Last week I discussed government regulation of the Internet and why this can be a good and bad thing. Government regulation can help to protect us from the many dangers associated with Internet use. This week I will explain some of the major risks you are taking when you choose to use the Internet.
#1 Identity Theft
An estimated 17.6 million Americans (7% of the population age 16 or older) were victims of identity theft in 2014. This problem is more common than many people think and is often a result of criminals taking our information from the Internet. Criminals can steal our credit card and other financial information off websites. The majority of people that are victims of identity theft face financial loss. Victims of identity theft can experience high levels of emotional distress. They may even face legal repercussions if there is criminal activity associated with your stolen identity. If there is no Internet regulation, this could continue to be a severe problem.
Hackers can access private information by bypassing the security of servers. They may use viruses and spywares to illegally gain access to a network. Another way they can access an individual’s information directly, is to use their password. People often use common and easily identifiable passwords that put their information at risk. Internet users that use the same password for many different accounts put themselves at a higher risk. Using antivirus software and a firewall can help protect your internet safety, but it is not full proof.
Along with hackers and identity theft, is the threat of scams. Cyber criminals use a variety of techniques in the hopes of scamming people for money and information. Sending emails is a common route criminals take. They send fake financial information, money laundering schemes, phishing emails, and more. Too often people are tricked by these con artists, leading them to be the victims of scamming. The individual can lose money, personal privacy, and face emotional distress. Fake antivirus software is another major scam to be aware of. I personally have fallen victim to this more than once. You can read more about popular online scams and how to avoid them here: https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/top-online-scams/
#4 Lack of Privacy
Your information is constantly tracked by online sites and you may not even realize. Too often we do not read the “Terms and Conditions,” particularly on social networking sites. This leaves us susceptible to sharing our information with companies, the government, and other unknown individuals. Privacy is the most pressing concern in my opinion. I will suggest government policies to help with this issue in the future.
Check out this TedTalk ⇒ “Everyday cybercrime- and what you can do about it”
Carr, Andrew. “The Danger of Hackers.” The Danger of Hackers. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
@heimdalsecurity. “Top Online Scams Used by Cyber Criminals to Trick You [Updated].” Heimdal Security Blog. N.p., 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
“How Identity Theft Occurs.” Detection, Prevention, and Security Identity Theft Handbook(2015): 27-44. Victims of Identity Theft. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sept. 2015. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
Morgan, Jacob. “Privacy Is Completely and Utterly Dead, And We Killed It.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
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