What Is Online Security?

Last updated on June 10th, 2022 in VPN

online security

The usual definition of internet security is the combination of regulations followed and activities are done to ensure that hackers do not violate online user data and privacy.

Online security may range from a complicated system meant to prevent credit card fraud to as basic as installing antivirus software on your laptop to protect it from malware and viruses.

What Is Online Safety?

Online safety refers to the act of remaining secure while using the Internet – in other words, ensuring that online security risks do not compromise your personal information or the device’s integrity.

It’s easy to mix up online security with online safety, but the easiest way to tell them apart is to think about the following: Online safety is provided through online security.

The 10 Biggest Threats to Your Online Security

We choose to focus on the most hazardous and prevalent online security issues because there are dozens of them on the Internet. If you think of an online danger that should be included to our list, please contact us and let us know.

Let’s get started now that it’s out of the way:

Malwares


Malware is harmful software that is designed to infect every device with which it comes into contact. Malware has grown in quantity dramatically in recent years, making it one of the most serious security risks on the internet today.

The most common forms of malware employed presently are:

  • Viruses are a sort of malware that replicates itself.
  • Adware — This program bombards you with unsolicited advertisements.
  • Spyware — Uses keyloggers to record your personal information.
  • Ransomware encrypts sensitive data or locks you out of your device until you pay a ransom.
  • Trojan Horses are malicious programs included in legal applications (typically without the manufacturer or programmer’s knowledge).

 

Machine worms are malicious programs that do not need to be connected to other files or applications and reside in the memory of the computer. Malware is typically used to steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, login passwords, personally identifying information, and so on) from victims in order to steal money or sell the information on the dark web.

Malware can also be used to steal a person’s identity, keep crucial data hostage for ransom, or simply harm a hard drive or gadget.

Phishing

Phishing attacks are carried out by cybercriminals who employ a variety of ways to deceive online users:

  • Emails and text messages that aren’t real
  • Fake internet sites
  • Fraudulent website (different from fake websites, as they involve JavaScript commands that change the address bar)
  • Manipulation of links
  • Engineering social behavior
  • Phlashing is a verb that means “flashing” (a phishing method that relies on Flash)
  • Subtle redirections (basically, legitimate websites that get hacked to redirect visitors to fake websites)

Pharming


This is a technique used by hackers to increase their chances of fooling online consumers through phishing websites. Unlike phishing does not rely heavily on phony messages. Cybercriminals instead try to direct user connection requests to malicious websites directly.

DNS cache poisoning is commonly used to take over your browser’s URL address bar. You will be sent to a phishing website even if you fill in the correct email address or IP address of the website you want to view.

Vulnerabilities

Application vulnerabilities are defects and errors detected in a program’s code that can be exploited by hackers to gain access to and steal user data. These problems are usually resolved with a software update.

A good example is Facebook’s vulnerability, which allowed hackers to take over user accounts (posing a risk to up to 50 million users).

DDoS Attacks


DoS (Denial of Service) and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) assaults are attempts to shut down a website or an online service by overloading network servers for a few minutes, hours, or even days. DDoS assaults are launched via a network of compromised computers, whereas DoS attacks are launched from a single computer (called a botnet).

Experienced hackers, as well as anyone with the funds to pay for DoS assaults or rent botnets, can use these types of attacks.

As an individual Internet user, DoS and DDoS attacks are not extremely damaging to your online security. They’re more of a nuisance, but if you manage an online business or a website, they can pose a major threat.

Why? Because DoS and DDoS attacks can lead you to lose consumers’ trust and cause you to lose money. Of course, fraudsters might use DoS and DDoS attacks as a smokescreen to hide their attempts to breach customer data from security personnel. DoS and DDoS attacks become a worry for everyone in that circumstance.

Scamming


Scammers preyed on individuals even before the Internet existed. They’re more active and successful than ever before, because to the ease with which they can defraud individuals of their money and personal information.

Scammers typically utilize a variety of strategies to deceive online users and persuade them into disclosing sensitive information (such as their Social Security Number, credit card information, bank account information, email login passwords, and so on) so that they can steal their money or their identity.

SQL Injection


SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language used by servers to store website data. As a result, a SQL injection attack can put all user data on a website at risk.

SQL injections are attacks that utilize malicious code to exploit security flaws in online applications. These types of assaults can lead to data theft, deletion, and even the cancellation of online transactions.

Unfortunately, the ordinary internet user has no protection against SQL injection attacks. The best thing they can do is remain with a service provider who is recognized for using stable and secure servers and for not requesting excessive personal information.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks


A cybercriminal intercepts or alters communications between two parties in a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

A hacker who intercepts communications between your device and a website is an excellent illustration of this. The cybercriminal might intercept your connection request, modify it to their liking, send it to the website, and then intercept the answer. They might take vital information from you in this method, such as your login information, credit card information, or bank account passwords.

MITM attacks can rely on malware to succeed, but they can also happen in a variety of different ways, with the following being the most common:

  • Spoofing DNS
  • Spoofing HTTPS
  • Wi-Fi espionage
  • SSL hijacking through IP spoofing

Spamming


Spamming is the practice of sending unsolicited communications to a large number of people through the Internet. The messages might range from basic advertisements to pornography. Email, social media, blog comments, and messaging applications are all options for sending messages.

