As technology evolves, it becomes increasingly challenging for companies to keep their data secure. Given that a large number of business activities are done via an internet connection nowadays, cyber security is vital to prevent identity theft, stop hackers, and combat other malicious activities.
This article will explain common internet security threats and how to increase your online security.
Let’s get started.
Common Internet Security Threats
1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
As the name suggests, a DDoS attack involves malicious third parties attempting to disrupt a website by flooding it with massive amounts of requests and traffic.
To handle the sudden traffic surge, the site will use more server resources. If it runs out of them, the website will be overwhelmed and likely crash or shut down.
2. Man-in-the-Middle Attack
This type of attack is commonly faced by websites which do not encrypt the data exchanged between users and servers.
Man-in-the-middle attacks target sensitive information by intercepting data in transmission. Without the necessary encryption in place, hackers can easily access users’ login credentials or payment details.
A ransomware attack involves hackers gaining access to a computer and encrypting its hard drives. Demands are then made for a certain amount of money to be paid for a decryption key. If the user fails to pay, they risk losing their data or it being leaked.
5 Best Practices for Internet Security
Online security becomes important the moment you create your website. For example, you may want to ensure that no other websites can impersonate yours to prevent identity theft. To do this, you can go to a domain checker and secure similar domain names.
There are a number of online security practices, but I’ve included the five best ones you should follow on your computer and online.
1. Install an SSL Certificate and Firewall
The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and firewalls are essential internet safety features for every website.
An SSL certificate works by encoding sensitive data like customers’ personal information during information transfers between websites and their visitors.
SSL has become a must-have security feature on all websites because search engines will mark any website without the certificate as potentially harmful or unsafe.
Encrypting transferred data directly solves the problem of man-in-the-middle attacks.
2. Create Strong Passwords
Research indicates that most small and midsize businesses haven’t implemented strong password policies. This may be dangerous, given the large numbers of employees working from home on their personal devices. Security breaches are more likely the more devices and social media accounts are connected to a web server.
Most data breaches occur because of stolen or weak passwords, so creating strong passwords may not be enough. It’s essential to regularly change passwords to prevent your information from being stolen.
Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:
- Never reuse old passwords.
- A password should be longer than ten characters.
- Use a combination of special characters, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
3. Install Antivirus
Antivirus software is designed to detect, prevent, and take action against malicious software on your computer. It works in the background and checks every ongoing process, comparing it to known malware.
Using antivirus software, you can conduct full scans to make sure that there is no malware on your system.
Protection against malicious software is essential. By using an antivirus, you’ll not only prevent unwanted code from entering your website but also maintain the reputation of your business. Should your site be compromised by malware, it will pose a threat to users, leading to search engines blacklisting your website from appearing on SERPs.
4. Keep Systems Up-to-Date
While it may sound insignificant, updating your operating system and applications is crucial to keep your website secure. Hackers are always trying to find security loopholes and use them to breach websites.
Regularly updating your operating systems and applications is recommended because developers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities to fix before hackers can abuse them.
5. Use SFTP File Management
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) takes care of your site’s file management, such as adding, deleting, moving, or transferring files.
When you use SFTP, you’ll have to enter a secure password before any file management activities. This is to ensure that only authorized users can move, delete, add, or transfer files.
6. DDoS and SQLi Prevention
As mentioned above, DDoS attacks aim to disrupt websites by sending enormous amounts of traffic. This makes the afflicted site inaccessible to users.
SQL injection attacks, on the other hand, happen when hackers insert malicious code to your website to make it unavailable.
To combat these threats, include a Web Application Firewall (WAF) and DDoS mitigation solutions on your website. This will protect your site from malicious traffic.
As businesses are engaging in more online activities, it has become essential to secure sensitive information from fraudulent and malicious parties. I’ve gone over the three most common types of attacks on the internet:
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
- Man-in-the-Middle attacks
To deal with them, I’ve provided the six best internet security practices. Let’s recap:
- Install an SSL certificate and firewall.
- Create strong passwords.
- Install antivirus.
- Keep systems up-to-date.
- Use SFTP file management.
- DDoS and SQLi prevention.
Now you know the threats that lurk online and how to prevent them from entering your website or computer. Make sure to follow the best security practices and monitor your website for any suspicious activity.