Some Types Of Internet Security Threats

The world we are living in is making a fast evolution to digitize everything. Books, weight loss programs, music, even parties and classes are all now available online in digital form. Indeed, the technology for all these applications continues to innovate and grow exponentially fast.

Needless to say, with this raging growth in the online industry follows a rapidly increasing number of cyber security threats. As every aspect of our lives turns digital, we are in turn becoming more and more open to having our files compromised, our privacy violated, and our information stolen. Government and hackers alike are to blame, because Internet surveillance is now pervasive in almost every country, despite public protest over such bad measures.

There is a host of obvious threats to your Internet security and here’s what online users should watch out for.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a sickening form of malicious software, which infects victims’ computers, locks up all, or some documents and asks for payment in exchange for them to regain access. Cryptolocker – the most infamous example of ransomware – was earlier this year dealt as huge blow when several people were arrested by federal officials for allegedly being involved in the scam.

And, although that crackdown was a great step, Internet security experts say the software is still spreading and it is now moving to new soft targets. Intel’s McAfee Labs, has managed to track a rapidly rising number of ransomware attacks, especially on mobile devices.

Ransomware

Possibly scarier: Internet security experts generally recommend that people back up their data in order to avoid the pain of losing access to their documents and files, however, McAfee has warned that new ransomware strains might attempt to target securely stored login info for cloud backup service and lock up the files too.

Consider backing up your documents to external hard drives to avoid ransomware threats. Just like with many other kinds of malware, this one is also often unknowingly downloaded when consumers click on links or open email attachments.

However, if you at any one time you become a victim of ransomware attacks, please avoid the temptation of paying up. There is absolutely no guarantee the villains will actually free up your files, and funding Internet security crooks’ activities only worsens up the matter.

Malicious messages that certainly seem like the real thing

Cybercriminals mostly deliver malicious software or obtain personal information by tricking their victims with messages that really seem as legitimate. Download the attachment or click the link, and you have unintentionally infected your mobile device or computer.

Such malicious e-mails were once unsophisticatedly done: poor grammar, broken images, or other hints that the messages were not really coming from your mom or the bank. However, cybercriminals now have advanced increasingly and are now using toolkits’ at their disposal to help them build very truthful-looking malware and messages.

They can direct a tool at any website, say a school, and it scrapes the actual school site’s language, logo, language, everything. Internet security experts used to tell consumers to stay clear of things that look suspicious, but these advanced toolkits’ can trick even sensitive customers. It is all turning out to be a more professional game that is likely to hurt many Internet users globally.

It is a highly sophisticated spin on old attacks, and it’s worrying that consumers are always wrongfully assuming they shall be able to know any malicious e-mail. The best thing you can to do remain safe from this type of Internet security threat is by simply not clicking on links coming from any e-mail.

If that is really too extreme for you, then be sure to hover your mouse over hyperlinks ensure they are taking you to the site they claim to be. And, if it appears even remotely wrong or strange, do not click the link. Try to exercise extreme caution whenever you are dealing with any attachments as well.

Targeting the “one percent”

Although cybercriminals may target a particular government or company entity, they generally don’t spend much time targeting a single person because the possible financial pay-off is not worth their time. Nonetheless, wealthy consumers are the exception, according to a recent Internet security research carried out.

Cyber Crime

It is highly expected that cybercriminals will have a more active eye towards the wealthy – the one percent. If a criminal thinks he/she can get a serious amount of money from a victim, he/she can decide to spend a lot of time on a personalized attack.

Even if you are part of the 99%, Internet security experts warn that consumers must desist from giving out information like employers, birthdays, as well as other bio details on Facebook , Twitter, and other sites. Crooks can be devious about leveraging this info.

Cyberwar and Espionageware

What Internet security experts have been terming as a “Cyber Cold War” for quite some time is now ramping up very quickly. Indeed, many nations and states both strong and weak see cyber-attacks, as the best weapon to counter United States’ global influence.

Therefore expect an increase in malicious software being used by governments to spy on the activities of certain individuals. Amnesty International recently released an antispyware tool, which scans devices for surveillance software belonging to governments.

Overall, Internet security experts predict the number of cyber-attacks will go up in 2015 and beyond. It is scary stuff, but there is hope that public awareness and conversation will as well increase. Of course, that will not happen overnight, but in order to make changes a conversation will have to be started.

In the meantime, there are a handful of best practices that can protect average persons from a host of vulnerabilities likely to face them. First, ensure to keep your antivirus software always updated, never store sensitive personal info online or on e-mails, use strong passwords, never sign into accounts when using Wi-Fi networks that are public and exercise extreme caution when downloading attachments or clicking links.