Spam is often bothersome, but it may also be dangerous to your online security if the messages you receive contain phishing attempts, harmful links, or malware-infected files.

Network Eavesdropping


WiFi eavesdropping is most common on unsecured WiFi networks (typically the free ones you find in public places), and it includes hackers using the absence of encryption to monitor your internet connections and messages. They may be able to see what websites you visit, email messages you send, and text messages you send.

WiFi eavesdropping can also happen on protected networks if the WPA2 encryption is hacked — which appears to be possible but not easy. That vulnerability may no longer be an issue if most network devices are outfitted with WPA3, although it may be a while before the updated version is released.

8 Tips for Increasing Online Security

online safety tips

  • Use Secured Wifi Only

    WiFi eavesdropping is most common on unsecured WiFi networks (typically the free ones you find in public places), and it includes hackers using the absence of encryption to monitor your internet connections and messages. They may be able to see what websites you visit, email messages you send, and text messages you send.WiFi eavesdropping can also happen on protected networks if the WPA2 encryption is hacked — which appears to be possible but not easy. That vulnerability may no longer be an issue if most network devices are outfitted with WPA3, although it may be a while before the updated version is released.
  • Update Your Antivirus Software

    Antivirus software is your best hope for preventing malware attacks on your device. Don’t be fooled by the name: an antivirus program fights viruses, but it mostly targets malware (a virus being a type of malware). Make sure the program is up to date, and that you scan it frequently – especially after downloading new files. It’s preferable if you don’t open them without first scanning them.Just make sure you choose a trustworthy antivirus service. Ideally, you should avoid free solutions and instead choose for a premium supplier that may provide a free trial.There are several antivirus/antimalware software vendors to select from, but Malwarebytes and ESET are our favorites.
  • Always Use a VPN

    A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an internet service that allows you to conceal your true IP address while also encrypting your online interactions. It’s one of the most effective methods for improving your online security and obscuring your digital footprint. Nobody will be able to monitor your online traffic to observe what you’re doing on the Internet as long as adequate encryption technologies are applied.That means you won’t have to worry about cybercriminals (or government agencies or your ISP) listening in on your conversations, even if you utilize insecure public WiFi networks.You should use the VPN in conjunction with a good antivirus product. While a VPN can help you stay safe online, it can’t protect your device from infection.


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  • Avoid Phishing

    Because phishing can take many different forms, we decided to put the most important tips into this brief list:Ignore any emails or communications purporting to be from a friend, your bank, or the police urging you to download shady attachments, click on shortened links, or provide personal information. Instead, contact the alleged sender to find out the truth.Between quotes, try researching parts of the message you received. If it’s a phishing scam, you’ll very certainly find other people who have received the identical message.Ignore any emails that purport to come from respectable organizations but lack valid contact information or signatures.If you visit a website, take precautions.
  • Avoid Bluetooth Hacking

    While Bluetooth has its uses, leaving it on all the time is a risky proposition. Bluetooth was reported to have a vulnerability in 2017 that allowed fraudsters to surreptitiously hack your device. A new Bluetooth hacking method was revealed in 2018 that affected millions of devices by allowing hackers to access your device’s encryption key through MITM attacks.Overall, it’s safer to be safe and turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it to maintain your online security.
  • Enable Location Only When Needed

    Geo-location services are both useful and dangerous. Aside from the fact that an app or a market behemoth like Google will always know where you are, some apps may leak your geo-location.You won’t be in imminent danger if this happens. Even so, your online security will be compromised, and you never know what will happen to the disclosed data if it falls into the wrong hands (hint: it could be sold on the dark web).
  • Keep Your Systems Up-To-Date

    Not installing the most recent operating system updates can compromise your online security. Why? Because hackers can take advantage of such flaws, which may have been corrected with the most recent update.A good example of this is the EternalBlue exploit. It was an NSA-created exploit that targeted Windows devices and was also used in the WannaCry ransomware attacks. Fortunately, Microsoft immediately patched the vulnerability. People who did not install the update were essentially left exposed.
  • Use Strong Passwords

    Having strong passwords for your accounts is critical, but coming up with one that is truly exceptional is more difficult than it appears.

    If you need more information, we have an article on the subject, but here are the essential points:If space is allowed, it is used. Try to use only lengthy passwords and don’t limit yourself to just one word.Don’t use terms from the dictionary as your password and make sure you use both uppercase and lowercase letters, mixing them up at random.In your password, include symbols such as $, percent, or *. Your password should contain numbers as well.Reverse some of the words in your password (for example, instead of “cat” use “tac”).

    And most important –  avoid using the same password across all of your accounts.

Bottom Line

Online security refers to the rules you follow, the activities you perform, and the procedures that take place to keep you secure online. Security risks (virus, frauds, phishing, hacking, and so on) are growing more widespread by the day, making internet security more critical than ever.

The best method to be secure online is to use a good antivirus product, a trustworthy VPN, strong passwords, and script blocks (among other things).

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