The invention of the internet at the dawn of 21st century brought a revolution in the way human beings interact with one another. The World Wide Web and email are some of the common applications familiar to many users of the internet. It is common to find people almost everywhere nowadays using the internet. Thus, the amount of information that is passing through the internet has been on the upward trend since the invention. Simply put, human communication has been made easier, quicker, and convenient in an unprecedented manner. Nevertheless, this efficiency has not been without challenges. The issue of security continues to elicit a lot of concern from internet security experts, and it is unlikely that the solution will be forthcoming soon. This paper addresses various issues that are related to security of the internet.
The internet has provided numerous opportunities for people to communicate around the world. Most operations including marketing, advertisement, storage, and transfer of information among and between companies and individuals are continuously being done over the internet. By definition, the internet is a network of computers that constantly communicate messages from texts to photos and moving pictures as well as sound. However, the use of the internet to communicate information that is confidential and personal has come under scrutiny as cases of hacking and phishing continue to dominate the new invention (Pfleeger & Pfleeger, 2011). As technology continues to infuse among people, more cases of insecurity to the information communicated through the medium are reported. Thus, there is need for internet community to reexamine continuously the security of the internet. This paper discusses various issues related to internet security.
According to Nazario (2004), internet security is among the modern sciences in computing that concerns the securing of the browsers and the network against attacks of any kind. As such, internet security is mainly concerned with establishing mechanisms and protocols to ensure that other people who are also on the internet do not harm of interfere with the transfer of information in a malicious manner. Additionally, internet security is concerned with the provision of consensus on the matters that pertain to securing internet-based systems by raising the practice standards while focusing on security and privacy of the internet. Similarly, internet security involves processes, activities, and mechanisms that work together to ensure that all the activities and transactions that are done over the internet maintain their integrity status and they are neither modified nor accessed without the authorization of their owners.
Internet security involves a number of measures aimed at protecting transfer of information on the internet. These include encryption and use of firewalls. On the other hand, security threats are posed on the network in several areas including the network layer and the data. Since other computers connected to the system initiate threats to the transfer of information over the internet, internet security is known as cyber security. Generally, internet security addresses the issues of algorithms that authenticate and encrypt data transferred between computers, security protocols involved, policies for traffic processing and management, and provision of manual for automated major management that involve internet key exchange.
Technology in Internet Security
Several technologies are applied in enforcing the security of the internet. However, the bottom line is that all these technologies aim at enhancement of security and privacy of the information (Nazario, 2004). Most of the technologies provide tools that help companies, organizations, and individuals to comply with the management and traffic processing requirements. Nevertheless, recent technologies like those provided by Internet Security Systems, Inc provide a three-step approach that helps in examining the aspects of existing assets and programs in an organization with the aim of improving the state of security measures while on the internet.
Technologies that are mostly used in securing the internet are characterized by features like design issues. In this case, the Worm Defense Design technology is used. It involves inserting a formal analysis in evaluating distributed malware and applies the executable and rewritable specifications. This enables both simulation and validations to be effective thus protect the system from an external attack by worms. However, Nazario (2004) indicate that the probabilistic and distributed nature of this technology can initiate design problems in the system because the designer cannot adequately understand the properties that the technology will exhibit.
Similarly, most designers are using a technology where the white holes are used in misleading and defeating the importance of scanning worms and in the process. This technology is based on the knowledge that some worms that attack the internet use scanning mechanisms to identify vulnerable addresses over the internet. If the IP address of a computer that is connected on the internet is found vulnerable, the worms can them attack that system. In countering the tendency of worms to scan IP addresses, this technology uses the white holes in the system to mislead the scanning worms that these are actually vulnerable IP addresses. The worms then concentrate in attacking the white holes and leave the system safe. However, the percentage of security provided by this technology is minimal given the scanning nature of worms (Pfleeger & Pfleeger, 2011).
Another technology that is used in protecting the computer from attacks over the internet is the use of antivirus software in protecting the system from virus transferred through the internet. There are different types of antivirus that are available in the market. Most of these antiviruses provide effective and reliable protection of the system against attack. Similarly, antispyware are also used against spyware attack. In addition, internet security can also be enhanced by the use of phishing protection software that is embedded in most of the browsers that are used today. Anti phishing software use complicated mechanism to detect suspicious websites and warn the user in advance that, the website that the user is attempting to enter may harm the computer.
