Security is a pretty big deal around the world today and this isn’t limited to the protection of lives and properties. Digital protection is just as important as the protection we provide for our lives and properties as most of our daily activities are getting digitized.
From shopping online, to monitoring heart rate, to making payments, brewing coffee, etc. – most of these activities and more can be done with the use of a digital device. The technology that drives most of these household activities, which normally would be done manually is referred to as Internet of Things (IoT).
Downsides of IoT
As beneficial as this technology might seem, it definitely comes with its downsides – especially with respect to privacy and security. These devices and operations, including daily services like media streaming and online shopping recommendations – are powered by the tiniest of detail about us. These details which form our lifestyles are quite personal and if handled by persons with impure intentions, could pose severe damage to our lives.
Popular Cyberattacks in the 21st Century
The 21st century has been faced with different cyberwarfare – some focused on a particular institution while others spread across a particular sector. Some of the popular data breaches of recent times include:
- Marriott International data breach in March 2020. This led to the exposure of personal details belonging to over 5 million guests.
- In February 2020 also, Walgreens, one of the biggest pharmaceutical chains in the US revealed that personal messages between customers between a certain period in January were leaked. Asides this, some personal health information about a certain percentage of its customers – rumored to be around 10 million users were also compromised.
- Capital One – a financial corporation also got hacked in July 2019 leaving about 100 million credit card applications vulnerable. Although the hack did not reveal credit card numbers and other sensitive financial details, information such as names, addresses, zip code, etc. were however compromised.
- The Facebook Analytica scandal which occurred between 2016 – 2018 should not come as a shocker, coming up on this list. The popular social media platform was coerced by researchers into granting them access to users’ data amounting up to 87 million users. Unknown to Facebook, these data were compromised and used in swaying users’ opinions during the United States presidential election.
- The infamous Yahoo hack in 2013, which left about 3 billion accounts affected should not be news. The hack exposed all personal details, security questions and encrypted passwords of all 3 billion users of Yahoo at the time.
The Need for Proper System Security Outfits
The numbers and magnitude of these hacks should give a clear picture of the kind of cyberattacks faced in recent times and the need for proper system security – for both enterprise systems and personal ones. Most of the cyberattacks listed above are related to large organizations but this does not mean that regular internet users are left out.
For large corporations, grand schemes and advanced technological practices are employed in orchestrating such attacks. The regular internet user on the other end faces threats from things like viruses, malwares, spywares, etc. The attack is not limited to these set of malicious software as users are also vulnerable to social engineering, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.
Criteria for Choosing Security Software
Asides employing safe practices while using the internet, proper preventive software should be used to prevent cyberattacks. Antiviruses and VPNs are the best choices to be used in such situations. Since there are several kinds of these software on the internet, below are a couple of pointers to look out for before making your decision.
- All-inclusiveness: Back in the day, all that was needed for a complete PC security portfolio was a simple anti-virus software. Nowadays, an all-inclusive antivirus protection should come with firewall protection, protection against ransomware, and a VPN service to prevent monitoring while using the internet.
- Trustworthiness: Apart from being trustworthy, a security software should be reliable in its delivery. For antivirus software, the programs should be able to run without conflicting with other applications while performing its operations. For VPNs, trustworthy VPN with a security audit done publicly would be the right choice in such a scenario.
- Performance and Speed: A stellar security solution should have the ability to run seamlessly on any machine that meets its requirements without taking up too much memory or space. Asides this, the impact on processor speed while running the security software should be minimal.
- Cost: This is obviously a no-brainer when considering the choice of security software to use. Although there are several free antivirus and vpn software on the Internet, the best bet would be to go for a paid service. This way, there would be some assurance of getting quality service delivery. It is advisable to go for the right software that meets your security needs by checking what it offers, instead of going for just anyone recommended by a person or the internet.
- Ads: This one is particular to those who use free security software applications on their system. Most paid applications offer a no-ads policy but the free ones that don’t, serve ads based on user preferences which are collected through logging of users’ browsing history. This again, points to the fact that the majority of free VPNs aren’t entirely anonymous.
Compromised Security Systems discovered over Time
Despite the fact that paid system security software is considered to be the best way to go for security, there are some known to have flaws that might cost users their security or anonymity. Outlined below are a couple of them:
- Hola: Among the categories of VPNs never to use again is Hola. In 2015, they were accused of selling off bandwidth of their users to a third-party service. This was done by turning the PCs of their users into exit nodes, allowing the third-party service route traffic through these nodes.
- Opera Free VPN: Opera browser introduced its new free VPN in 2016. Although it allows for unlimited traffic, the VPN is pretty much a web proxy because usage data is still collected. It is not certain that this data is shared but the fact that the details are collected makes it unsafe for total anonymity.
Antivirus software are generally good, although some might have low reputation, they still perform the basic function of performing virus scans.
System security is crucial for both individuals and organizations. Although the need for stellar security systems is pertinent, the only way to get the best software that meets your needs is to compare them with the desired security features.