your customers have entrusted their money to your company; the least your company can do is safeguard it.”
Unfortunately, small businesses engaged in e-commerce are most vulnerable to Internet security threats. As Emery explained, the same programs that facilitate electronic shopping also create a potential hole in your computer system security. As you collect credit card numbers and other customer information from fill-in-the-blank forms or grant potential customers access to your databases full of product information, you may also leave yourself open to attacks by hackers or competitive spies.
Emery makes a series of recommendations for small businesses that conduct business over the Internet. First, he stresses that all Internet software should be kept as far as possible from regular system software. For example, a small business might use a standalone computer to run its Web server or place a firewall between the Web server and the rest of the computer network. It may also be possible to run a small e-commerce operation on an Internet Service Provider’s computer rather than a company machine. Emery also emphasises that small businesses should never store customer information—especially credit card numbers—on their Web server or any other computer connected to the Internet. It is also a good idea to avoid putting any sensitive or proprietary company information on these machines.
For small businesses, which may not employ computer experts who are qualified to establish and monitor Internet security systems, Emery recommends leaving e-commerce security to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Many ISPs allow businesses to purchase Web Space on a secure server for a reasonable price. In any case, small business owners should weigh the costs of implementing a secure Web server—and hiring the staff to monitor and maintain it continually—against the potential profits they may receive from online sales.
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Security Policies And Procedures
For hardware and software security measures to be effective, small businesses must incorporate computer security into their basic operations. small business owners establish a set of policies and procedures for Internet security. These policies should encompass computer activity at both the user level and the system administrator level.
At the user level, one of the first tasks is to educate users about the importance of computer security. Every user should require a password to access the company’s computer system. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include letters, numbers, and symbols. Employees should be advised to avoid obvious choices like names or birth dates.
In addition, employees should be instructed never to store their password in a drawer or on a bulletin board, never to let anyone else log into the system using their name and password, and never to leave their computer on and unattended. Overall, small business owners need to convince employees that the company’s computer system is confidential and that they have a responsibility to help protect it. Looking for security monitoring in Melbourne? Worry no more as Security Systems has you covered.
Computer system administrators should be involved in developing and implementing security policies and procedures. They are in charge of ensuring that the system’s hardware and software are secure, as well as controlling and monitoring access to the system. many steps administrators can take to help protect a company’s computer systems.
First, they recommend keeping servers in a locked room with limited access. Second, they suggest separating system files from data files on the computer network. Third, they advise administrators to install virus scanning software on all company computers and prohibit employees from copying outside programs or files onto the web.
Many of the system administrator’s duties involve preventing unauthorised people—both inside and outside the company—from gaining access to the computer network. Internally, it is a good policy to limit employees’ access to the system based upon their job needs. For example, it would probably not be necessary for a person in accounting to have access to personnel records. The administrator should define user and group-access rights to allow employees to do their jobs without making the system unnecessarily vulnerable to attacks from disgruntled workers. Another sound policy is to require employees to change passwords frequently and to immediately disable passwords when employees leave the company or are terminated.
Administrators should also grant Internet access only to those employees who need it for business purposes. It is possible to block employees’ access to games, newsgroups, and adult sites on the Internet and to install software that generates reports of the Internet destinations visited by employees.
To prevent unauthorised external access to the computer system, administrators should define access rights granted to suppliers and customers. They should also ensure Internet ports are secure and possibly implement a firewall to protect the internal network from outside access. Another important policy is never to store employee passwords on any computer that is connected to the Internet. Administrators should also be careful about establishing guest accounts on the company’s computer system since some requests may come from hackers or competitive spies.
There are many tools available to assist system administrators in monitoring the security of a company’s computer network. For example, network auditing software tracks users who are accessing the system and what files are being changed. It also alerts the administrator to excessive failed log-in attempts. The best auditing packages generate network usage reports on demand, which allows the administrator to reconstruct events in case of a security breach.
Finally, a small business’s computer security policies should cover emergencies, such as detecting a virus or a security breach from outside the company. As Emery noted, it may be helpful to prepare a printed emergency response guide for both employees and system administrators. In a worst-case scenario, any guidelines stored on the computer system would be useless. Emery also outlines the basic steps companies should follow in case of severe system problems.
First, employees who suspect a concern should contact the network administrator. The administrator should then get in touch with technical support at the ISP to determine the extent of the problem. It may also be helpful to contact the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to find out if other companies are experiencing the same issues. At this point, the administrator may wish to contact the small business owner or appropriate non-technical managers to inform them of the problems. Management can then decide whether to contact local law enforcement and what to tell employees.
How can you become an information security analyst?
Information security analysts are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for information security analysts are projected to grow 18 per cent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Information Technology as well as a Cybersecurity Degree program. This degree can help individuals interested in a career in network security get a foundation in critical skills that are used in protecting individuals and organisations from damaging cyber-attacks.
As a security technology student, you’ll learn about:
- Information assurance and security
- Ethical hacking
- Network security design
- Network defence
- Computer and network forensics
an online computer networking bachelor’s degree for students considering an IT job as a Computer Systems Analyst or Computer Network Architect, or Computer Network Support Specialist. Learn more about what you can do with a computer networking degree. However, for a career as an information security analyst with an emphasis on security, you’ll be better equipped with a degree in cybersecurity.
The safety and security of our society rest on our ability to protect confidential information from outside threats. You can be part of the front line against these threats if you pursue a career as an information security analyst.
Assistance With Internet Security
Although dealing with the intricacies of Internet security may seem intimidating, there are some resources small business owners can turn to for help. For example, many companies have begun to offer packaged online security technologies, such as the hardware-based Web Safe system. In addition, secure Web servers and browsers are widely available. These systems, including Netscape Navigator and Netscape Commerce Server, remove much of the Internet security burden from small businesses.
Furthermore, several Web sites provide free virus warnings and downloadable antivirus patches for Web browsers. The Computer Security Institute provides annual surveys on security breaches. Another helpful resource is the National Computer Security Association, which offers tips on Internet security for business owners and supplies definitions of high-tech terms.
Small businesses seeking to establish Internet security policies and procedures might begin by contacting CERT. Works with the Internet community to raise awareness of security issues and organize the response to security threats—the CERT website. Posts the latest security alerts and also provides security-related documents, tools, and training seminars.
Finally, CERT offers 24-hour technical assistance in the event of Internet security breaches. Small business owners who contact CERT about a security problem will be asked to provide their company’s Internet address, the computer models affected, the types of operating systems and software used, and the security measures in place. If you’re looking for a reliable home alarm system, then look no further! Security Systems has you covered.