Internet security has become a popular buzzword for IT security software vendors trying to attract customers' attention invoking fear towards hackers, unknown risks and online threats they're not aware of. But Internet security is not only marketing, it's a new branch of knowledge focusing on delivering safe online experience to even non-experienced internet users. The average of the population doesn't even know, that internet security encompasses many sub-terms, just like the internet security software includes many features, e.g. anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware, anti-adware, instant messenger monitoring and anti-spam software.
For an average internet user it's therefore of great importance, to understand what these terms mean, how to identify internet risks and how to avoid them whilst online. As mentioned before, firewalls have become an integral part of almost every internet security suite available today. You will find one in the widely known Symantec security tools, but also minor manufacturers such as BitDefender, PC Security Shield or PC Tools have included the firewall feature into their internet security products. In brief, firewalls is a piece of software designed to filter unwanted or dangerous internet traffic. This can be inbound or outbound data transmission generated by applications, internet browser requests, instant messaging programs or it can occur when you send out an email.
A properly configured firewall will not allow suspicious programs such as keyloggers and spyware to rely hijacked information to a third party somewhere in the internet. If will detect and block these data packets so that they're not accessible from the outside world. So, what's happen when there's a hidden spyware running in the background that hijacked your password and tries to rely this to the hacker? A well-designed, properly configured firewall will stop this transmission not allowing any data leak. On the other hand, it will block any incoming connections in the case a remote hacker tries to connect to your computer directly to try a break-in attack.
It is therefore vital, that your internet security suite includes a solid as-a-rock firewall. Another nice thing IT security vendors have done for us ? humble internet users ? is the anti-virus software. If you buy an internet security package, irrespectively of who the manufacturer is, it will probably include some sort of anti-virus software. Just to name a few Webroot, Kaspersky, Symantec or McAfee provide multiple variants of security suites, all of them including the anti-virus. What will an anti-virus do for me and what it is important to have one? Most of us got infected online because of irresponsible online actions such as installing software from unknown sources, opening suspicious emails or visiting booby-trapped sites designed with only one aim - to infect the visitor's computer.
Viruses are tiny programs that reside in PC's memory or files, that spread automatically through the system preventing it from normal function or even destroying files or disks. They're resigned in a way, where they replicate automatically, and sometimes send infected emails over the Internet to your address book mates. To avoid this, you must introduce a reliable anti-virus software to your computer and run virus checks on a daily basis. Updating your virus definition is also an important factor for ensuring a high degree of protection. Remember not to open any suspicious emails or run software from unreliable sources.
These are the ways your PC can get infected in the first place. Another kind of malicious software you may get infected with is spyware. This term, for which another form of spelling is spy-ware, is responsible for most dangerous infections your computer get catch while surfing the web and downloading software.
Once infiltrated your system, spyware will attempt to hijack sensitive information such as credit card number, login and password credentials or other confidential data stored on your PC. Some spyware programs act as bots, which mean they interconnect with each other, creating a huge, world-wide network of infected computers, so called zombies, that are remotely manipulated by a hacker from their central computer. These bot-nets, staying under the control of cybercriminals, are the major threat to the Internet's integrity and security nowadays.
Using botnets, thousands or even millions of computers where their owners are not aware of taking part in a crime, are often used to launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to sabotage websites or servers with the aim of financial gain. Therefore it's of highest priority to install and run a reliable anti-spyware solution on your PC which will not only protect your personal information from being stolen, but also will contribute to the increase of Internet's global security level. To sum it up, if you want a safe Web experience, remember to use a legitimate copy of a robust internet security suite that you get from a trusted source. Keep in mind, that updating your virus definition on a daily basis is a must in the today's world where new threats are emerging every minute. Enjoy your online! Charles Brooker.
Charles Brooker is system analyst at SecurityBay Security Software ? UK's Internet security solution provider.