Watch where you… surf!

Protection of an individual over the Internet – Is it possible?

Every time people ask me what kind of protection against internet viruses and general malicious software should they use, my answer is always the same: “There is no need, just watch what you download.” While this is true, it is also only one side of the coin. Common sense will not save you, as crime on the internet is increasing every day and it will probably skyrocket over the next years, but we‘ll get to that later. What does be careful of what you download actually mean? Don’t land on mines. This is how I see it. The internet is like a huge field full of flowers which, you guessed right, are the websites. The users are bees and bugs flying to all kinds of flowers to get whatever it is they need. Only problem, some evil bugs are injecting these flowers with bad chemicals which are obviously the malware and this action results in the death of other bugs visiting the flower. Ok maybe the bugs are not users, and maybe they don’t actually die. It might be that my theory has some insignificant holes, but you get the point. Just like in the real world, the internet also has different kinds of crimes, from small scale to organized crime. The following video was shown to me by my professor and I believe is a good introduction to the concept.

 

Power on the internet is obtained effortlessly.

If you are up to date, it is possible that you hear on a regular basis about some kind of a new exposed threat on the web or another successful attack. What has led to this? Internet is growing and every individual could have access these days. The increase in malware, short for malicious software, has made it easier for people with little to no knowledge of what they possess to bring terror. As Stan Lee –or Peter Parker’s uncle Ben- once said “with great power there must also come great responsibility”.

The information age.

It is the supposedly the new era we are living in. Information is power and unfortunately I’m not referring to knowledge. Having lots of people’s personal data on your hands means money. Why do people need these kinds of information? Is an individual’s data so valuable? More than you think, that’s for sure. Most companies out there are built based on “potential customers” data. A user may be aware that he is giving away his data to a service he is using, but you are not going to believe what kind of exchange of information is going on behind the scenes. A recent study has shown that just from Facebook “likes” it is possible to conclude an individual’s IQ, age, political and sexual preferences. So what is stopping them from forming a complete profile? Only the information the individual is willing to give away. Sometimes though, even that is not true. As shown in the video, almost 1 out of 3 attacks in the U.S were aimed to steal data from health-care providers. Unlike banks these are not as well protected but the loot is just as worth it.

You better keep an eye on… you!

In conclusion, it may seem that an individual has control over his data but this is not always the case. It is possible though to reduce the leak of your personal information on the web by controlling what you share with the outside world. This is the internet; you shouldn’t trust anyone other than yourself. Come to think of it, don’t even trust yourself because most of the time your nemesis is no other than you.

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