Advantages And Boundaries Of Internet Anonymity

Ever since the beginning of the Internet there has been a huge discussion about user anonymity – is Internet anonymity justifiable and when; should we all just use our legal identities while browsing and communicating on the internet. Naturally, there are lots of pros and cons to both sides of the coin.

Pros and cons of Internet Anonymity

Internet FishingMajor advantage of Internet anonymity is the opportunity to speak freely about things that would otherwise bring about unpleasant consequences to a person. This allows people to talk freely about their sexual orientation without fear of judgment, still very present in many countries; unpleasant experiences, such as harassment, sexual abuse or diseases; expressing political views that are different from the government’s, which is true especially in countries with limited freedom of speech.

In these situations Internet anonymity comes in very handy, but the major disadvantage of it is the fact that it can be used by criminal organizations and for criminal activities. Internet criminals are quite skillful at hiding, and typically they will attack those who use their real identities. So, many people view Internet anonymity as a major threat.

Those concerned about Internet security in general are mostly in favor of the anonymity; while law enforcements have a lot of trouble catching cyber criminals precisely because the high level of Internet anonymity.

The most common delusion of the average Internet user is the belief that using aliases instead of a real name will provide them anonymity. The truth is that it won’t, and the reason is quite simple – every computer has its IP address and it leaves digital footprints wherever you go on the internet.

Preserving anonymity has become much trickier since the social media came into play. It really doesn’t matter if you’re posting on a forum under a pseudonym; because, even an average hacker will be able to trace back to your Facebook  profile for example, which in most cases is on your legal name. And if you happen to link your social media profiles to any of your third-party profiles – their job gets even easier!

From here they can do whatever pops into their head and there’s no way for you to know that, until some serious damage happens. What’s worse, with them using various anonymity tools it makes them difficult to find; so, you won’t be able to press charges against them. Now, imagine someone bulling other people in your name; posting racist articles; manipulating your stock market; spending money from your credit/debit cards… You can end up in a lot of trouble, just for not being careful enough.

Anonymity
Some General Safety Measures

Luckily, there are some actions you can take to improve your Internet anonymity and security in defense against hackers.

• The main thing is to make strong passwords using symbols, numbers and letters, both upper and lower case.

• Also, consider using different passwords for different platforms, since platforms have various tools for protecting users’ passwords and not all of them are reliable.

Using a VPN is another way of protection against hackers and preserving your Internet anonymity. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it will basically hide your computer’s IP address and your location. It is a most useful tool when using public networks, such as restaurants, airports, neighbor’s internet 🙂 etc. Plenty of hackers are just waiting out there for you to login into your Facebook account via the public network.

• Another thing you should be mindful of is to avoid giving your email address to untrusted sources and never (really, never!) use your social media accounts when creating a profile on third-party websites.

• Phishing is also something you should be very aware of. Hackers often send links to their potential victims in an email. These links lead to fake websites which look the same as their original counterparts; only their addresses are slightly different – for example it won’t be facebook.com but ffacebook.com or instead of skrill.com, you’ll see skrllll.com (triple l). People usually don’t notice these things and they just fill in the login information, practically giving away their usernames and passwords to hackers.

Social media is computer-mediated tool that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.We’re everyday witnesses of Internet being un-forgetful; everything you’ve ever done online is stored somewhere waiting to be used against you. And, hackers have a wide spectrum of tools they can use against you; no matter how careful you are they will always go above and beyond in discovering more creative and more subtle ways to get into your computer. You can never be careful enough, but you can make it a bit more complicated for them by being more mindful of your behavior online.

Atlanta-Based Bitcoin Payment Processor Hit By Internet Security Attack

An Atlanta-based Bitcoin payment processing company, BitPay, has reportedly been hit by a costly phishing scam with loses estimated to be around $1.8 million. The hacker, who pretended to be BitPay’s CFO Mr. Bryan Krohn, sent dummy email messages from his account in the month of December. Sanctioning transfer of approximately 5,000 bitcoins in 3 separate transactions to the SecondMarket platform, he bypassed Internet security systems where in any normal situation such advanced payments would not be necessary.

BitPay’s CFO Mr. Bryan Krohn
The first victim of this elaborate scam touching on Internet security was David Bailey, founder of quarterly trading magazine yBitcoin. His email account had been hacked and an alleged message sent to Krohn, requesting that he reviews certain modifications published on a Google document. During this time, they were coincidentally in consultations about purchase of the company’s online magazine by yBitcoin. As shown by documents from BitPay.

