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What High and Low Level Computer Security Risks do you Face?


Part II of Track IP address protection against internet privacy and security threats

Let's say there are two security threat levels that will determine the protection measures you should take.

Low-level threat. This is when an attacker has no reason to specifically chase you as an individual down. Perhaps they have not targeted you specifically yet, or they are monitoring large quantities of targets simultaneously and you are of reduced individual importance. In either case, staying protected is generally a matter of just keeping off the attackers radar. Here are some examples of low level computer security risk threats:

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  • Websites spying on your internet activity for behavioural profiling and targeted marketing.

  • Hackers looking for poorly guarded computers which can store stolen data or act as a conduit for their illegal activity.

  • Cyber thieves using computer spy software (spyware) to identify targets for fraud.

  • Government monitors on the lookout for particular internet activity (searches, site visits or posts) that will see the user placed on internet surveillance watch-lists.

High-level threat. You have been targeted by a motivated attacker with significant track IP address resources and skills, or at least the enthusiasm to acquire them. They are prepared to invest these resources in tracking you even if it takes time to achieve their goals. Internet privacy cases of this high level include:

  • Cyber stalker or cyberbully. For example a jilted ex or a bitter rival. Even if this person possesses virtually no skills when it comes to IP tracking emails and hacking accounts, the fact they are motivated to the point of obsession makes them high-level online security threats. Privacy issues with Facebook are just the beginning; you should understand that effective computer surveillance through hacking is a very learnable skill. Even a script kiddie can cyberstalk or cyberbully his victim. An IP tracking novice can quickly turn pro simply by devoting time to researching articles and hacking tutorials online and then experimenting with free computer spy software (eg. how to do a Wireshark or Firesheep attack).

  • A cyber thief who knows you are wealthy. Some individuals are targeted because they have revealed through their internet behaviour that they have money. They are often also chosen because their internet behaviour exhibits a disregard for – or ignorance of – online security threats (eg. they use weak passwords, have no firewall activated and run old versions of browsers).

  • Government internet surveillance. Of course governments do often have good reason to monitor people online – those suspected of committing a crime, for example. In many cases, and in many countries, however, big brother surveillance is invasively carried out on the innocent without any regard for the public's right to digital privacy.

All the above mentioned forms of computer surveillance and attack rely heavily on track IP address tactics – from identifying the target, to pursuing, and then finally attacking them.

Part III: Protecting Yourself Against Low Level Security Threats

Also read:

Written by: 
Robin Welles; internet security team, expats team