Online security is one branch of information security primarily concerned with the Internet and often including browser protection and other aspects of computer security, usually focusing on the World Wide Web and computer networking as it applies to desktop computers and other peripheral devices used in the workplace. As the Internet has grown into both an integral part of everyday life and an object of curiosity for many people around the world, there has been a growing concern by businesses and governments as to how to protect the confidentiality and privacy of Internet users. In particular there are concerns about the risks to children who are easily influenced by online predators. There have also been increasing concerns about privacy issues arising from identity theft and other internet fraud. The various types of security measures adopted include the use of technological protection such as anti-virus programs, firewalls, and software that block unwanted websites and help prevent access to harmful software. More recently there has been a growth in the security sector as corporations are realising the importance of being prepared for cyber attacks and are investing in cyber security for their websites and computer networks.
Gaining popularity in the online security field is privacy-protection software, which combines several different techniques to ensure the privacy of an individual’s private information while he or she is online. One of the most prominent of these techniques is known as content filtering, which blocks out unwanted websites from being able to gain access to a computer’s hard drive. The filtering process can be applied at different levels, sometimes according to the country in which the computer is situated. For instance, an American company may apply content filtering to its employees’ access to the Internet. This means that the employee’s location is taken into account when any important or personally-related documents need to be accessed online.
While some companies and governments have been vocal about their opposition to internet security, including the US government, other countries have taken the view that the dangers of online privacy have been exaggerated and that Internet users have a lot of protection available to them. China is an example of this. While there is no official national internet privacy law, many internet users are worried that their information is being monitored and their browsing habits are being tracked by some unscrupulous web masters.