Krohn suspects that his login details were breached when he tried accessing the alleged document. Thereafter, the fraudster didn’t just impersonate him, but also hacked into the company’s Internet security details to acquire details concerning procedures used to make transactions with customers.

On Dec 11th, somebody pretending to be Mr. Krohn sent an email to BitPay’s CEO Stephen Pair, demanding immediate transfer of about 1,000 bitcoins to the SecondMarket platform at an undisclosed wallet address. The request was processed within an hour’s time, then shortly afterwards another email was sent for 1,000 more bitcoins to the same account. Transactions were made directly from the firm’s official wallet on Bitstamp.

Phishing Scam
The next day, the hacker requested 3,000 more bitcoins to be transferred to SecondMarket but at a different wallet account. After these funds were sent, Pair confirmed them by relaying an email to both Krohn and SecondMarket’s executive Gina Guarnaccia, with the latter immediately denying that her firm was involved in purchase of any bitcoins. That’s when the victims discovered their Internet security protocols had been tampered with.

A few days later, BitPay filed an insurance claim seeking compensation from its coverer the Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company. However, on Sept 15th BitPay filed suit against MBIC for failing to meet the contract stipulations, having not paid statutory damages as requested. They are seeking $950,000 as fine including necessary court fees.

Internet Security Vulnerability In Facebook Discovered

A potential security flaw has been discovered on popular social networking site Facebook, apparently hackers can access any user’s account provided they registered with their phone number and not email. The vulnerability was first discovered by software engineer Reza Moaiandin, it’s an Internet security loophole which allows hackers to access an individual’s user profile, photos and location data which can be harvested to perform other wrongs against the victim.

Facebook

All it takes for the Internet security breach to work is a phone number and a few simple number-generation algorithms, which anyone with basic IT skills can perform with ease. While doing his research, Moaiandin managed to generate 1000s of positive matches which after being fed into the Facebook API system, gave him unlimited access to multiple accounts without the owners ever knowing what happened.

He blames the Internet security issue on Facebook’s default “Who Can Find Me?” setting, which allows anyone to find another person’s profile by using a mobile number only. This setting is characteristically left accessible to everybody on the net even strangers, so felons with number generating software can find it easier to gobble up swathes of random user details without getting detected. Those who have accounts with this site are advised to be vigilant and make appropriate changes on their settings every so often; it shall help in guaranteeing Internet security each time you log into your profile.

Internet Security Vulnerability

While some details about a person are already being accessible to the public, the most worrying trend is the ability to directly link an individual to their phone number. This may lead to identity theft and harassment, and as for celebrities the crooks may engage in trolling and posting negative messages on walls to dent their image. Writing on his company’s blog, Reza says that he discovered the vulnerability by mistake and that if used by hackers it can harvest “millions” of innocent people’s details. Moaiandin has already brought the Internet security flaw to Facebook’s attention in April. One Facebook representative said that they don’t actually consider it an Internet security flaw, but that settings are also in place on each user’s account to gauge and mitigate any form of abuse.

VPN And Tor Will Double Your Internet Security

Not too long ago, the internet was primarily used by most of us to do simple tasks such as checking our email. Now, it’s used for so much more. More complex and dedicate tasks can be carried out online and this of course requires much more sophisticated security.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to protect yourself from identity thefts, credit card fraud, or even government “spy agencies” – proper Internet security is a must.

Throughout the next few sections we’re going to expand on why Internet security is so important, we’ll then talk about Tor, VPN systems, and how they can help you stay protected online.

Why Is Internet Security so Important?

Identity theft, credit card fraud, and government “spy agencies” are all very real threats that could occur when you’re doing something as simple as browsing the web. Having proper Internet security measures in place will protect you from all of the above threats and much more

The need for Internet security has become more apparent with the rise of companies that help us protect ourselves when we’re browsing the web. If there wasn’t a need for these services then all of these companies wouldn’t be in business.

A Quick Introduction to Tor

Tor is a very complex network system that helps you stay anonymous when you’re conducting your online activities, whether you’re just doing general browsing or work that requires the utmost in anonymity. Every byte of information that you send through Tor is encrypted with the help of several servers.

Setting-up Tor on your computer is as simple as downloading Google Chrome or another other browser. Simply head over to the Tor’s download page and install the right browser for your operating system.

