Internet Security

The 8 Most Common Security Threats

The World Wide Web can be a very dangerous place. Just as there are many dangers in the real world, there are equally as many in the virtual one. You always want to be wary of who you give your confidential information to. But in order for you to do that, you need to be able to discern between a legitimate site and a forgery created by cyber criminals. These cyber criminals use tons of ways of luring unsuspecting visitors into giving them their confidential data. As possibly, a small business on the internet, there are several of these methods that you should be aware of.

Below are 8 of the most common security threats that you may come across while on the internet:

  1. Adware

Adware is basically the malware that displays those unwanted ads on your screen while you surf the web. These ads, when clicked on will usually take you to advertising sites that collect marketing data specifically about you without your consent, which is why it can be considered malicious.

You will find adware on many different freeware and shareware products, as a legitimate way of generating revenue from the product to fund the development team. However, there are websites that you can go to that are infected with adware, which will automatically download itself to your computer once you visit it.

  1. Computer Virus

A computer virus is basically a small program that is designed to spread and propagate around a computer and from one computer to another. Once the virus is on your system, it will steal, corrupt or erase your data, even formatting your entire hard drive, in some extreme cases. These viruses are also capable of using other programs, such as your email program in order to spread to other systems.

  1. Rouge Security Software

While surfing the web have you ever come across a pop-up window that advertised a security alert or update? These pop-ups may appear legitimate, asking you to click on a specific link in order to update or remove a malicious file that has been detected on your computer.

Well if you’ve seen it, then this may be rouge security software that has been designed to trick you into clicking on it and downloading the software. If you visit Microsoft’s website you can find a ton of information on rouge security software, what it is and how to effectively protect yourself from it.

  1. Spyware

Spyware is another form of malware. Spyware can be pretty nasty when it gets onto your computer, which it usually does by attaching itself to pop-ups. Once these malicious programs are on your computer, they can monitor your keystrokes, delete and read your files, format your entire hard drive and access all your programs. Whoever is controlling the spyware can usually access all your personal details.

  1. Trojan

Trojan horses are basically malicious programs. They will typically appear as normal, safe programs, but the sole purpose of the program is to allow a hacker to access your computer remotely. Once your computer has been infected with a Trojan, it can then be used for DoS attacks and data theft.

One particularly dangerous Trojan virus is the keystroke logger, which is capable of capturing credit card numbers, passwords and other confidential data.

  1. Spam

Spam for most people is seen more as an annoyance than anything else. Still, there have been many measures put in place to help effectively combat it, so people’s attitude towards it may vary depending on the severity of their situation. Spam is basically unsolicited emails. They can come in many different forms, and in addition to them being pointless reads, they can also consume much of your network bandwidth.

  1. Rootkits

Rootkits are the most difficult viruses to detect. These kinds of viruses usually activate during system boot-up, just before your antivirus program kicks into gear. Rootkits allows the hacker to steal sensitive information from your computer.

  1. Phishing

Phishing scams are basically attempts by these cyber criminals to obtain your confidential information. Phishing scams appear in the form of emails that are designed to appear as legitimate emails from third-party companies. For example, the email may lure you into sending them your private information by pretending to be your email service provider or bank that is updating its website requiring you to click on a specific link in order to verify your account details. The link will instead take you to a forged website, where you will put in their details and send the information to the hackers, unbeknownst to you.

About the author:

Uchenna Ani-Okoyeis a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website