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Understanding Internet Security Threats

Photo of businessman with his face held in his hands in frustration and fear of digital security problems.

Internet security is a highly important topic. Security breaches can leave credit cards, bank accounts, or even your identity at risk. Those with a mobile lifestyle experience even more security threats than typical internet users. As such, it is vital to understand key security issues and protect yourself.

Network Segregation

What some do not understand about network security is that not all networks protect you from others on the same network. A poorly implemented public network may not separate users from each other, leading to a security risk as shared files and devices may be susceptible to another user getting your information. This happens when a public WiFi network is configured in much the same way as your own private home router would be configured, making all computers and devices with network sharing enabled at risk. 

Any properly implemented public network will segregate users from one another, ensuring that no one can access your computers, even when network sharing is enabled. However, given the trends in public WiFi, it is not uncommon for a network to be suspect to this issue. As such, the best way to alleviate this issue is to have a network router such as a WiFiRanger with a built-in firewall and distinct IP address scheme placed between your computers and that of others connected to the public network. Whether or not a given public network properly segregates your computers from others, having such a network router will ensure that your computers are safe and segregated regardless. 

WiFi Encryption

Open public WiFi networks pose a security threat to its users as their information can be easily ‘sniffed’ out by local hackers. Even a simple laptop with the right software and some know-how can be used to collect your data transmitted over unencrypted WiFi signals. With the convenience of open public WiFi comes the difficulty of choosing whether to even use the WiFi when available due to this security risk. Many mobile internet users choose to not even connect to open, unencrypted WiFi networks because of the security threats. 

In order to protect your sensitive information even when using open public WiFi, WiFiRanger has developed a secure method of browsing the web called SafeSurfTM which encapsulates all the user’s data before going out of the WiFiRanger router. This layer of security ensures that even local hackers who are ‘sniffing’ for your information will be stopped in their tracks, unable to decrypt your data. Using SafeSurfTM is also incredibly user-friendly, as the feature is enabled simply with the click of a button. 

Website SSL Security

Beyond addressing the security issues of the public network being used, it is important to understand how particular websites are either more or less secure. SSL encryption is a form of security used by many websites to further protect the information of their users. On most web browsers, this is indicated by a lock icon or some other visual indication that the website you are on at the time is secure. Another way to know if your website session is using SSL encryption is to look at the full web address and see if the prefix says http (insecure) or https (secure). 

Oftentimes, your web browser will warn you if a website has an out of date SSL Certificate. Most important websites such as online banking will have the latest SSL encryption, so you normally will not see this warning while on these websites. Generally, it is best to avoid websites that do not have an up to date SSL Certificate if you plan on doing any sensitive communication or credit card transactions. However, this warning message does not always warrant staying off the website in question.

Having an out of date SSL Certifcate could just be due to the web administrator not staying up on things. This form of encryption is always receiving improvements and adopting new standards, and sometimes it takes a month or two for a web admin to realize they need to update to the new standard. The judgement call on whether to continue using a website with an out of date SSL Certificate should have more to do with whether you still believe this is a credible website or if you are doing something that must be secure. 

Anti-virus Protection

When it comes to internet security, having a good Anti-virus program installed on your computer can protect against Malware. Some scary stuff can result from having Malware on your computer. There are many dangerous types of Malware to be aware of. Keyloggers track every stroke of your keyboard, revealing your passwords, credit cards, or social security number to unsavory individuals. Trojan Horses give backdoor access to your computer from the internet, used to collect any personal information stored on your computer for nefarious uses. Adware annoys with constant popups and schemes to sell users some service they never asked for. All these and more are enough to make most computer users take Malware seriously.

The decision to protect your computer with Anti-virus software is an important one. We recommend learning more about different Anti-virus softwares available in this article by PC Magazine. Beyond investing in good software to protect your computer, it is equally or more important to be discerning. When you receive an email that is vague and simply has a link to click, don’t click it! Many Malware problems can be avoided simply by taking a second to think about whether or not what you are about to do makes sense. If you didn’t request information from someone in particular about getting discounted Viagra or miracle weight loss pills, then maybe this little email is spam, and should be deleted. 

Likewise, popups on questionable websites that won’t go away when you try to exit out of them are likely going to take you somewhere you don’t want to go, or place Malware on your computer. Instead of clicking the link to proceed, clear out your web browser cache if possible then shut the web browser down and restart it. Oftentimes these annoying popups will reappear even after you do this. When this happens, you know that you really should not click that link to proceed, it’s bad stuff on the other end! Instead, close out your web browser again and perhaps ask a tech savvy friend for help, use another web browser, or clear all web browser history using a program such as CCleaner before reopening the captivated web browser.