In today's digital landscape, many of our daily activities rely on the internet. Various forms of communication, entertainment, and financial and work-related tasks are accomplished online. This means that tons of data and sensitive information are constantly being shared over the internet. The internet is mostly private and secure, but it can also be an insecure channel for exchanging information. With a high risk of intrusion by hackers and cybercriminals, internet security is a top priority for individuals and businesses alike.
Under the umbrella of computer security, internet security is a term covering a range of security tactics for protecting transactions made over the internet. These tactics are meant to safeguard users from threats such as hacking into computer systems, email addresses, or websites; malicious software that can infect and inherently damage systems; and identity theft by hackers who steal personal data such as bank account information and credit card numbers. With numerous points of entry available for hackers, it's important to have strong countermeasures in place to keep your internet usage safe.
Types of 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 security threats:
- Malware: Short for "malicious software," malware comes in several forms, including computer viruses, worms, Trojans, and dishonest spyware.
- Computer worm: 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 great volume.
- Spam: Spam refers to unwanted messages in your email inbox. In some cases, spam can simply 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: 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.
- Botnet: A botnet is a network of private computers that have been compromised. Infected with malicious software, these computers are controlled by a single user and are often prompted to engage in nefarious activities, such as sending spam messages or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
Choosing the right internet security solutions
Internet security requires a combination of several products and technologies to properly safeguard data. It's important to consider several types of security solutions when taking proper measures to help keep your network secure. These solutions can include:
- Browser selection: Each browser has its own security measures in place, but some can have serious flaws that allow hackers and cybercriminals to exploit and invade. Ensure that you're using a secure browser to reduce the risk of compromising your computer or network.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA is a method of controlling computer access by requiring several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. Websites and email accounts can be made more secure by requiring at least two factors of authentication by a user.
- Email security: Email creates a wave of opportunity for viruses, worms, Trojans, and other unwanted programs. Establishing a multi-layered and comprehensive email security strategy will help significantly reduce exposure to emerging threats. Email messages can also be protected by using cryptography, such as signing an email, encrypting the body of an email message, and encrypting the communication between mail servers.
- Firewalls: Firewalls act as filters that protect devices by allowing or denying access to a network. By applying a specific set of rules to identify if something is safe or harmful, firewalls can prevent sensitive information from being stolen and keep malevolent code from being embedded onto networks.
There are several products and solutions available to help keep your internet usage secure. These include antivirus software products, which protect devices from attacks by detecting and eliminating viruses; password managers, which help store and organize passwords through encryption; and security suites, which include a more comprehensive internet security approach with firewalls, antivirus, anti-spyware, and more.
Choosing the right package of products is important for securing your data across the internet. McAfee's web security offering helps enable secure web connectivity for most devices, users, and locations to protect organizations against sophisticated threats. Bringing together web filtering, content inspection, antivirus, zero-day anti-malware, SSL inspection, data loss prevention, and broad integration, our portfolio delivers a comprehensive web security solution available on-premises, as a cloud service, or as a hybrid of both.
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