You can download or here: https://www.torproject.org/download/download

Tor is a great way to keep yourself anonymous online, but using Tor’s network is not the only step that you should take. It would also be a wise decision to pair Tor with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

An excellent resource I found on Tor, that every noobie should read, lists the 11 Do’s and Don’ts while using Tor.

It can be found here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/do-donts-tor-network/

Finding the Right VPN

If you’ve ever logged onto a public Wi-Fi network, you would have seen a message along the lines of “any information sent over this network is not secure”. This means that your credit card information, social media passwords, anything and everything, can be intercepted and placed into the wrong hands.

Even your home Wi-Fi network can be hacked; it doesn’t just stop at public networks. A VPN encrypts your data and provides you with a secure way of connecting to the internet. All the information you send through the internet is first sent through a private server, before going to its destination.

There are numerous myths surrounding the whole VPN industry. For example, many people believe that all VPN’s are the same as they do the same thing. However, this could not be further from the truth. Different providers offer different levels of security, different encryption standards and most importantly different policies on keeping logs. You see some providers log your usage while using the VPN which makes the use of the VPN pointless if you are concerned with anonymity as you are when using it with Tor. There have been cases where VPN companies where subpoenaed for user data that was suspected of doing illegal activity. In one such case, the biggest VPN comapany in the world “Hide My Ass” handed over the user logs to the authorities and the user was then prosecuted.

Luckily there are companies out there with strict “No Logs” policies, so it means that they keep no logs on users usage what so ever. This gives you the added security and peace of mind that you are truly anonymous while online and you are getting what you pay for. To even go one step further I would highly recommend you do your due diligence and find a VPN provider that owns and manages their own network. These such VPN providers are called Tier 1 VPN’s. Most people don’t know but almost all of the VPN providers out there just rent rack space and the servers from 3rd party hosting companies and manage it remotely from a computer.  How would they know if the company they are renting the hardware from is not logging info or tampering with things? They wouldn’t. At least if the VPN company own and run the servers then if they say there are no logs then they can 100% prove it.

A great resource about combining a VPN with Tor is Jolly Rogers Security Guide For Beginners.

It can be found here: http://darkwebnews.com/help-advice/dark-web-beginners-security-guide/

And the VPN part here: http://darkwebnews.com/security-guide/combining-tor-vpn/

Closing Notes

As mentioned above, Internet security is extremely important and fortunately there are many ways that you can protect yourself online. One of the two most popular and most effective ways to do this is by using the Tor network, accompanied with a VPN.

If you want to check some VPN’s out then I have found a site here they review VPN’s and they are the only one on the net I could find that actually test them out with Tor.

You can find it here: http://topvpnsoftware.com/best-vpn-for-tor/

The advice and guidance provided above should help you get started with both Tor and a VPN.

Precautions When Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we communicate, play and work and public Wi-Fi networks are on the increase. But, if you are not careful about using public WiFi networks strangers can snoop on your e-mails and social network conversations or even hack into your credit card account and bank account. Follow the Internet security safety precautions that are listed below and you’ll be able to surf more securely on public Wi-Fi networks.

Internet Security Precautions:

Signal Lock Icon1. Don’t Share Anything

Sharing files and devices in your home WiFi network is safe, but it’s a liability on public WiFi networks. If you don’t have Internet security password protection on all the files in your computer, literally anybody in the public WiFi network you’re connected to can be able to browse through your device.

2. Never Disable Your Firewall

The firewall will help prevent other people or malware on the wireless network from connecting to your computer. Most operating systems have built-in personal firewalls and you can also install a third party firewall from different providers.

3. Know What Wi-Fi Network You Want to Use

You must always know the name of the Wi-Fi network that you’re planning to use and take the necessary Internet security precautions. Hackers can easily set up “fake” Wi-Fi networks in public spaces. These WiFi networks go directly to their hardware, and this gives them the opportunity to browse all your information freely.

4. Only Use HTTPS Sites

When using a public WiFi network, send personal information or log in only to sites that you know are fully encrypted. Look for HTTPS in the web address, which stands for – (HTTP over SSL or HTTP Secure) so that you can find fully encrypted websites. Additionally, always ensure that it appears before providing potentially compromising information. The same goes for e-mail, only this time, search for SSL. When you’re using a desktop email client, you should always make sure that it has SSL encryption in the client’s settings.

5. Consider Using a VPN

Lock with the Key IconA VPN (Virtual Private Network) ensures your Internet security by basically creating a tunnel between your computer, tablet or smartphone and a third party server. All the data that goes through this secure tunnel is encrypted and as a result hidden from the WiFi provider and anybody trying to sniff the Wi-Fi network.