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Information security is one of the main problems faced by the modern society. The cause of aggravation of the problem is the widespread use of automated collection, storage, processing and transmission of information. Information security in the Internet is also one of the challenges faced by the modern society caused by the mass use of automated processing.
Insecure connection to the Internet poses a danger when one needs to conceal sensitive information from a third party. When a user is online, sending e-mails, communicating in social networking sites, buying goods from an online store or using Internet banking, there is a possibility of theft of personal information. The process of recording and passing on information itself does not represent a threat. Problems emerge when personal information is used against an Internet user, sent to the server via the Internet and stored in an insecure way. According to Chang (2014), “security threat assessment of the Internet security system has become a greater concern in recent years because of the progress and diversification of information technology”. The theme of security on the Internet can be divided into two parts. The first part is actually the protection of sites and servers from hacking and hacker attacks. However, first and foremost computer security issues rely on the users. Currently, there is a massive influx of users who are poorly trained in the field of information technology. They have a very vague idea about potential dangers they may be exposed to in the network. As a result, their computers can be infected with various viruses and Trojans that steal passwords and launch attacks on various sites. Therefore, Internet providers are obliged to take measures such as forced disconnection of users. Despite all the advantages of the Internet, it opens up new possibilities for cybercriminals and presents serious challenges to security and privacy, which should be addressed immediately.
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The threats for security and privacy in the Internet include unencrypted network services, unsafe interface, access to confidential information, insufficient protection of software and lack of authentication. Despite all the advantages of the Internet for its users, there are certain serious dangers it poses to the interests of Internet-users. The main feature of any network system, in particular, the Internet, is that its components are distributed in space and the relationship between them is physically carried out by means of network connections (coaxial cable, twisted pair cable, optical fiber cable and so on). Networked systems are characterized by the fact that along with local threats that are carried out within a single computer system, they can be affected by a specific type of threat. It is specified by the allocation of resources and information in space. These are so-called network or remote threats. Their main characteristic is that an attacker could be thousands of kilometers away from the attacked object.
Constant Internet connection can be used by criminals for disrupting and violating people’s privacy. Lukianova and Fell (2015) argued that the Internet not only contributed to human liberation and empowered creativity but served as a means of enslavement and manipulation. Moreover, it affected the formation of social ideals and opinions as well as political events and balance of power (524). Misuse of personal data can have a negative influence on one’s reputation (Onita, 2013, p. 13).
Reasons for Internet Attacks
If a person is an ordinary user and his/her computer does not have any valuable and sensitive information, it is wrong to assume that his/her computer is safe from cyber attacks. It will still be of value for hackers and people who spread malicious programs. The days when viruses were written for fun have already passed. Today hacker tools are used for commercial gain.
Unlike viruses of the past that could reformat the hard drive or surprise an unsuspecting computer user with unexpected effects, modern malware programs try to disguise and hide their activities and secretly perform functions that are inherent in them. These functions include theft of passwords from electronic purses, mailboxes, sites, accounts in various services, etc. Unfortunately, withdrawing the money from one’s WebMoney purse without his/her consent is not an uncommon occasion. Establishing where and by whom the money had been transferred is very difficult in such cases. By stealing the password of a mailbox, malware can distribute a letter with attached Trojans or viruses to the available addresses. Today, the organization of DoS attacks that can be directed to any website or server without even having any significant vulnerability is a quite profitable business. As a result of these attacks, a server becomes overloaded with requests coming from multiple computers in different regions of the world. Ultimately, the site becomes disabled.
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Numerous cases of DoS attacks on various sites would not be possible if the organizers of the attacks did not have a large number of computers of unsuspecting users that are infected with Trojans and collectively send requests to the server that is selected as a victim at a signal from the outside. These goals are the most typical but, in fact, targets can be limited only by the imagination of the author of Trojans and viruses. Trojans can encode, for example, some of the existing files on one’s computer and then demand payment for the recovery of information, make modem calling to premium rate numbers, etc.
Sources of Danger
Unfortunately, installing a malicious program is much easier than many people realize. “The risks are internal, external, and random, and can result in data damage, falsification, loss, or leakage” (Kelly, & McKenzie, 2002). There are various methods of hacking computers and stealing sensitive data. Social engineering is a method that is based on psychological techniques that exist and are effectively used since the beginning of the development of computer networks. The list of tricks that are invented by hackers counting on the credulity of users is huge. Thus, one may receive a letter on behalf of the service administration to send them an allegedly lost password or email that contains a supposedly harmless file in which a Trojan is hidden. “A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user” (Al Daoud, Jebril, & Zaqaibeh, 2008, p.29). It is based on counting on a high probability that a user will open it out of curiosity and thus activate a malicious program. Trojans and viruses can be hidden in various programs that are free and accessible for download from the Internet.
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“In 2002 there were 60,000 known viruses, Trojans, worms, and variations. Today there are well over 100,000 known computer viruses” (Al Daoud, Jebril, & Zaqaibeh, 2008, p.29). They can be on pirated disks that are available in the free market. Hacking one’s computer can be promoted through a hole in the distributed software. In contrast to the majority of users who do not look for vulnerability and often eliminate it, hackers monitor and use them for their own purposes. To infect a computer that has vulnerability, it is sufficient go to a certain page. Recently, phishing has become widespread. This type of cyber crime means creating fake sites that replicate sites of known companies, services, banks, etc. Alluring into a fake site can be done in many ways, but the goal of phishing is stealing account information (i.e. login and password) that the users normally enter on the back page of this site.
