30 years of web browser security threats and 20 years of Cyber Awareness Month

Web browser security threats probably go back at least 30 years to 1994 and the advent of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

This year 2023, marks 20 years of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so let’s spread a little awareness.

These days, children are given lessons at school about staying safe on the web, but many of us adults probably weren’t.

When you consider that most office-based workers spend 70-80% of their time on the web, it’s clear that companies should be training their staff and giving them the basics. That’s why Cyber Awareness Month is so important.

Before we talk about any technical layers of security that should be put in place, let us be clear that a lack of awareness can undo any efforts we make with the other security layers.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, some things remain constant. One of those is that over 70% of security issues are related to users accessing harmful content on the web – either directly through a web browser or indirectly by clicking on a link in an email.

IT Security Training protects against web browser security threats

It’s crucial to address the three primary threats that can compromise your online safety. These threats can be broadly categorized into three main areas:

  1. Web Browsing Security: The first layer of defence is your web browser. The internet is a vast realm, and what you click on and interact with can significantly impact your cybersecurity. Defending against web browser security threats such as malicious websites, phishing attempts, and unsafe downloads all pose potential risks. It’s imperative to exercise caution when browsing the web and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  2.  Email Vulnerabilities: The second layer of vulnerability often intersects with web browsing – it’s what comes in over your email. Phishing emails, malware-laden attachments, and social engineering attacks can all infiltrate your inbox. Email filtering solutions are crucial in identifying and quarantining such threats before they reach your inbox.
  3. Social Media Interactions: The 2.5 layer refers to what and who you interact with through social media. Cybercriminals often exploit personal information shared on social media platforms to craft convincing phishing attempts or impersonate trusted contacts. Being cautious about sharing sensitive information and scrutinising friend requests and messages is vital.

To protect against these threats, three layers of security are essential:

  • Human Firewall: The first and most critical layer is the one inside your head – your knowledge and awareness. Cybersecurity education and training are paramount. This awareness extends to understanding the potential risks and how to respond when facing a suspicious situation.
  • DNS Web Filtering: Implementing DNS web filtering solutions to tackle web browser security threats by helping prevent access to malicious or inappropriate websites. This layer of protection acts as a barrier to keep users away from dangerous online territories.
  • Email Filtering: Email filtering solutions, powered by advanced algorithms and threat intelligence, can identify and quarantine potentially harmful emails. This layer is indispensable in preventing phishing attempts and malware distribution via email.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2023, it’s evident that a well-rounded approach to cybersecurity is necessary. While technical security layers are vital, they are less effective without the crucial human firewall. Therefore, individuals and organisations must invest in cyber awareness training, informing themselves about the latest threats and best practices. Combining technical defences with an educated and vigilant user base can significantly reduce the risks posed by the ever-evolving threat landscape.