23 August was Internet User's Day, a day that commemorates the anniversary of one of the greatest technological events of humanity: the day that a web page was published for the first time worldwide in 1991. From that moment on, the internet has continued to grow and changed every aspect of our lives, both business, economically as well as in our everyday existence.

Each day, millions of people use the internet to access the different search engines on the web and to be updated and informed about daily events, communicate effectively inter-county and region and perform different tasks that provide greater comfort and well-being.

According to Statistica, India is the second largest online market in the world, ranked only behind China with over 560 million internet users in 2021, with an expected growth to over 650 million users by 2023. Internet accessibility has also increased over the last few years, with the internet penetration rate at around 50 percent in 2020.

For this reason and being a tool of daily use, the risks of being a victim of a cyber-attack via the internet are increasing. According to a report by Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ:CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, Q2 2022 saw a historic peak, with global cyberattacks increasing by 32% compared to Q2 2021.

Some of the most common dangers to which internet users may be exposed are:

  • Malware: A variety of malicious software: computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, among others. It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content and other software. In India, Check Point Research recently reported that the for the month of July, the top malware seen was  Emotet, an advanced self-propagating and modular Trojan and Ramnit, a modular banking Trojan which steals web session information, leading to theft of account credentials.
  • Phishing: A social engineering technique used by cybercriminals to fraudulently obtain confidential information from users to steal their identity. Theft of personal data, credit cards, bank details, among others. One of the most common forms of phishing is through the imitation of well-known or trusted brands for users, with phishing links placed in innocuous emails which unsuspecting victims will click on. It was reported by Check Point’s Threat Intelligence Report, that 89% of the malicious files in India were delivered via Email in the last 30 days.

Check Point Software offers the following advice to surf safely and minimize the risks :

  1. Only visit secure websites: Many websites do not have security measures in place, either because they are poorly configured (putting shared information at risk) or because they are malicious. For this reason, it is essential to take extreme precautions when sharing personal data on the Internet and, to know which websites are secure. The best technique is to check whether it follows the https security protocol IE.if the URL includes an -s at the end, this means that it is a secure website and is adapted to protection standards. Another sign present in some browsers, is a green padlock at the beginning of the link.
  2. Always install updates: It is often thought that updating software and applications is unimportant. However, Check Point reveals that this habit of ignoring updates can be a huge risk, as the different protection patches that provider offer to solve previously detected security errors are not implemented. In other words, having the latest software update will optimise the level of security, and is an effective strategy for keeping data and files safe from potential security breaches, cyber-attacks, etc.
  3. Do not use the same username and password for different online services: More and more services, programmes or applications can be used over the Internet. For this reason, the same access credentials are often used in order to simplify and avoid forgetfulness and connectivity problems. This is a huge mistake, because if a cybercriminal can gain access to the user base and passwords of any of these applications, it will be very easy to break into the rest. For this reason, it is essential to use different users and passwords, and not to use passwords that can be easily guessed (birthday, pet's name, etc.).
  4. Download applications only from official shops: Games, social networks, online banking... there are more and more mobile applications available for download and this means that users tend to install a large number of these programmes on their mobile devices. It is important to make sure that whenever you download one of these apps it is from the official shop (Play Store, App Store, etc.) and also to read the different conditions of use, as some of them can be abusive, and in many cases you can lose control over your data and information.
  5. Protect your devices: A cybercriminal can gain access to a smartphone, tablet or computer in many ways, thereby stealing an incalculable amount of information. Given this situation, it is essential to protect yourself against cyber-attacks and, for this reason, Check Point Software reminds us of the importance of having security software that protects your devices and information. For this, it has ZoneAlarm Mobile (home version) and Harmony Mobile (corporate version), mobile threat defence solutions that protect devices against advanced mobile attacks.

"The Internet is part of everyone's daily life and after the pandemic its use has intensified even more. For this reason, it is important to know the dangers we are exposed to every time we perform tasks such as browsing sites or downloading an application, to stay protected with a prevention-first stance, and avoid putting our data at risk," says Manish Alshi, Head, Channels & Growth Technologies, Check Point Software, India & SAARC.

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