This week in tech: Happy Browsing

The Internet is an infinite, beautiful place where knowledge is accessible, communities are plentiful and new content is constantly flowing. There really are no limitations. So many doors open once you learn your way around the Internet because the Internet gives us the resources, the keys to create and unlock opportunities.

But, the Internet is dangerous. Did you know that most of the time people use only 20% of the Internet? The remainder of the Internet “Dark” or “Deep” web is only accessible through certain browsers such as Tor. These browsers are notorious for being havens for drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution, hired hit men and much more nefarious activities.  Though it is scary stuff don’t let it scare you. too much. You’ll never find content like that on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Youtube, Reddit, essentially mainstream webpages that most everyone uses.

That doesn’t mean you still don’t have to be careful when you’re browsing because every thing you do on the Internet can easily come to light. The privacy that people think they have, they don’t. The spams, junk mail, dubious ads can easily be virus waiting for that single click to sink its teeth into your software. It’s important to learn what to do and what to avoid when you go online.

In this article we will explore more about ways that you can be attacked, most common types of cyber attacks and how to stay safe on the Internet.

Verizon research found nine types of cyber-attacks accounted for 92% of the incidents in the past decade:

Crimeware. The public sector, utilities, manufacturing, and information industries are particularly at risk of malware that compromises systems such as servers and desktops. To make it harder for crimeware to get in, patch anti-virus programmes and browsers, avoid Java browser plugins as much as possible, use two-factor identification, and implement configuration-change monitoring.

Insider and privilege misuse. Misuse of computer access privileges is widespread among industries and within companies. To better protect your data, find out who has access to every aspect of it, review user accounts, set up controls to watch for data transfers out of the organisation, and publish anonymised results of audits.

Physical theft and loss. The public and health-care sectors are threatened by the loss or theft of laptops, USB drives, or printed documents. To prevent theft or loss, encrypt devices, back up data regularly, lock down IT equipment to immovable fixtures, and store sensitive documents in secure areas.

Web app attacks. Utilities and companies in the information, manufacturing, and retail sectors face risks from web application attacks. To prevent misuse of stolen credentials or exploitation of vulnerabilities, use two-factor authentication, consider switching to a static content-management system, lock accounts after repeated failed login attempts, and monitor outbound connections.

Denial-of-service attacks. The finance and retail sectors are particularly at risk of being attacked by botnets and powerful servers trying to grind business operations of systems and applications to a halt. To fortify against malicious traffic attacks, ensure that servers are patched promptly, buy a small backup circuit and segregate key servers, test your anti-DoS service, and make sure key operations teams know what to do in case of an attack.

Cyber-espionage. Professional services, transportation, manufacturing, mining, and the public sector are popular targets. To protect against breaches, patch software vulnerabilities, update anti-virus software, train users to recognise and report danger signs, and keep good logs of system, network, and application activity.

POS intrusions. Retail and the hospitality sector are particularly at risk. To reduce the risk, limit remote access to POS systems by third-party companies; enforce strong password policies; do not allow staff to use POS systems to browse the web, check email, or play games; and use two-factor authentication.

Payment card skimmers. Banks, retailers, and hospitality companies are particularly at risk of skimmers’ reading payment cards as customers pay. To prevent the installation of skimmers on, for example, petrol pumps or ATMs, use tamper-resistant terminals, train employees to spot skimmers and recognise suspicious behaviour, and use tamper-evident controls, such as seals over gas pump doors or automated video monitoring.

Miscellaneous errors. Industries that deal in information dissemination are threatened by security mistakes such as accidentally sending private data to a public site, sending information to the wrong recipients, or failing to dispose of documents or assets securely. To minimise such mistakes, implement data-loss prevention software, strengthen controls on publishing, and train staff on asset disposal.

Another way that people try to attack is by using phishing scams:

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and fake web sites, masquerading as legitimate businesses, to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information. To be safe, if you receive an email from a business that includes a link to a web site, make certain that the web site you visit is legitimate. Instead of clicking through to the site from within the email, open a separate Web browser and visit the business’ web site directly to perform the necessary actions. You can also verify that an email is in fact from a legitimate business by calling the business or agency directly.

The best way to protect yourself:

1) Don’t click foreign links

2) If your computer has a popup that says “Call this number” there is a huge chance that you have a virus, the best way to solve this is with virus scanners and protectors such as McAfee or Norton.

3) Don’t give away your passwords/close your accounts when you use a new computer

4) pw: Create!Stonger!Passwords!1970

5) Shop safely online – a good way to do this is using secure payment systems

To put it simply, be aware of what you are doing on the Internet. As I said above, the Internet is a beautiful tool we can use to gain knowledge and endless opportunities but just like our own world you have to thread. Don’t click every link you find, don’t blindly use the Internet. If you’re a member of the online community, which if you’re reading this article I’d assume you were, then be aware, be watchful. That doesn’t mean you have to expect an attack every time you open your browser, just be prepared because you are not exempt nor am I, nor is anyone. So, folks. Happy Browsing.

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