Ensuring an ever-present opportunity stays safe.

Discussions about the Internet’s potential benefits are difficult. Not for any lack of topics to discuss. But more for the fact that there’s an almost continual flood of benefits for someone with Internet access. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Internet is the single largest repository of human knowledge in the entirety of our existence. 

However, there’s an important distinction to be made between the Internet and something like the great library of Alexandria. It and similar vast repositories of the past served a singular function. They existed as an attempt to house the entirety of human knowledge. They were limited by the time in which they existed. But they were still able to achieve some impressive results. However, those attempts were limited to that and only that function. The modern Internet isn’t just a place to retrieve information. Any of us can also add to that collection. And for better or worse, that encompasses every possible motivation one might have for doing so. This means that charitable people put some important findings or experiences online. 

Less benevolent people put viruses, worms, malware, and other malicious code online. This is the biggest difference between the Internet and other huge repositories. The Internet has an inherent danger to it. To be sure, it’s possible to ensure one is fully protected when browsing online. But it’s something of a balancing act between every possible threat. To understand how we can stay safe online, we first need to understand the digital ecosystem which threatens us.

 Different vectors and different defenses

Online threats are sometimes easier to understand by considering real-world illness. Humans are subject to parasitic worms and infections from both viral and bacterial invaders. Computers are somewhat similar in many respects. Most digital infections act in a similar way to what we’d see in humans. A computer is hit by a hidden piece of self-replicating code within a seemingly safe source. This might be analogous to someone who’s been coughed on. Or in the case of computer worms or malware, from eating food that has a parasitic contaminant. From here, the digital and real-world infections progress similarly. They propagate within the system and attempt to hijack available resources for their own use. 

The biggest difference is that digital attacks have actual intelligence behind them. Someone infected with the common cold is just fighting against simple organisms trying to live within our bodies. A computer infection is usually trying to directly hijack resources or critical data such as passwords or banking information. The scope of this threat can’t be exaggerated either. Over 3/4th of the US has Internet access. And every one of those points, if unprotected, can act to spread infections. 

How to protect your digital safety

This leads to an important decision. We’ve considered different digital threats. But which is the more pressing issue to deal with? One often needs to consider antivirus and antimalware protection as separate defenses. And here we once again run into the problem of human intelligence. Real-world diseases compete mindlessly. 

They don’t consciously watch to see how people are defending themselves. But digital threats are coded and sent out by human beings. When people favor one form of defense, it’s natural that the other side will end up being targeted. And yet one usually won’t have the resources to defend against every single potential threat properly. 

Some strategies will serve to protect one against every possible threat. One could, for example, totally wall off a computer from the Internet. But in today’s connected world, that usually means losing half the point of having a computer in the first place. This is even more true for business as opposed to personal use. One can scale this up by the number of computers in operation as well. One computer at home is difficult enough to secure properly. Doing so with an office or even server stack is a much larger problem. 

Scaling to match the size of the threat

One can find a simple answer by simply considering why malware and viral threats are such a concern in the first place. One of the biggest reasons why they’re a threat is the sheer amount of people working to spread them. It’s often difficult for a single person to fight against a small army of people churning out malicious code. 

As such, it makes sense to use a similar strategy. There’s a wide variety of IT consulting services that can examine one’s situation and determine the best method to secure those resources. The larger the job, the more of their own resources they can assign to the task. But most importantly, it means that there are several experts constantly working to stay informed about looming dangers. One should also be aware of just how fast those threats can evolve.

The digital evolution of threats and defenses

Most of us are familiar with how quickly new technologies move. It seems like the latest and greatest phones are outdated within the blink of an eye. And the larger processors in computers often push forward at an even faster pace. The same holds true for the code targeting those platforms. And antivirus or antimalware techniques need to keep pace with the threats. 

This is another case where one is often best advised to look for IT consulting services. Staying fully up to date and responsive to the latest threats requires continual research and development. It’s simply not possible outside of a full-time job. But the beauty of IT services is that a single company can employ select individuals for that task. While at the same time, others will be in the loop to turn that research into practical results for clients. 

Staying alert and staying protected

In the end, there is solid value in staying aware of the distinction between various digital threats. But a proper defense isn’t about focusing on one over the other. It’s instead better to consider ways in which one can best protect himself against all possible threats. Not just those threats that exist at the moment either. One needs to remain protected against current threats while also having assurances for rapid response to new problems in the future. IT consultation and the associated software is often the best way to ensure that one stays up to date against every possible threat.