Another technology used is online identification protection techniques where the user is only required to enter a password after seeing a picture that he/she identifies with. This technology works in the same way as augmented password logins. The only difference is that the system is given the picture of the user and the user name. The user keeps the password that he uses when logging into the system. Similarly, anti spam software, network mapping and protection, parental controls management, and automatic backup technologies are also used in ensuring security and privacy of the data stored on a network.
Future Trends in Internet Security
Davis (2012) observes that the internet is evolving very fast and more and more information continues to be added on the internet. The current booze in social media has created a situation where people are in real-time communication making is possible for malicious attacks to be executed. With real-time communication, it is possible to carry out phishing by starting a conversation with someone and directing them to an injurious website where they will be phished.
Davis (2012) indicate that future trends in internet security will focus on finding the social network protection mechanisms that will ensure that people who are communicating through instant chats and instant messages are not phished or exposed to dangerous sites where their information is phished. The use of natural language processing is also being explored to enable machines to recognize the natural voices of people to avoid cases of hacking and stolen login information. Graff (2012) estimates that the natural language processing technique will help organizations to overcome the challenges that are posed by phishing since this will require phishes to have exact natural language of the actual user, which might be tricky to master. Internet security is also likely to utilize some of the current technologies whose usage are currently exceptional rather than a rule to many internet users. These technologies include the use of one-time passwords or tokens, use of biometrics, and that of adaptive load shedding that aims at reducing the effects of security threats like denial of service attack. In addition, projects are underway to enable the use of machine learning by designing and developing algorithms that accept empirical data like databases and sensors so that they can produce predictions concerning the data.
Further improvements are expected to dominate the area of software creation where software that is specifically created to meet challenges of security will be available(Van Duyne, von Lampe & Passas, 2002). This is because more security experts are turning their attention to developing systems that are designed to withstand any form of security threat. Graff(2012) observes that security designs are also likely to shift from the usual defensive design where designers protect their systems to an offensive design where a computer system will scan around the internet and detect any computer that might be a source of threat so that it is attacked before it attacks. Such implementation can be achieved through profiling of all would-be attackers and automated eye-for-eye kind of designs.
Companies Involved in Internet Security
Many companies are detecting most of their resources in ensuring that their systems are secure from attacks. Almost all major organizations have Information Technology departments that employ a security expert. However, there are those companies that are solely concerned with addressing the issue of internet security in a holistic manner. Some of them have been given the mandate by their respective governments to provide security advice to government departments and other agencies. For instance, there is Center for Internet Security that addresses the concerns of other organizations in matters concerning their connections. Similarly, antivirus developing companies such as Norton and Kaspersky are all concerned with addressing the security of the internet.
According to Miller (2012), regulating the internet has remained a difficult task for many of the governments across the world. People who want to hack systems have always found a way of circumventing the security measures and checks that are put in place. However, legislation of policies and laws on how the internet should be used has led to a number of people ending up in jail through prosecution. People who are found with cases of hacking have been captured and presented to court in countries like United States, Japan, and China and convicted with criminal charges. In certain cases like when certain a government feels like it is under serious threat, internet in that country is shut down to prevented people from accessing the information that they are not supposed to access. Such cases have been reported in China and Egypt where the governments ordered a shutdown of the internet traffic in those countries.
Miller (2012) observes that some regulatory measures have gone to the extreme like the government of Iran proposal of building its own internet so that it protects itself from hackers. This fancy regulation is yet to be implemented even as the government tries to figure out how they can retain the concept of World Wide Web without letting people in their internet. Of course, the whole idea of a national internet is absurd, unless the Iranian government wants a building of a huge local area network.
Internet security is at the heart of every person that uses the internet. As the governments and other organization become more connected through mobile internet, there is a consensus that the security of the information that is communicated through the internet becomes more enhanced by designing systems that are more difficult to be hacked or attacked. Even challenging to security experts is the idea of tracking every form of communication that is done over the internet without infringing on the privacy of other people. Interestingly, this form of tracking is already being proposed by the government of the United Kingdom in a proposed law known as, “Snooper’s Charter”, that will require every internet service provider to keep a record of every website visited (Miller, 2012). However, this is likely to cause friction with the government, as it cannot address the issue of privacy conclusively.
In conclusion, computer security is thus a concern of every individual, nation, region and the globe as a whole. With the increasing technological advancement, more research will be needed to keep this vice at bay.