The internet makes our everyday lives easier, offers plenty of leisure activities, and can help you with your work and studies. The internet plays a role in all of these activities. But like so many things in life, the World Wide Web does not only bring advantages. There are always dangers lurking there that you should be wary of.
There are many different types of malicious software that you can encounter on the internet: Malware, Trojans, viruses, and worms. These can have very different effects. The best way to get away with it is to be constantly bombarded with advertisements. It becomes hazardous when your entire data traffic and all your activities are transferred to third parties. Malware software is also being used more and more frequently. Criminals disable your whole computer system and demand a ransom to unblock it.
The terms viruses, worms, and Trojans are often used interchangeably, as they are not always easy to distinguish. Viruses usually are wired to destroy a system and wipe out all data. A worm is known for spreading itself further and further. A Trojan pretends to be something that it is not. For example, you may download an antivirus program that does exactly the opposite and infects your computer with viruses instead.
There are also different spy programs. To spy on your steps on the net, criminals use spyware, botnet clients, or keyloggers. What is particularly unpleasant is that these little spies can sometimes also turn on your camera or microphone without you noticing. This means that they can make videos and audio recordings and spy on your accounts and passwords or blackmail you with something. If you are caught in a botnet, you no longer have control over your device, and someone can perform actions from there that you don’t even know about.
This scam is probably the best-known one. When phishing happens, your data is misused for fraudulent purposes. For example, to obtain bank or credit card data or other passwords, which are then used to redirect transfers to other accounts, debit money, etc. (read here about The Risks of Reusing Passwords on Multiple Sites).
Phishing is also often carried out through fake e-mails. These e-mails look like they come from a credit institution, mobile phone provider, or other reputable company. Mostly, there is supposedly some problem with the corresponding account, or there is an unpaid bill. You are then supposed to either click on a link or open an attachment and are redirected to a website that often looks deceptively similar to the real one. There you should enter your user data. You should do this under no circumstances if you are not one hundred percent sure that it is a real message from the specified sender. If you are in doubt, you should ask them again.
The so-called ransomware or ransomware Trojan is becoming increasingly popular among cybercriminals. Once it has taken control over your computer, it encrypts crucial files until they can no longer be accessed. The preferred targets of ransomware are larger companies. For you to get your device running again and gain access to the data, cybercriminals behind the malware ask for a ransom. This ransom is usually supposed to be paid in the form of Bitcoins. However, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that the system will be decrypted again.
Although the internet has so many dangers, many users still do not show the necessary caution. When dealing with the internet, too many people do not use the appropriate tools to protect themselves. A study by NordVPN shows that while there are significant differences between different countries and regions, users worldwide are too careless overall.
Children and young people, in particular, can encounter many risks on the internet. This is because they are not yet aware of the dangers on the web and are too careless with them. For example, they may post personal information that is not intended for the public and can cause considerable damage in the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to protect yourself one hundred percent from all the dangers that lurk on the World Wide Web. However, there are a few rules you should consider to maintain a certain level of security.
1) Install all updates for the operating system and the apps and programs you use as soon as possible. Such updates often include fixes for security vulnerabilities and are therefore very important.
2) Choose a good antivirus program, which you should install on all the devices you use. However, make sure that you use only one antivirus program, otherwise, the different providers may block each other, and thus the protection is lost.
4. Avoid unsafe sites, as they can also be contaminated with viruses. Secure websites use an HTTP protocol. You can see this by looking at the address bar of the website.
For an even higher level of security, the use of a VPN is a perfect solution. With a VPN, all your data is encrypted, and you can move privately on the net. Therefore, you should also get a good VPN in any case.