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Usually a significant indicator of success and modernization, the Internet has always been seen in a positive light. Dubbed as the “information gateway”, it is seen as the bastion of accessibility and fast transactions. As a form of information technology, the Internet has a global impact on the world. Applied in everything from social networking to institutional research, the security of its users is vital for key success. The use of the Internet has been a rapid and welcomed change in the business environment.

Beneficial comforts such as fast and hassle-free transactions give the Internet such an alluring appeal to both businesses and consumers. In this day and age, one can access his or her bank account online and do various transactions there as well. Today, online stores such as Amazon. com and eBay. com provide hassle-free shopping because the customer can buy anything in their catalogue with the click of a mouse. In today’s business climate, important businesses and client information are readily exchanged online.

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Be this in the form of online data storage or monetary transactions, the Internet as an influential technology must be fully monitored for the safety and continued patronage of its users. As a field dependent on the highs and lows of the international market, companies must be wary of both the benefits and risks of engaging their business online to prevent detrimental consequences. The benefits and risks of the Internet boom must be both weighed in by companies. Entrusting vital information and business transactions online must be carefully thought through.

The Internet can be both a business growth indicator and a security threat at the same time. This fact should prompt businesses to be keen in taking precautionary measures to prevent unwanted damages due to increasing online viruses and the like. Networks and confidential information during transactions must be protected and monitored daily by companies and experts alike. Only through these means will a business prosper through safety and warranted protocol. Internet Security Threats: At a Glance

One of the burgeoning security threats at present is Malware. Derived from the words “malicious” and “software”, it is defined as “any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and also spyware (a software which aims to secretly obtain user information online). It is programming that gathers information about a computer user without permission” (“Security”). Usually obtained from supposed “free junk”, malware is disguised in forms of online freebies such as videos and assorted advertisements.

One of many tactics include hackers enticing internet users with free videos, usually of pornography, and then proceed by installing a virus or spyware. There is also the threat of uninstallable adware, defined as “software that serves as banner ads or pop-up ads to you while in use” (UK Orbit) disguised via WinRar or WinZip files (Steele, 2008). Another big threat is what has come to be known as Phishing.

Defined as “The attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information (e. g, passwords, account numbers, or financial information) by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in a seemingly official communication”, phishing has been a reoccurring threat in the online world. Often domains of websites are directed to malicious servers that aim to steal information from users. At times tempting offers, such as free or public WiFi (wireless connection), are aimed at stealing user information, and later on their finances. There is also Spam.

Usually found in unwanted junk mail, it is “A collection of unsolicited bulk electronic messages; Any undesired electronic content automatically-generated for commercial purposes. ” There is comment spam, but more predominantly, there is e-mail spam. Usually disguised in questionable addresses, e-mail spam usually has enticing titles and attachments to an unknown site that are also aimed, like Malware and Phishing, to steal user information and obtain financial gain (Steele, 2008). Security Issues The recent global financial crisis had inspired many business scams.

Criminals too are thinking of schemes to get by in these hard economic times. One prime example is on eBay, one of the largest auction sites in the world. It has been discovered that eBay scammers are “exploiting unpatched weaknesses in the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers” and aim to “deliver counterfeit pages that try to dupe people into bidding on fraudulent listings” (Goodin, 2009). Hackers deliver these counterfeit pages on eBay through the use of “hostile” code, and have carefully studied the weaknesses of browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer in order to carefully dispatch their deceiving plans to consumers.

The genius behind this eBay scam has successfully managed to redirect eBay customers to outside email links that automatically directs them to an aol. com address (Giddin). Such damaging actions prevent eBay from detecting fraud due to unauthorized code created by scammers. In the Philippines, 2007 was the year of many investment scams that proliferated on the Internet. The Philippine National Police tracked down the perpetrators of the “Francswiss” online scam, a type of “Ponzi” investment scheme.

A Ponzi scheme is fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high, short-term returns to investors out of the money raised from new investors, rather than from profits generated by any real business” (Lacson & Papa, 2007). Investors were tricked into investing $1,000 and $10,000 believing that their investment would double in a matter of 22 days. Other “Ponzi” investment schemes found dubious by the Security and Exchange Commission include Swiss Cash, Universal Forex System, Global America and Private Forex Trade, Inc. It has also been found that Private Forex Trade, Inc. , posted “a fake SEC certificate of registration its website” (Lacson & Papa, 2007).

According to the SEC, features of a Ponzi scheme online may include: No SEC registration, the promise of no or little financial risk, the use of binary network to earn commissions, a guarantee of huge profit in a short period, and the assurance of payoff investments in a short time. Conclusion These underlying threats to both businesses and consumers prompt the urgent need for careful Internet security planning. According to Doug Potts, a pre-sales systems engineer, there are five easy steps toward the avoidance of unwanted security threats.

These are: the use of a strong internet-use policy, a centrally managed anti-virus software, a firewall with “intrusion detection capability”, and a” host-based intrusion detection. ” The internet-use policy comes in handy with content filtering software. As company employees go online, their surfing is monitored and filtered by corresponding software. This constitutes “a more secure, productive environment” (Potts, qtd. in Simonds, 2004). An managed anti-virus program would automatically scan personal computers in the company for various viruses such as worms and Trojans.

These would also be updated to further ensure protection of the company’s online assets. Intrusion detection capability “helps the firewall recognize and deflect threats such as worms and other well-disguised intrusions” (Potts, qtd. in Simonds, 2004). Since firewalls help exterminate outside threats, a host-based intrusion detection helps eliminate worms from within or inside the network. Companies such as Trend Micro, Symantec and McAfee specialize in developing software for this. The use of digital signature encrypts data across the Web.

Defined as “an electronic signature which authenticates the identity of a message sender, or document signer”, it ensures “that the original content of the message or document that has arrived unchanged. ” Hopefully, through these precautionary steps businesses may be able to enjoy the benefits of the Internet as well as monitoring possible risks. Works Cited Goodin, D. (2009). EBay Scammers Work Unpatched Weaknesses in Firefox, IE. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www. theregister. co. uk/2009/03/08/ebay_scam_wizardy/ Lacson, E. and Papa, A. (2007).

Cybercops Probe Internet Scam. Retrieved April 10, 2009, from http://technology. inquirer. net/infotech/infotech/view/20070706-75108/Cybercops_probe_Internet_scam Simonds, L. (2004). Five Steps To Better Internet Security. Retrieved April 10, 2009, from http://www. smallbusinesscomputing. com/webmaster/article. php/3440221. Steele, J. (2008). The Top Internet Security Threats of 2008. Retrieved April 9,2009, from Nusuni: The Ramblings of the Internet. Web site: http://www. nusuni. com/blog/2008/02/22/the-top-internet-security-threats-of-2008/ Turner, D. Internet 101: How To Avoid Business Opportunity Scams. Retrieved April 10, 2009 from http://www. powerhomebiz. com/vol87/bizopp. htm.

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