Cyber Attack Prevention for the Home User: How to Prevent a Cyber Attack

By Tony M. Damico
2009, Vol. 1 No. 11 | pg. 1/1

As the sophistication of cyber criminals continues to increase, their methods and targets have also evolved. Instead of building the large Internet worms that have become so familiar, these criminals are now spending more time concentrating on wealth gathering crimes, including fraud and data theft. An online article from CyberMedia Online Ltd., suggests that because home users often have the poorest security measures in place, they have become the most widely targeted group.

CyberMedia states that 86% of all attacks are aimed at home users (2006). As attacks on home users increase, new techniques are surfacing, including the use of malicious code to attack web browsers and desktop applications.

The following is a short review of some techniques that are easily employed and can help stem the tide of these criminal cyber attacks:

Although home users may not feel like they are connected to a network, any activity on the Internet can be considered "networked activity." Therefore, protection measures employed by networks may also benefit the home user. Routers and firewalls can help control access to a home computer, but more specific steps may be utilized.

Consider the difference between network intrusion prevention and network detection systems. Prevention systems “automatically detect and block malicious network and application traffic, while allowing legitimate traffic to continue through to its destination” (Top Layer, 2008). A detection system may detect suspicious activity, but where is the protection from fast acting attacks? A prevention system must identify and stop malicious attacks before they do damage and have a chance to infect a system. As the Top Layer article indicates, “[The prevention system] must operate with switch-like latency at all times” (2008). from the nineties will no longer suffice to protect users from attack by today’s modern cyber-criminal.

The prevention system must not only block malicious code, but it must also never block legitimate traffic even while being attacked. It must also be scalable and should protect, to some degree, against newer, more advanced types of security threats.

Along with intrusion prevention, another useful tool for the home user is to become familiar with some of the tricks and techniques that hackers use to break into systems. Some of these tricks include scanning systems for weak spots, like an operating system that has not been upgraded or recently patched, or the use of malware to record important information from the computer (e.g., passwords or financial information). There are many tools that the hacker employs to gain unauthorized access to systems across the Internet. Remember that a system may not always be attacked to steal information; it may also be attacked to be used as a storage site for illegal content (such as pirated movie downloads) or a system could be recruited into an online 'bot army.'

To increase security of the home computer, the home user can take a few relatively simple steps. One of the first steps in computer hacking prevention is to make sure that all of your software is up-to-date. Many users have suffered attacks from malicious code that has already been identified and protected against. A new patch will come out for a given piece of software that protects against a recent virus, but if the home user does not download the patch, then that user is susceptible to viruses or malicious code.

Another measure that any home user may take is to install a firewall. The firewall’s purpose is to stop unauthorized contact or entry onto the system. However, a firewall does not remove things that are already on the computer or network. Anti-virus software is needed as well to handle malicious code that may slip through the firewall undetected.

Different applications on the market will scan and remove malicious code that has found its way onto a hard drive. Running various virus software applications yields benefits as well. Different software will detect different malware (Hackingalert, 2008). The whole problem with cyber-security presently is that since the cyber-criminal is constantly upgrading his knowledge and methods, most intrusion prevention software applications only deal with the methods previously used.

The home user may benefit by subscribing to any one of a variety of newsletters that stay abreast of the hacker world. One such free newsletter is offered by

Overall, the user must take a large role in understanding the issues regarding cyber security and implementing their solutions.

Cyber-Media (2006). Increase in cyber attack against home users Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Top Layer Security (2008). Securing tomorrow’s networks today. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Hackingalert (2008). Hacker tricks and prevention techniques. Retrieved November 29, 2008, from

Suggested Reading from StudentPulse

Today, we live in the aftermath of the Internet revolution. Humanity has never before been more interconnected or had as much access to the same tools and information. As a driving force behind globalization and modern progress, the Internet enables instant communication and access to information while providing a new medium for... MORE»
The Internet is the world’s great equalizer. As the driving force behind globalization and modern progress, the Internet has enabled us to communicate with others across the world almost instantly and provides a medium for cultural, informational, and ideological exchange. It provides a previously unimaginable level of interconnectedness that benefits business, government, and civilians... MORE»
There is a widespread belief that as societies and governments become increasingly reliant upon information technology, they in turn are becoming more vulnerable to a whole range of cyber-threats.1 Whether these dangers are capable of generating enough damage to warrant a redistribution of government resources is the question at the heart of this essay. This paper provides an evaluation of the cyber-threat arguing that it deserves recognition as... MORE»
This paper analyzes the grey market for cyber materials by evaluating the current nature of transactions within the market. This paper claims that vendors ought to be required to disclose information (to companies) on the vulnerabilities, exploits, and botnets that are sold. Analyses include:a) Historical cases of weaponized cyber... MORE»
Threats to international security may assume many guises all of which deserve thorough analysis. Indeed, as we approach the new millennium, there are a multitude of ‘morbid symptoms’ which threaten to thwart any attempts at achieving global security; these include international terrorism. Yet despite the obvious hurdles that threats and vulnerabilities present there is, at present, a more fundamental problem which precludes the... MORE»
Submit to Student Pulse, Get a Decision in 10-Days

Student Pulse provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines.

Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Student Pulse's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more | Blog | Submit

Follow SP