Online Security Threats
Types of Internet Security Threats
Although the internet can be a wonderful place, it can also be the home of multiple threats; there are two main variants of internet virus, called malware and spyware. Although they work in the same way, the difference is the effect they each have on your computer. Malware is a malicious virus that aims to change the way your computer works, and/or do significant damage. Malware viruses can vary from those that will damage your hardware to those that will damage the files and software stored on your computer.
Some malware will just create small problems, such as changing your internet home page to an unpleasant website. It is important to use antivirus protection to get rid of these malware viruses straight away, as they can often develop into more serious problems. Even the smallest of annoying malware viruses show that your internet security has been breached ? and it’s important to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
Conversely, spyware, the second type of internet virus, does not tend to damage your computer. Often you can have spyware on your computer for months or even years without noticing it. Spyware viruses basically spy on your computer and report back on your actions. This can be for research purposes or for more disturbing purposes such as capturing your personal information.
Spyware can be particularly dangerous when used for the purpose of identity theft. There exist viruses which, once installed on your computer, will record all the key strokes that you make and send them back to the person who created the virus. From this information, people can work out sensitive information such as your online banking sign in information or passwords to your online accounts.
Both malware and spyware virus threats can be avoided by making sure that you use a trusted piece of antivirus software which is updated regularly to keep up with advances in internet security.
Another online security threat to be very aware of is that of the phishing email. A phishing email is an email sent from a disreputable source that imitates an email sent from a source that you trust ? such as your bank or your workplace. After gaining your trust in this way, a phishing email will often lead you to a fake website and ask you for personal details such as your online usernames and passwords.
Phishing threats can be avoided in two ways. The first is by using a good spam filter on your email account, as this will usually filter out these emails. The second is by staying alert and double checking the legitimacy of a site before you type in your account details. Most trusted organisations will never ask you to input your account details via email, so be very wary if you are asked to do this. Also be sure to carefully check the email address and website URL when in doubt ? as if it is part of a phishing scam you will be able to tell from the addresses.