Cyber espionage, hacktivism and cybercrime are just some of the attacks that have plagued the Internet in recent years.

Jesus Cortina, general manager of GM Security Technologies, a company dedicated to web data security, explains the problems that these attacks cause for governments and companies throughout the world in the run-up to the international Data Protection Day, which is celebrated every Jan. 28. 

The day came into existence in 2006 following an initiative by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting your privacy on the Internet. 

The reason that such public awareness is necessary is down to the fact that billions of people worldwide have access to smartphones, according to the 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report. The body indicates that this amount will grow to 26 billion by 2020. 

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Given this, the expert says that all mobile devices, as used today, have become a gateway for bad guys on the web. 

"The end user is increasingly exposed to these threats when using applications and smart devices, which have lower levels of security. Whenever people open and read mail from unknown sources or enter personal accounts from multiple devices, they’re putting themselves at a greater risk," said Cortina. "No one is immune to these vulnerabilities. 

In fact, for Cortina, people, businesses, governments and entire countries manage vast amounts of information, so that today, "monitoring the integrity, availability and confidentiality of the Internet becomes a key issue in economics and politics. "Cyber security should be an ongoing process," he stressed. 

He added that a point of relevance are the various regulations that sectors such as finance should follow and enforce. For example, he mentioned regulations that drive organizations, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States and the banking supervisory authorities in each country in Latin America, which are accelerating the necessary compliance requirements. 

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"Financial institutions should be shielded for information security, and have the expertise of specialized companies which they can outsource to, to manage their security services," he advised. "As countries and global organizations start to increase their level of technological sophistication, so will the risks of these cyber attacks." He concludes: We must firmly believe in their existence, only then will we advance further in information security.”  

Major Internet attacks: 

Cyber Espionage

With this form of attack, secrets can be obtained without permission from the owner of the information

Hacktivism

This politically motivated crime has existed since 1980 and is conducted by specialized groups like Anonymous or LulzSec. They are attacks aimed at disrupting the normal activity of public institutions and organizations contrary to the values defended by these groups of persons. 

Cybercrime

These attacks represent 70 percent of all online crimes. According to figures from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in the world there are about 2.9 million netizens, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population. Recent studies indicate that cybercrime generated worldwide losses of $375,000 to $575,000 million annually.

Cyberwar

The number of cyber threats to spy nations and corporations are increasing, specifically those with greater economic, energy and military power, in what experts have called "cyberwar".

– By Victor Rodriguez