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Internet Security Basics – Safe Websites

November 01, 2012

how to act on the internet when browsing the websites

What is a Website?

A website (or Web site, literally "place in the Web") refers to a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other files that are stored on one or more Web servers and are accessible via the Internet. Websites are usually available from a single URL that refers to the home page. From the home page are other pages available through website links. What is common for these files is that they (although they may physically be in more places) form a logical unit in content, purpose, ownership, administration, business model (for commercial websites) and others. Sites on web servers create the World Wide Web. Some sites are not freely available, but only after paying a fee, displaying knowledge of a login or username and password, are available inside an intranet.

Each website has assigned its address in the internet, which is called the internet domain. That domain is divided into the first, second, and third level.

What is a potentially dangerous website?

Many people wonder how a website might be dangerous for them. In fact the simplest way to determine if a website poses any threat to the user’s computer is to let him download it. The problem is that the website visitor usually doesn’t even know that he is downloading dangerous content, which is exactly what the spyware, malware, virus, etc., programmers want. They need to get you on the dangerous website, provide you with something you are looking for, and bundle that with some kind of unwanted software. In the paragraphs below you can find descriptions of these types of websites.

Dangerous Websites types:

Website as bait:

  1. Illegal and semi-legal
    In this category are websites providing key generators (keygen), serial numbers, activation license keys, cracks, fake patches, warez, torrents and others file sharing websites. These sites are very often blocked by security software as potentially dangerous, but if you turn the protection off and visit such a site, you risk downloading more than the expected content. So if you decide to download content from these kinds of websites have your firewall and real-time protection of your security application turned on. Remember that downloading files from sites like these is risky, so we recommend you avoid it, but you can simply use a security tool such as Web Security Guard. Do keep in mind that even applications such as these can’t protect you 100% because there are many dangerous websites and evaluating them all is quite difficult.
  2. Sexual content
    One of the most visited types of websites are those which feature sexual content, offer sexual online services, movies and picture downloading, live chats, etc. Virtual pornography is spreading fast and these sites are abused almost as readily as they offer illegal content. Of course, there are many trustworthy sites with sexual content but these are usually not free, while the dangerous sites are typically free. So, the recommendation is similar to the illegal content sharing pages: have your security solution software active and use an Internet browser security advisor. If you download something, be certain you know what it is.
  3. Tabloid content
    Websites like this usually inform us about something extra, something almost unreal. They bring you special and unique news. All this information is just made up to attract the visitors to the site with “wow-factor” news, proving that visitors will click on any banner or download any file (even by accident). These sites don’t often have high traffic for a long time, but the providers can get a lot from their unique visitors. So double check the “wow” information on the Internet and do not click on suspicious advertisements and links.
  4. Phishing sites
    These are fake sites, for some users they are very difficult to distinguish from the correct ones. Some typical examples include “g00gle, zahoo, yah00, etc.”
    Phishing is a criminally fraudulent process of collecting sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communication believed to be from well-known social networks, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are common fronts for baiting the unsuspecting computer user. Phishing is commonly performed by email or instant messaging, directing users to enter details at a fake website that mimics a legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may not be apparent that it is a fake website. An example of social engineering techniques, phishing is used to trick users, exploiting the weaknesses of web security technologies. The rising number of phishing scams has prompted an increase in legislation, training for the user, public awareness, and technical security procedures.

Abused website:

Hackers usually focus on successful websites or servers with many regular visitors because there is space for spreading spyware, viruses or other threats. They place banners, pop ups or redirecting links on these sites. In worse-case scenarios, they may access the database of the original provider and they may spread spam through email.

Website created specifically for infecting 

These pages are the last level of a redirecting session; these websites are created and exist only for the purpose of infecting the user’s computer. They contain only threats. Usually they are non-indexed websites, they are often accessed by an infected Internet browser or by a redirecting link. They automatically start downloading spyware, malware, etc.

The Web and its security from the user’s point of view

  1. Integrate security shields and tools for your Internet browser (Web Security Guard).
  2. Use a firewall (read our article on finding good firewall software).
  3. Have a complex security solution containing antivirus and anti-spyware protection, or use two independent applications, which is sometimes better (you can find many helpful articles in our security software category). 
  4. The most important security element is YOU, just think before you click on any “special offer” or “wow news”. If you are downloading be sure about the source and content of the file. 

The Web and its security on the global level

This last paragraph may be a little bit more positive for you. There are global Internet services monitoring the actions of domains. If the service finds traffic on any website suspicious, they provide this information to the police or another legal authority. These services can cooperate with ISP (Internet Service Providers), large companies and, last but not least, the government. Typically their work involves the massive blocking of websites and domains.

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