Internet security consists of a range of security tactics for protecting activities and transactions conducted online 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. Internet security is a specific aspect of broader concepts such as cybersecurity and computer security, being focused on the specific threats and vulnerabilities of online access and use of the internet.
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.
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 great volume.
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 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 and are often prompted to engage in nefarious activities, such as sending spam messages or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.