Just in a few years, spam has turned from a minor annoying factor to one of the most serious security threats. Recently, email became the main malware distribution channel. Spam takes a lot of time to view and delete. It makes Internet users feel psychological discomfort. Both individuals and organizations become victims of fraudulent schemes established by spammers. An important mail can be deleted together with spam.
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Security on the Internet is a global issue. “Within the debate over security in cyberspace, it should be recognized as a preliminary matter that cyber space is international space. Activity in cyberspace and domestic legislation with respect to it must comply with the relevant international law” (O’Connell, 2012, p.189). There are various programs that can protect computer users from possible attacks. “To ensure information security, many organizations use firewalls to provide a level of security by controlling access to information systems” (Chang, 2014).
The concept of information security can be defined as the state of information resistance to accidental or deliberate impacts, precluding unacceptable risk of its destruction, distortion and disclosure that will result in damage to the property owner or user information. Since the network is completely open to outside access, the role of these methods is very significant.
Cryptography is intended to solve the security problem. Cryptography is the science of ensuring data security. Cryptography and its systems are designed to solve the following problems. The first one is privacy. Information should be protected against unauthorized access during storage and transfer. Access to information should be received only by a person to whom it is intended. This is provided by encryption. Authentication is essential to clearly identify a sender. At uniquely identifying, the sender cannot refuse the message. It is provided by a digital signature and certificate.
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Another issue that the Internet user can face is integrity. Information should be protected against unauthorized changes during storage and transmission. In accordance with the above objectives, the main methods of security are encryption, digital signatures and certificates.
The main responsibility for Internet safety lies on the user. Carrying out a transaction online, one first needs to make sure that important information is securely hidden from outsiders. This can be made by encryption technology, transforming plain text into a form that cannot be read without having a special encryption key. With these technologies, users can provide secure communication over insecure channels available to the public Internet.
Effective means of protection against the loss of confidential information include content filtering of incoming and outgoing e-mail. Checking e-mail messages and attachments can also protect a particular company from liability for legal claims and its employees from spam. Content filtering tools allow scanning files of all popular formats, including zip files and graphics.
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Modern anti-virus technology can detect almost all known virus programs by comparing the code of suspicious file samples to those stored in the anti-virus database. In addition, the technologies of modeling behavior are developed. They allow detection of newly created virus programs. Detected objects can be treated, isolated (quarantined) or deleted. Virus protection can be installed on workstations, file and mail servers, firewalls, operating under virtually any of the major operating systems on various types of processors.
Spam filters greatly reduce unproductive labor costs associated with the analysis of spam, reduce bandwidth and server load, improve the psychological background in a team and reduce the risk of involving employees in fraudulent transactions. In addition, spam filters reduce the risk of infection with new viruses because messages that contain viruses (not even included in the base of anti-virus programs) often have signs of spam and thus are filtered. However, the positive effect of spam filtering can be outweighed if along with the trash, the filter removes or marks useful business or personal messages as spam.
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Therefore, a multilateral infrastructure should be applied for handling security dangers in the dynamical environment. It is important to pay attention to the priorities of OT and IT networks, consider the requirements of safety and public order and implement cyber security measure for protection against network attacks. In addition, there is a necessity to take actions to ensure security of storing and transmitting information, administrating devices and control. It is crucial to stop looking at every item separately and start looking at the whole picture.
Taking into account all the risks of the Internet, it is essential to guarantee an appropriate degree of safety, identification and encryption of connections for all devices that are connected to the web. As an access to the applications and systems will be feasible from the external world, protection should be a primary demand. Resolving of the issues of Internet security should be established with the creation of a new collection of regulations for licensing and authorizing software, control presentation of approach rights and the security of intellectual property. These regulations should be applied to prevent inverse designing and establish the prevalent encryption. In order to reach the maximum degree of security, coding should be applied to all canals of connection between the devices.
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Actions that can cause damage to the organization of information security can be divided into several categories. The first one comprises actions carried out by authorized users. This category includes a deliberate theft or destruction of data on a workstation or a server; damage to user data as a result of careless actions. There are also electronic methods of influence carried out by hackers. Hackers are referred to as people involved in a computer crime professionally (including in the framework of the competition) and just out of curiosity. These methods include unauthorized access to computer networks. The goals of unauthorized access from outside include theft of confidential information and its use for illegal purposes, the use of network infrastructure to launch attacks on third-party sites, theft of funds from accounts, etc. Computer viruses represent a real danger for today’s businesses, widely used computer networks, the Internet and email.
In addition, spam has become one of the most serious security threats. In order to protect Internet users, many programs have been created. One of the most important conditions for the widespread use of the Internet is ensuring an adequate level of security for all transactions that are conducted through it. This applies to information that is transmitted between users, stored in the databases of trading systems or accompanying financial transactions. Although security issues raise some concerns, there remains no doubt that the Internet can provide a number of advantages. Thus, it is essential to pay more attention to security and privacy issues in the Internet in order to gain advantages from it.