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Top 8 Internet Security Threats of 2016 and How to Protect Yourself

Protect against internet security threats

Modern internet has numerous security threats you’d better be protected against. In 2016, cybercriminals have more tools and techniques to breach any modern system and get what they want. If you want to be ahead of them and protect your computer and identity online, you should know about current internet threats and use strong defenses: up-to-date antivirus or anti-malware suite, best VPN to cloak your connection and firewall to filter out malicious traffic.

In the past, people were often tricked into downloading things they didn’t want with auto-checked boxes and many download buttons.

Today, these are not very effective, but it doesn’t mean hackers have given up. No, they’re now developing new tricks to deceive computer users.

There are two types of internet folks: those who don’t think much about the safety of their computer and information, and those who know about all the issues that could arise from being on the internet. What category are you in?

Well, it goes back to that old saying… knowledge is power. So read on to learn about top 8 internet security threats of 2016 and how to protect yourself against them.

1. Malware

The long name for malware is malicious software. It can be found in an array of forms – viruses, spyware, trojans, and worms. Thankfully, antivirus programs have been developed to detect malware.

The best thing you can do is learn how to deal with malware effectively and avoid it to ensure you have the safest possible internet experience.

2. Viruses

Viruses come with a malicious code that will infect your device upon installation. These infections generally happen with internet downloads, USB drives, or email attachments.

When infection occurs, it can be difficult to eliminate the source of the virus because of the way it works. Viruses can replicate themselves and infect the device’s file system, spreading from one file to another before they finally reach another machine.

3. Adware

Internet Security Threats. Adware

One of the most annoying nuisances you have to deal with is adware. It is typically bundled up with legitimate software or apps, which is why detection is a bit difficult. For instance, a download link may have a checkbox, asking if you want to have a program for free. This program tends to have adware in it.

4. Spyware

Spyware, while a big irritation, is often harmless. Most times, it is used to watch one’s browsing behavior in order to learn how to target ads that are relevant to the user. The bad thing about it is how companies collect your information. Instead of cookies, they use spyware, which acts like a trojan when installed.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware security threat

Both ransomware and scareware have different methods of approach, but the end goal is the same – collect money from the user who believes something is true when it isn’t.

Scareware tends to take the form of pop-up programs that inform you that your computer has been infected with malware. When you try to click on it, you must purchase a ‘paid’ version of the program in order for it to clean your system and eliminate the risks.

Ransomware works a bit differently. After the installation of the malicious software, it locks the system down and makes you pay so that you can use it again. Ransomware is typically a very easy threat to remove. But for average computer users, this is an utter annoyance. In fact, many of them think they need to pay the ransom to get control over their machine back.

6. Trojans

Top internet security threat: Trojan horse

What makes trojans so bad is that they can really do damage to your computer. They effectively hide malicious code in a program or file that seems safe, in the effort to get into your machine. Once it’s been able to get inside, the program will install itself and communicate with an outside server…all without you knowing.

The outside party then has access to the computer by way of a backdoor. For you, the key aspect of backdoors is how they work. The hacker will need to remotely connect to your machine. And if you disconnect from the internet while you look for the malicious code, they can’t stay.

7. Worms

There is little doubt about how damaging the worms are. A virus will only attack one computer, relying on its user to spread the file to others. A worm, on the other hand, exploits the security loopholes and could possibly bring the network down in mere minutes. It continues until all machines are infected, or the worm has been quarantined and removed from each device.

8. Vulnerabilities

How to protect against online threat and security flaws

It doesn’t matter how competent a developer is, each program has a flaw – sometimes multiple. Hackers will try exploiting these vulnerabilities to gain access and install their own code.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many security updates to programs? It’s due to the continuous cat-and-mouse game hackers and developers play with each other, with you being the cheese. The developer will look for holes and patch them up before they can be exploited. The hacker will always try to find security flaws before they have been plugged.

Be prepared for internet security threats

Sad but true: you’re not going to be able to protect yourself from everything bad that’s out there. Everyone, at some point in time, is going to get hit by an infection or an exploit.

However, making small changes to your computer and your browsing habits can help lower your risks of being a victim. Keep in mind to always use strong passwords for all your accounts and install helpful add-ons or extensions for better security while browsing.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg that is internet security threats of 2016. To learn more about online security, see how to protect yourself from zombie malware threats and find out more about the security of your Mac.