How to Be Safe on Internet?
Before getting into the technical stuff, I would first like to introduce what basically the internet is. The Internet is just a network, a huge network of devices which all are somehow connected to each other. These devices include web servers, file servers, Personal computers and many other things. We will keep our focus on PCs in this text. All These are connected through cables or satellite.
Now, we know that when things are connected, data sharing is possible. That’s the solo job on an internet. Data is being transferred from one place to another all the time. Now, we come to the dark side of data transferred. The problem here is this that there is so much data that every bit of data can not be checked what this is and where it is going. Who is accessing this? Whether he is the right person to have this data or not. Unfortunately, we don’t have any effective method to check this. I believe some day we would have some way to control this and restrict malicious people to access data they are not supposed to access.
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I am now listing all the possible negative consequences of the internet then I would try to explain them and share possible solutions.
2. Cyber crimes.
3. Loss of privacy.
4. Data Corruption.
5. Adult material (not suitable for children).
6. Forbidden Knowledge.
8. Time wastage.
9. Health Hazards.
Many of us, in fact, I think everyone of us is aware of this term and knows what this means. It is unauthorized access to anything. Today, in the entire world, hacking has victimized many ordinary people, companies and even computer firms. This is something which can be done any level. As there is a saying, “if you can make it, then you can break it”.
Today, billions of people have accounts on many free email sites, social networking sites and others and tons of them have lost their accounts with some important personal data inside. For those who have experienced this thing know how scary this is, and those who have not, believe me, it can be your worst nightmare.
Now, coming to the technical side. There are a number of types of hacking. We will only concentrate ourselves to internet hacking which involves ordinary people. What has an ordinary person on the internet? Two things: Email accounts and social networking sites profiles. He has most personal data in these two places and that’s where his privacy becomes vulnerable. If he, unfortunately, has some acquaintance who is not a good person and possesses sound knowledge of internet, then that person might face consequences somewhere in future.
Hackers use the number of ways to get access to the victim’s data. On the internet, “social engineering” is the easiest and an effective way to do so. Hackers develop the relationship with the victims and then exploit it. One way is that they send the email which has some link to another website. When you open the link, it asks the user to enter the username and password and when they do so, it goes to hacker and the user some kind of error message. The irony of the situation is that the victim would never get to know that has just happened to him. This is called “Phishing”. Only people having god knowledge of programming can do this.
One can get away from such trick if he gets a little careful and does not open emails from unknown people and do not enter any passwords when asked if he has come to that website from an indirect link.
Another way is that they install a software which keeps on making a log of whatever activity is being done on a computer with all the data entered and on which website that data is entered. So, this can also happen if you are using a university, school, workplace or public computer.
So, always keep that thing in your mind that where you are sitting and what information are you trying to access. Avoid as much as you can to use your personal accounts from public computers because you never know who is watching you.
Instant messengers can also be used to get the wok done. Hackers can send you some link which may cause loss of your email account.
Do not follow any irrelevant looking links even if someone really close to you has sent that because you do not know who is using that account. Hacker does use people’s accounts to get access to their friends.
Your secret questions can also sometimes lead to your destruction. Many people do not recognize the importance of the secret question and they just write things which are really obvious to their friends and people around them.
Therefore, never ever use something predictable as your security question because if some friend, colleague or acquaintance gets to correctly guess it, he is in your account. And this goes for passwords as well. Try to make passwords complex and difficult to guess. Many people use their birth dates, cell phone numbers, and some obvious words like “password” as their password. This makes hackers workpiece of cake. So, for your own sake, don’t do that.
Cyber crime is a vast term and includes a lot of things in it. It basically means all those crimes which are done using computer and the internet. Most of the times, it is used to refer to credit card frauds, threatening someone, denial of service attacks and spreading of malicious codes.
Some people use your information and credit card to do the shopping over the internet (e-shopping). Most of the times, you are unaware of that and only get to know when you get the monthly bill of credit card or something like that. It was very common some years ago but it does not mean that it has been eliminated. it happens today as well but have become quite rare.
