What is Internet Security?

What is Internet Security?

Internet security is any cybersecurity measure taken to protect online transactions, data and activities. The intention is to protect Internet users against hackers and to limit or eliminate data breaches.

What is internet security and why it matters

Internet security involves measures taken to protect online activities, transactions and data. Internet security can be a strategy, such as using complex passwords only for online services. It may also involve steps such as installing security software. For example, setting up a firewall for Windows or Mac OS can block malicious connections, while installing antivirus software helps protect your computer from malware.

Internet security is important to protect people and their private information online. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), one in three American households with computers is infected with malware, and almost half of all American adults have been hacked online. Additionally, many companies have been victims of data breaches that exposed their customers’ personal information. This is why good cybersecurity practices are so important.

Internet Security Threats

What threats should you be most concerned about? We spoke with several cybersecurity experts about what they think are the most important threats.


Malware, short for “malicious software”, is a general term that refers to any software designed to hijack, damage or destroy a computer or device. Viruses, worms, and ransomware are all examples of malware.


Most of the experts we spoke with mentioned ransomware as one of the fastest growing and most concerning types of malware. With ransomware, the victim’s data is either locked or deleted until a ransom is paid, which doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get your data back.


Botnets use a type of malware called a remote access Trojan, which allows cybercriminals to remotely control infected computers to carry out further attacks.

Wi-Fi Threats

Linksys Director of Product Management John Minasyan says a router’s role in Internet security is often overlooked. It points to several exploits directly targeting external security vulnerabilities. “As the first line of defense, a router acts as a gateway between people, devices, and the Internet,” he explains. Open networks are easy targets for attackers who also spy on the activities of devices on the same network.


Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information. In a phishing attack, someone sends an electronic communication such as an email or text message that appears to be from a financial institution or other entity. Instead, the link in the message tricks the victim into simulating a website controlled by the attacker. All the data entered by the victim on the website is compromised. “Phishing is extremely low profile and low elevation for threat actors,” says Josh Smith, cybersecurity analyst at Nuspire. “They only need one victim to interact to launch an attack.”


Hacking involves compromising an otherwise secure account. Typically, someone who has been “hacked” has had their login credentials stolen or leaked. Although this is often done with malicious intent, some hackers simply do it for notoriety, to prove they can, or out of boredom.

Data loss

Data can be stolen online through data breaches. “When someone signs up for a website and adds their credentials to it, they are at the mercy of that platform’s security,” Smith says. If this website fails to secure your data and suffers a data breach, there is a real possibility that your data may be compromised, corrupted or completely lost.

Malicious websites

All modern web browsers include some basic type of protection against malicious websites. For example, Chrome runs every website someone visits through an antivirus tool, and it will warn you before you take an unusual action, says ReliaQuest Enterprise Architect AJ Ledwin. For added security, only visit websites that have an SSL or TLS certificate.

How to stay safe online

Configure Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) uses a one-time password as an additional layer of security for your accounts. DNSFilter principal researcher Alex Applegate says setting up MFA is one of the easiest ways to secure your online accounts. “It’s easy to add and incredibly effective,” he said. “Stay away from services that don’t offer any sort of MFA authentication. In addition to not offering a key feature, this is also a testament to their comprehensive approach to security. »

Consider using a firewall

Firewalls are software or hardware tools that act as a barrier between your computer and the open Internet, allowing legitimate traffic while blocking unknown or suspicious traffic.

Use strong passwords

Ben Y. Zhao, professor of computer science at the University of Chicago, suggests using a good password manager to set strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. “Data breaches are now the norm, and reducing the damage caused by lost passwords is critical,” he says.

Use anti-virus software

Antivirus software can protect you against many Internet security threats, including new and emerging threats – often the most dangerous. It is not enough to install anti-virus software. You also need to keep it updated to keep it effective.

Use a VPN

Installing and using a virtual private network (VPN) is another method to protect yourself while online, as all your internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel that is difficult for hackers to penetrate.

Remember you get what you pay for. Free or cheap VPNs aren’t a good option, says Yale Privacy Lab founder Sean O’Brien. “The app could be malicious, not work at all, or worse, it could be actively spying on you,” he warns.

Use an identity theft protection service

Although following all the steps recommended here will greatly reduce your risk of being successfully hacked, it will not eliminate it. Using an identity theft protection service will alert you if your personal information is compromised.

Update software

It is important to regularly update your device’s operating system and its security software to ensure that the software is as secure as possible.

“It’s become an eternal joke that people quickly reject, delay or ignore software updates when messages pop up,” says cybersecurity consultant Peter Robichau. “But when these notifications are ignored long enough, devices become bright, shining targets.” Vulnerabilities are often quickly exploited, so the sooner you update, the better.

Block access to the webcam

It might also be a good idea to check who you’ve granted webcam access to. In Chrome, you can find it by clicking privacy and security, then site settings, then “camera or microphone.” Safari users can find similar settings by clicking preferences.

Use an ad blocker

O’Brien also recommends installing an ad blocker. “Not only does this allow for a calmer and less cluttered user experience, but it also makes it difficult for malware to spread via dubious advertisements,” he explained.

Use parental controls

If you are worried about your children visiting unsafe or inappropriate websites, using Parental Controls can prevent this. Parents can manage their children’s Google Accounts and restrict access to explicit sites or other sites in Chrome, with similar features available from Apple for the Safari web browser and other iOS devices.

Learn more

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