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OLevel

Computer Science 2210

Security Aspects of Using the Internet

Paper-1

Security Aspects of Using the Internet

Security Concerns:

• The use of the internet has been increased dramatically over the past few years.
• People use it for communication, share files and use it to explore the pool of information available to them.
• With this increased usage the threats have also seen an uplift for the internet users worldwide e.g. spyware, Trojans, etc.
• These threats if encountered can corrupt data file, crash the system or can even breach your sensitive information like account details.
• Therefore, it is crucial to protect yourself from these malicious attacks and for this, some precautions must be taken by every internet user.
• Let’s see some security aspects:

Internet Confidentiality & Privacy:

• The Internet does not ensure your privacy and confidentiality in any major way. It should be your concern.
• Anonymizers, firewalls and sometimes encryption are used to reduce the risks.
• When it comes to the confidentiality and privacy you must keep the following considerations in mind:

Silent Communication & the Firewall:

• The internet connects you to the world, one disadvantage is there are also some infected computers and rogue actors who are on the lookout to find vulnerable machines to get control off.
• These silent communications are trackable fortunately because they are unsolicited and the difference can be easily identified e.g. the packets can be from a website that is unknown to you etc.
• To protect from this threat, ‘firewall’ is used i.e. a program that not only monitors but also traps these suspicious packets.
• But windows firewall traps only the incoming packets and leave the completely open access to the internet from your machine.
• The windows firewalls' weakness lets every program installed over your computer to contact its home company for updates automatically etc.
• However, to resolve this issue, a third-party firewall can also be used to monitor and trap both incoming & outgoing communications.

Your Surfing Track & Anonymizers:

• Websites track your surfing behavior over their sites and search engines build a record of your activities under your profile for this your IP address, internet network address, system names, etc. are used.
• Some advertising sites that are displaying their ads on different websites also use cookies to record your surfings on not only that site but also on future websites that you visit.
• To protect yourself from these trackings you can also set your browser settings to block cookies or you can use anonymizer to conceal your IP.

Posting Information Publicly:

• If you are posting or commenting anything to a public chat group, mailing list or discussion board then your information can be used even after several years.
• To protect this, always try to conceal your email address while posting and also try not to post any personal or sensitive information over there.

Never Ignore Privacy Policy:

• Websites that require you to set up your profile with personal information like date of birth, address, credit/debit card details can be approached by big companies to record your buying habits.
• While giving away your data, it is recommended to read carefully the privacy policy of the website to know what type of security the website promises you.
• Also, make sure the website uses an https link.

Information Interception:

• Information interception is another security concern.
• Entire communication/information/data that passes over the line near your home can be copied using direct physical interception, software taps or even radio frequency.
• Interception over the copper lines is easier and uses inexpensive equipment.
• Fiber optic is difficult to intercept but it is also possible.
• The only way to protect your communication from interception is encryption.

Internet Risks Associated with Malware,

Including Viruses, Spyware, And Hacking


Hacking:

• It can be defined as the act of gaining control over your system illegally.
• If your system is hacked then the hacker can gain access to your information i.e. identity theft.
• The hacker will be able to delete, modify or corrupt your data.

Prevention:

• To protect yourself from hackers, use firewalls, strong ID/password, and anti-hacking software.
• Another term similar to hacking that you may come across is ‘cracking’.
• Hacking is breaking into the system while cracking involves the malicious modification of the program.

Viruses:

• Viruses make computer programs replicate itself again and again to corrupt or delete files.
• It creates a malfunction, corrupt files and the system often crashes down.
 

Prevention:

• To prevent your system from viruses you can install anti-virus software.
• Avoid download/install of software from unknown publishers.
• Avoid opening emails from unknown recipients.

Wardriving:

• It can be defined as illegally locating and using the wireless connection of the internet.
• By wardriving, internet time can be stolen.
• It also poses a risk to the user password.

Prevention:

• To prevent yourself from wardriving, it is recommended to use a strong password and firewalls.

Spyware:

• Spyware is the act of gathering information about every key that pressed on a user's keyboard with the help of a software.
• With this, all data can be monitored and stolen.
• It can also install other spyware on your system and can read cookies data.

Prevention:

• To protect yourself from spyware, an anti-spyware software must be used.
• Avoid entering passwords from keywords instead use a mouse to select characters.

Anti-Virus and Other Protection Software


Anti-Virus Software:

• Install an anti-virus software before connecting your system first time to the internet.
• An anti-virus is a software that scans your system for any viruses and terminates them, scan new viruses from entering and protects your system from any more harm.
• The anti-virus software should be active all the time to deal with the viruses at earliest.
• It can also scan your emails, new disks connected to your system as well as the new programs you download from the internet.
• It is also capable of isolating irreparable files to protect other files from being corrupted.

Firewall:

• It is a program or hardware appliance and protects from unauthorized access to your system.
• It can also protect your system from internet threats like malware, viruses, hackers, and worms.
• It should be the first step to protect your system from any prevailing threats over the Internet.
• It should be active all the time to avoid any breach.
• It enforces a policy with governing rules for the flow of data.
• The firewall used in a typical computer system uses packet filtering.
• In packet filtering, data packets are either rejected or admitted depending upon the set configuration.
• It blocks uninvited incoming connections.

Password Protection:

• Passwords are put to keep the invaders out of your system or data.
• However, the strength or complexity of the password plays a great role in the protection.
• There are a few points that you must keep in mind while setting up your password:
• Make sure it is at least 6 characters in length.
• It contains a number, a special character, and a capital alphabet.
• It should not include your first name, last name, user ID, a month, a day, or a single word, etc.

Encryption:

• It is an effective way to achieve data security as it allows you to convert your information into a code that can only be decrypted using the same method and correct key.
• Data i.e. encrypted is known as ciphertext whereas data i.e. not encrypted is known as plain text.

Keep Updating the Software:

• It is also crucial that you keep your OS, anti-virus and firewall updated.
• You will be automatically notified when an update is available and it should be done on priority.

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