You can easily avoid such things by taking care of some things. Most of the time, Hackers gather your information from your dustbin or garbage. I am serious about this. Many people do not realize the importance of the receipts or documents you get from the bank and without destroying them, throw in their dustbins. These documents have got many sensitive things on them and if anyone gets them, he gets one step closer to hack your credit card. So, don’t throw just throw away such things without destroying them and do not share such sensitive information even with closest of your friends.
Then comes threatening someone. As you may have realized by now that if you get some personal information of someone, you can black mail them. There is hardly any cure for this because in internet world, it is rarely possible to trace the person broke in your system. So, you can only prevent someone from getting into your personal life but once someone has fooled you then there is little hope.
Then comes spreading of malicious code. Malicious code are the program codes which are intentionally written to do bad things. There are unlimited such codes on internet today and you can become their victim any time while browsing internet. They may be potentially harmful and trigger non desirable actions.
To prevent from such things, keep updating your operating system, install anti virus and keep updating it too. Moreover, do not surf websites which are irrelevant and if you get some message from firewall, anti virus or web browser, do not ignore. Read it carefully and if it says things like malware risk or this site may effect your computer, do NOT open those websites. Same goes for the email attachments.
Loss of privacy:
Privacy is main concern of people today. There are so many social networking websites which exploit your privacy and you cant do much about that. I don’t want to take any names but still there are websites which keep your information even after you delete your account and another thing which surprised me was that a leading social networking site had an agreement with a search engine and they took it to such an extent that if some body searches for someone else on even that search engine, he would get results of the other person’s social networking site’s profile. It is totally made public and irony of the situation is that this is being done whit out your permission.
Solution to that is, that you read the agreement which you have to agree before making any account or profile on internet. If there is something which you think would not be suitable for you, don’t go for it. And if you really need to make account, at least keep that thing in your mind and take care of that in future.
I don’t think that any internet user is unaware of the fact that how much on internet, we are surrounded by porn sites. One click can take you any where. This might not be a big deal for university of college students but this really is a concern for parents having small children. They are worried about them all the time regarding this matter.
Many people restrict their kids to use internet which definitely hinders their education process because today internet is the greatest medium of information and if one does not use it, he is left behind.
So, there are many solutions to these problem which would let kids grow educationally and would not lead them to adult material. One simple solution is to keep an eye on kids when ever they are using the internet and if you don’t have enough time or due to some reason, you can not do that, there are plenty of software which restrict access of such websites. If you want to have some, try the key word “Parental control software” on some search engine. It will give you some useful results. Then with a little study, you can implement those software.
Another way is to install “Key logger” on the computer. It keeps on making the log of the visited websites. You can check that to get to know which websites were surfed. This thing can also be known if your kid is not smart enough to delete the history of web browser.
On internet, information regarding everything is present. Knowledge of everything is not good. One can easily find virus codes and then give them software form. Like wise there are many books which explain how to make bombs, secretly kill people, annoy neighbors, grow marijuana or weed etc.
Kids can read such interesting stuff and start implementing them. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to monitor them in this case. You yourself have to keep an eye on them.
Plagiarism and material for free:
One of the major concerns regarding internet is plagiarism. Many people’s work is being stolen or copied and used in one way or the other. Many people share their unique ideas on blogs or on any other interactive sites just to get some feed back from other and before they know it, their ideas are stolen and some times even implemented. Unfortunately, there is seldom any justice provided. Therefore, be careful before posting anything on internet. Don’t share your research or unique ideas unless you have copy rights on them.
Another draw back of internet is that almost everything here is for free. That’s really cool for users but very much painful for the producers of those material. We know that today we can find and download almost every book, movie, songs album and software for free on internet. This actually causes loss to the people who are selling these things. And it is really hard to ban anything which is being provided for free, on internet. So, be ethical and try to abstain from such activities.
Time wastage and health hazards:
Internet is an entire world in itself. There are a lot of activities one can do here and one life is not enough to explore it. Moreover, this is so much interesting that it consumes time like a jet consumes petrol. I mean to say that people who use internet, most of the times get addicted to it and this becomes like oxygen to them. So, don’t let the internet be dangerous to you. Define some limits and try to stay in them.