Ah, the internet. Our generation’s favourite place to be. It gives us everything we could possibly want or need. You can watch videos, listen to music, play games, communicate with friends or family, research things, write documents, share information, meet people, you can even buy cake! But beware, my friends, for the cake is a lie.
Older generations love saying how bad the internet is, complaining about how we spend all our day sitting in front of a computer or looking at a cell phone instead of “socializing” and “being productive”. We all know that we don’t socialize because we don’t want to, not because the internet is holding us hostage. However, people from the internet may literally hold us hostage by using this tool. Fortunately, I’m here for you to explain the most common attacks and dangers of the internet, as well as give you tips and tricks on how to protect yourself and your loved ones. We’ll start with the ugly part first.
The following video was created in August 2015 to show mainly parents the dangers of social media and the internet as a whole. It’s a fantastic example of how people can and will be manipulated into believing something they cannot corroborate.
As we can see, it’s very easy making someone believe anything when you’re hiding behind a screen. Most times people will gain your trust or trick you into believing you’re in an official web page so that they can obtain your data. Whether you believe it or not, your information is important and can be sold for hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars. The buyers of said information can either be people you know or people you don’t which makes it so much scarier. This information can then be used in many other ways, the most common are:
- Identity theft
- Selling your information
- Using your bank accounts and credit cards
- Sharing private photos or information on social media
By doing this, you’re vulnerable to frame-up, theft, kidnapping, blackmail and even homicide. But what to do to be safe, then?
First of all be sure to check the URL of every page you visit, also don’t trust any links that take you to a “bank” web page. But most of all, be careful with what you do on social media and who you talk to.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and all social media are all great ways of keeping in touch with friends and family, they’re ways to express what we think and let humanity know a bit more of us, but mostly they’re fun. I’m all in for being active on the internet and sharing your experiences, thoughts and even photos. However, you have to be careful with what you say and post.
You must assume that every single thing can and will be used against you. We have all heard at least one case of cyber bullying caused by private pictures being spread across the internet, it’s unfair and those who do it should be punished, but the reality is that things like that can happen. So pretty please, be careful with what you do, think before you act.
Now, if you love livin’ la vida loca and usually connect to wireless WiFi networks, STOP DOING IT. It’s extremely easy for hackers to steal passwords and information when you’re connected to said networks. If you have no other choice but to do it, at least encrypt all your passwords and preferably use a virtual machine.
If you’re a millennial and have all the Internet of Things things, read every single instruction to know exactly how it works and always change the default passwords. Most importantly, make sure they’re connected to a separate network, this way no one will have access to your things unless you let them.
When chatting, be sure that your way of communication is safe. According to the Business Insider the following are the most secure messaging apps:
- Telegram (secret chats only)
- Silent Texts
- Crypto Cat
I personally would add Whatsapp because in their recent updates, have done a lot to protect their user’s data. You are safe there too, don’t worry. For more information on how to chat safely, check out Rubiology’s post on end-to-end encryption.
Finally, although it may sound stupid and exaggerated, put a sticker, piece of paper or whatever in front of your computer’s camera. It’s scary how easy it can be for someone to hack into your camera and watch your every single move (even if that means watching you binge watch a Netflix series, eat junk food and occasionally chuckle at some meme).
Be paranoid if you must, just be aware of the dangers you’re exposed to while discovering the multiple marvels of the internet. Now, proceed to enjoy one of my favourite internet wonders.