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The internet has revolutionized the way in which access information. Rather than reading newspapers or watching CNN, we can find stories on all of the latest events by opening a web browser.
However, the downside to this digital revolution is an increased risk of cyber threats. To better protect yourself and your business, you should familiarize yourself with the following internet security myths.
1. Visiting a Website Is Safe If You Don’t Click Links
Some internet users assume that malware is only deployed through download links, but this isn’t simply true. Just visiting a website can infect your computer or network with malware, regardless of whether you download files or click links. Known as a drive-by download, it involves an automatic redirect to the malware file. The problematic website automatically redirects the victim to the malware, prompting his or her web browser to download the file.
2. Emails from a Recognizable Sender Are Safe
Just because you recognize the person or organization who sent you an email doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Hackers can easily spoof their emails so they appear to be sent from a legitimate company. In 2013, a spoofed email was sent to a news agency announcing the corporate acquisition of Fingerprint Cards by Samsung. While the story was fake, the news agency believed it was real, so they announced it on their station. This caused Fingerprint Cards’ stock to rise by 50 percent.
3. Antivirus Software Will Protect You from Viruses
Running a reputable, up-to-date antivirus software will lower your risk of malware and virus infection. However, neither it nor any other method is completely fool-proof. Antivirus software is developed to target specific types of cyber infections. Developers are constantly working to identify new threats, after which they are added to the respective software. When a new virus emerges, it may take developers a while to identify and add it to their software’s protection. This provides hackers with a brief window of opportunity to deploy their virus on systems even if those systems are running antivirus software.
4. Using a VPN Will Protects Against Malware Infections
A virtual private network (VPN) protects data in transit using cryptography. Data sent and received is encrypted. The only person who can read your data is the individual at the other end of the server you are accessing; thus, preventing a hacker from intercepting it. If someone attempts to access your data in transit, they’ll encounter a scrambled mix of characters. A VPN still uses your primary internet connection; it just tunnels it through a secure line. If you have broadband internet, for example, the VPN will tunnel your broadband connection to achieve a higher level of data security.
Unfortunately, though, a VPN won’t protect you from malware infections. You can still download malware infections by visiting websites, downloading files and clicking links. Nonetheless, using a VPN is an effective way to safeguard your data in transmit, but you shouldn’t expect it to block malware infections.
5. You’ll Know When You Are Infected
You won’t always know when you’re infected with a virus or malware. Granted, some cyber threats like ransomware immediately notify the victim of the infection, but others are more discreet and often go unnoticed by the victim. A hacker, for instance, may deploy a keylogger on the victim’s computer to record what he or she types. Using this information, the hacker can then gain access to the victim’s accounts. Other infections are designed to turn the victim’s computer into a zombie bot, with the hacker using it to perform other cyber-attacks.
These are just a few common myths about internet security. The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether you use it for personal or business purposes, though, you should implement some basic safeguards to protect against cyber threats.