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Internet Security Threats, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 549

Research Paper

As of 2007 there were 1.1 billion internet users worldwide many of whom have little or no knowledge of the internet security threats as well as the actions they can take to protect themselves (James). There are so many benefits of the internet that users often underestimate the security threats they are exposed to. Internet security companies routinely compile the list of security threats with the greatest potential to keep the public and the corporations informed so that they can take steps to better protect themselves.

Small businesses have readily embraced internet because it provides them flexibility as well as means to efficiently utilize their limited asset base. But unfortunately, small businesses also have fewer financial and technical resources to protect themselves against internet security attacks. Hackers attacks business networks indiscriminately but they often find it easier to get past the weak defenses of smaller businesses. Complicating the matters is the fact that even novice hackers can carry out successful attacks through easily available attack toolkits many of whom are adding Java exploit capabilities. Java is a computer language that runs on almost all operating systems as well as internet browsers (Haley). Using attack toolkits, hackers steal banks accounts’ login and password details as well as customers’ credit card numbers.

Social networking has become a global phenomenon but changing internet users’ habits have also provided hackers with another attractive venue for attacks. Hackers particularly take advantage of two facts; one is users’ false sense of security on the social networking websites and the other is the popularity of shortened URLs. Shortened URLs may be convenient but they also make it difficult to distinguish between legitimate links and malicious websites. Symantec estimates that last year, sixty-five percent of the malicious URLs posted on social networks were shortened URLs(Haley). This is a great security threat given the fact that Facebook alone has more than 750 million active users and average user has 130 friends (Facebook). Malicious websites harm users’ security in various manners such as installing virus, worm, trojan, adware, and spyware. The end result includes theft of private information, user tracking, and operating system crash resulting in loss of valuable data.

Another huge security threat is resulting from the popularity of mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets, the latter of which is poised to steal a considerable market share from the PCs market segment. Many businesses allow employees to access corporate data on mobile devices but have not yet implemented the necessary security measures. Mobile apps have become very popular with users and hackers have taken notice of it. Hackers are creating applications specifically to exploit the security vulnerabilities of mobile devices which is evident by the fact that the number of reported vulnerabilities for mobile devices rose by 42 percent in 2010 (Haley). Mobile hacks allow hackers to not only access sensitive corporate data including intellectual properties, private corporate information, and customer data but also install malicious codes on IT networks. Thus, all businesses particularly small onesshould take steps to better protect themselves and implement policies that educate workers and encourage them to adopt safe internet habits.

References

Facebook. Statistics. 4 September 2011 <https://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics>.

Haley, Kevin. 2011 Internet Security Threat Report Identifies Increased Risks for SMBs. 6 April 2011. 4 September 2011 <http://www.symantec.com/connect/2011_Internet_Security_Threat_Report_Identifies_Risks_For_SMBs>.

James, Daniel G. “Statistical Analysis of Internet Security Threats.” Research Report. 2007.

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