I have a question that may seem like a no-brainer, simple or even childish but still am going to ask it any way. Are you frequently on the internet and how many hours are you logged on it? I’m sure many of you are always on the Internet because with the development in information technology our lives, jobs and almost everything we do are now revolved around the Internet and we can’t live without it. Unfortunately the Internet is not as safe as most of us thought because of the problems of Cyber-security, privacy compromise, malware and other online threats which are competing with us as soon as you log on the web. How vulnerable is the Internet? I’m glad you asked and I will try to expose some of the problems you face online so you may at least be aware of them and do whatever is possible to avoid being a victim.

In the first place you probably know that when you are logged into a large public network like at the airport, library or any publicly assed Internet service you are also more vulnerable than when you are using a private or internal network. The reason is that a public network is virtually open to anyone and the more people assessing a network the more you have the chance of criminal activities and malicious threats. This does not mean that the private wireless network that you have at home is without any threat. Your home private Wi-Fi even when it is encrypted (secured) is still vulnerable because radio frequency bands are very easy to scan by outsiders. Both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks are susceptible to hacking by eavesdroppers. But what is hacking you may ask; hacking is when someone uses an electronic device like a computer to try to assess your private data or information unauthorized.  Many people have a smartphones, a mobile phone or tablets but are you aware that your mobile device shares the same security weaknesses as other Internet devices? They are vulnerable to malicious software and penetration from outsiders.   

Here’s a list of the potential malicious threat you may face when on the Internet.

Malware: This is a common umbrella name for all malicious software programs and includes threats like computer virus, worms, and Trojan horses.

Virus – A computer virus is not the same as a medical virus even though the names and spelling are the alike. A computer virus is a rogue software program that attaches itself to other software programs or data files in order to be executed. This will usually happen without the knowledge or permission of the user. A virus may just be sitting in your hard drive benign waiting for an opportunity to attack your computer. The virus may be highly destructive messing up your programs and data, reformatting your computer’s hard drive, clogging computer memory or causing programs to run very slowly or improperly. A virus will spread from computer to computer when people are active using their computer such as when sending an email attachment or copying an infected file.

Worms – Worms are another danger that could attack when you’re on the Internet. Worms are independent computer programs that copy themselves from one computer to other computers over a network. The difference between computer viruses and worms is that unlike viruses that need human operating worms operate on their own without attaching to other computer program files and rely less on human behavior in order to spread from computer to computer. I think worms are more dangerous than viruses even though you may hear about viruses than worms. Computer worms spread much more rapidly than viruses. Worms will destroy data and computer programs as well as disrupt or halt the operation of networks.

Trojan horse – This is another malware, it is not a virus because it does not replicate like a virus. It is actually a software program that appears to be benign but then does something other than expected. The attitude of attacking “unexpectedly” is a feature of the Trojan horse. One thing is that the Trojan horse can be used as a vector (or carrier) by viruses or other malicious code to be introduced into a computer system.

SQL Injection attacks – This is a major malicious malware most people are not aware of unless you’re trained or working in the field of information technology. This occurs mostly in poorly coded web application software, the SQL injection takes advantage by introducing malicious program code into a company’s computer system and networks.

Ransomware – This is a malware that will take control of your computer, desktop and mobile device and start displaying annoying pop-up messages and will try to extort money from you. There is an example of Ransomware malware called CryptoLocker that will encrypt an infected computer’s file forcing user’s to pay money in order to regain access. When you download an infected attachment, clicking a link inside an email or visiting a wrong web site you may get Ransomware malware.

Spyware – This can be malicious software that infringes on a computer user’s privacy. They install themselves on a computer to monitor your web surfing activities and serve up advertising. Some spywares can be nefarious, a spyware called Keyloggers will record every keystroke made on a computer to steal serial numbers of software, launch internet attacks, gain access to email personal information like credit card or bank account numbers. Some spyware can even reset web browser home pages, redirect search requests or slow a computer performance by taking up too much memory.

Cybervandalism – This is when computer hacking activity goes to the level of system damage, intentional disruption, defacement or destruction of a web site or corporate information system.

Spoofing – This is when hackers try to hide their true identity by using fake e-mail or pretending to be someone else.

Phishing – This is a form of Spoofing but it involves setting up a fake Web site or sending e-mail messages that look like those of legitimate businesses to ask users for confidential personal data.

Sniffer – This is an eavesdropping program that monitors information traveling over a network. This process may even be used by security agencies to spot a criminal activity but it is used by hackers for criminal activity. Unfortunately sniffers can do damages to personal privacy and are very difficult to detect.

Identity Theft – Almost everyone knows about this Internet crime. This is a very common everyday occurrence; an imposter can obtain key pieces of information such as social security number, driver’s license numbers or credit card numbers. They will then use the information to impersonate someone else to obtain credit, purchase merchandise or services in the name of the victim.

Evil twins – This Internet crime may not “ring a bell” but it is a wireless networks that pretend to offer trustworthy Wi-Fi connections to the Internet, such as at the airport lounges, coffee shops or hotels. They look identical to a legitimate public network but fraudsters use it to capture the passwords or credit card numbers of people who log on to the networks.

Pharming – This Internet crime happens when hackers redirect a computer user to a bogus Web page even when you type the correct Web address. They are able to force you without you knowing about it because they are able to get the Internet address information stored by Internet service providers.

After reading about this Internet security problems you must realize that surfing on the web is not without risk. You should at least have very good anti-malware software and endeavor to check out the authenticity of any Wi-Fi network or Web site before connecting. It is a good idea to limit how long you are connected on the Internet; you should log off and stay off if you have no serious business being on it.

Sponsored by
Safrey Enterprises