The internet is a blessing and beautiful innovation. However, the increasing number of cyberattacks on both businesses and individuals is gradually making people have a second thought.
A lot of people have either been exposed or fallen victim to cybercrimes. Take for instance, in the United Kingdom, at least 46% of businesses suffered one form of a cyberattack or the other in 2017.
More recently, the rate of cybercrime went up 600% due to the pandemic. And most of the attacks are phishing email schemes or malicious actors tricking unsuspecting people into clicking a malicious link or opening attachments with an embedded virus.
From computer viruses, spyware threats, phishing, to hackers and predators, these are a few out of many reasons why talks about internet security and VPNs are making the rounds.
What is internet security?
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It’s not unusual for people to express concerns over online security whenever they are online. And the reason is not far-fetched — there is so much news about hackers accessing people’s personal information online.
Thankfully, you (or any other internet user) no longer have to lose sleep over someone spying on you or invading your privacy. All you have to do is put up necessary security systems and be cautious whenever you are online.
You can liken online security to how you protect your home. What immediately comes to mind? You want to shut the windows and ensure that the security system (and alarm) is up and running. Similarly, you need to fortify your system to prevent intruders from gaining access to your personal/private information.
While you are at it, you should have it at the back of your mind that, you are not alone. There is a team of computer manufacturers, internet service providers (ISP), and software engineers that are working around the clock to ensure your security online.
What does internet security entail?
Regardless of whether you are using a Mac or Windows device to surf the internet, every computer device is equipped with three-layers security and they all work harmoniously to protect your computer from attacks. These three-layer security systems include the firewall, antivirus software, and of course, the operating system.
Let’s take a second to discuss each of them.
The firewall acts as a barrier between you and other internet users who want to gain access to your computer. For instance, whenever you connect to the internet via your home broadband router, it automatically connects you to other computers that are on the same network and you can access their services. And it goes both ways.
For this reason, virtually every broadband router comes with an in-built firewall. The firewall works by keeping tabs on communication or interactions between your computer and the internet and allows an outsider to access only the information you want to share.
That means that all third parties are blocked from accessing or sharing information with your computers unless you authorize it. And every modern computer (desktop and laptop) has a firewall built into them.
With an active firewall on your computer, you can connect to public WiFi, sag in a hotel, or at the airport without fear of been hacked. In addition to keeping unauthorized individuals out of your computer, firewalls also protect your computer from worms.
Yeah, you read that right — worms. If you are not sure what “worms” we are talking about, these are malicious software that can spread from one device to another over a network. As such, it’s always best to ensure that your system firewall is always active or turned on.
Considering how fast worms can spread between devices that are on the same network (say a home broadband connection), you should consider adding an extra layer of defense on your computer. VPN!
What does a VPN do?
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network and helps you navigate the internet stealthily or anonymously via an encrypted connection. We will talk more about VPNs as we tag along.
Before we proceed to discuss the next of internet security, antivirus software, let’s quickly note that, contrary to popular misconceptions, firewalls (though powerful and efficient) cannot protect your device from all malware including spyware and viruses.
The chances are that you have heard the word “antivirus” before now. An antivirus is a software that is designed to protect you from Trojans, worms, and spyware. There are a lot of ways through which a virus can get into your computer.
Most times, viruses get into computers when the user ( you) download infected files from websites or an attachment via email. For those who are still new around the block, a Trojan is a virus that is designed to stream your personal information. On the other hand, spyware is designed to steal your personal information and in most cases, your password.
How does the operating system protect your personal information
The operating system or OS is it’s popularly known, is one of the layers of security on your PC. While plugging loopholes and improving on their software, manufacturers put out new updates whenever there is an update. As such, updating your OS enables you to get the latest security updates and you will be better secured.
Thankfully, updating your OS isn’t as tedious or arduous a task. Most times, your computer will display a popup notification telling you there is a new notification. And all you have to do is click and proceed to download the updated OS.
If you consider all we have shared so far and check all the boxes, rest assured your transactions and other online activities will be protected from prying eyes and malicious software.
Also, you would have adequately secured your computer system against cyber-attacks including hackers who want to hack into your computer to steal your personal information like your credit card details and bank account information.
Do VPN offer internet security?
Earlier we mentioned using VPN alongside your firewall to protect your computer. Building on that, recall that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) makes you anonymous and ensures your privacy by creating a private network whenever you are on a public network.
In straightforward terms, a VPN masks your online activities by cloaking your internet protocol (IP) address. As such making your online presence unnoticeable. Think of a secured and encrypted connection.
Why do you need a VPN?
If you are concerned about your data getting in the hands of malicious elements on the internet, you shouldn’t hesitate to get engage VPN services. You will agree that most transactions have gone online and you are required to type in your personal information and card details once in a while to complete transactions.
While typing your bank details ( for instance), the last thing you want is someone spying on your activities and logging your password from their end with spyware or a Trojan.
As we mentioned earlier, connecting to a public network like WiFi at the park or doctors’ office means every computer on that network can access your data and if you don’t have a VPN to encrypt your data and provide anonymity, you would have made yourself vulnerable to hackers who are on the same network.
What are the benefits of a VPN?
Imagine being on the same network with malicious software or individual while checking your email and bank account. The danger of having such information falling into the wrong hands is best imagined.
It’s because of such possibilities and encounters with malicious individuals that VPN services cannot be overemphasized. With VPN services, you can go to sleep with both eyes closed knowing that no one is eavesdropping on your internet activities.
VPN for windows makes your search history hidden and makes your data unreadable by encrypting it. And you can make use of VPN services to throw trackers and hackers off your browsing history by making it look as if you are browsing another part of the world.
More benefits using VPN services
In addition to hiding your IP address, location, and browsing history, VPNs for Windows (or any other device you may have) also protect your devices from been watched by cybercriminals.
Hopefully, you don’t get involved in any government surveillance program. If you are, VPNs can hide your browsing history (making it almost impossible for government agencies to get hold of your browsing log or records. As such giving you internet freedom.
We are rounding off!
Virtually every individual or business owner understands the severity of having their personal information fall in the wrong hands. If you get your internet security correct, you would have protected yourself from password attacks, phishing, and malware among other cybersecurity threats.
For businesses, having robust internet security helps you to protect your business and personal information from cyber-attacks. It also ensures you are working in a safe online space while denying adware and spyware access to your computer.