The act of enhancing a user’s awareness of personal safety and security threats to personal data and property associated with using the internet, as well as self-protection from computer crime, is known as internet safety or online safety. It has become a significant subject in our digital age, and it includes understanding one’s Internet privacy and how one’s actions can support a healthy Internet interaction.
4.95 billion people around the world use the internet in January 2022, equivalent to 62.5 percent of the world’s total population. Furthermore, there are currently fewer than 3 billion individuals on the planet who do not have access to the internet, which is marking another significant step forward in our quest for universal accessibility. This number is continually rising, with the most recent data revealing that 192 million new users joined the internet in the last year. The number of people using social media is also increasing, with 4.62 billion people using it in January 2022. As the engagement of people with the internet is rapidly growing, the number of crimes online is also increasing. So it is really a matter of concern to know about the dangerous aspects and learn how to cope with this.
Internet Safety can be categorized into two basic subsectors. Such as :
- Information Security
Information security safeguards sensitive data against illegal access, modification, or recording, as well as any disturbance or destruction. The purpose is to protect vital data such as customer account information, identity, passwords, financial information, and intellectual property. Information security can be breached by:
Phishing is the most common form of online scam in which criminals appear as a trustworthy source in order to steal private information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information. It is basically contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to convince individuals into providing sensitive data.
Malware is one of the most common security issues because it is sometimes impossible to tell if a file is infected, regardless of where it came from. It is a malicious software that collects and transmits private information like contact info, passwords, confidential data etc without the user’s consent or knowledge. They are often distributed through e-mail, software and files from unofficial locations.
- Personal Security
Many vital services are available to anyone with an internet connection as the internet is now very common. Digital communication is one of these vital services. As this service allows individuals to engage with one another through the internet, it also enables the fraud people to communicate without any obstacle. Not all the criminals want money or materialistic things. There are many people in the world who just enjoy hurting or embarrassing others. This is especially very concerning for parents and children, as these fraudulent people frequently target minors. Internet frauds, malware, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online predators, phishing, and sextortion are all common dangers to personal safety.
Cyberbullying is bullying someone or a group of people with the use of digital technology. It is basically an aggressive, intentional act or behavior conducted by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of interaction, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot immediately defend himself or herself. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and other mobile apps. Cyberbullying may include sending hurtful or abusive text messages, posting embarrassing photos or videos, spreading false news about someone or something, creating fake profiles or disturbing someone with fake accounts.
The use of the Internet or other electronic methods to stalk or harass a person, group, or organization is known as cyberstalking. False charges, identity theft, surveillance, threats, vandalism, sex solicitation, blackmailing, defamation etc are examples of cyberstalking. It is somewhere internally related to cyberbullying.
Online Predatory Behavior
The act of engaging an underage adolescent in illicit sexual connections over the internet is known as online predation. Through the use of chat rooms or internet forums, social networking sites or internet forums, online predators may attempt to start and lure youngsters into relationships. Minors, especially teenagers are usually very vulnerable and easy to approach. This helps predators to manipulate their victims into agreeing to the predator’s sexual desires. Introducing minors to sexual activity, showing them pornography, and requesting sexually explicit information and pictures are common forms of initial manipulation. Although online predatory behavior rarely leads to actual or attempted offline contact, it does have the potential to do so.
Sextortion is another form of virtual crime in which adults force children and teenagers to send sexually explicit photos to the internet. To extort sexual favors from the victim, it uses non-physical techniques of coercion. It is a very sensitive form of crime occurring online. Both the victim and the perpetrator might suffer serious consequences as a result of sextortion.
Basic Internet Safety Tips Everyone Must Follow
It’s wise to start with the basics when it comes to online safety. We’ve compiled some points to help you assess your online behaviors and make simple changes to safeguard your online privacy and security.
Keep Your Personal Information Private
When signing up for anything online, always read the terms and conditions of the offerings. Never Share your personal data (may include phone number, debit or credit card number, home address, office information etc) without double checking. Never enter your financial data, passwords or PIN numbers anywhere which doesn”t have a correlation with your data. It’s also very important to safeguard your personal information offline, because once sensitive data is stolen, it can quickly spread online.
Use Strong Passwords
While setting a password, make sure you don’t use passwords that are easy to guess.
Always Pay attention to the strong password requirements while creating a new password and change passwords often. You must never share your password with someone even if the person is very close to you.
Use Two Factor Authentication
Two Factor Authentication’s purpose is to offer an extra degree of security to your account. When you sign into your account with 2FA, you must not only enter your password correctly, but also a separate code that was generated or delivered to your device. If someone even has your account password, they won’t be able to access your profile without this extra code.
Keep Your Devices Up to date
It’s important you use the latest versions of operating systems and apps. Especially if these apps contain personal data, payment, health, or other sensitive info. Updating both Computers and mobile devices is essential. The best protections against viruses, malware, and other internet risks are the latest security software, web browser, and operating system. You can turn on automatic updates to get the latest fixes as soon as they’re released.
Avoid Suspicious Online Links
You should avoid some types of internet content, such as questionable links from unknown sources and spam emails, misleading headlines, online quizzes, sensational headers, ‘free’ offers, and unwanted advertisements.
Be Careful About Wifi
You should not put your reliance on the security of public wifi. Connecting to unprotected public wifi networks should be avoided. Always Make sure your personal wifi networks are password-protected and also, change the password of your wifi frequently.
Before buying anything online, Check if the website uses secure technologies. Verify the web address begins with https when you go to the checkout screen. Also, see if the page has a tiny locked padlock sign on it.
Following some security precautions and tactics can really give us a better experience online. So we all should know and learn about internet safety for ourselves, our family, friends, closures and everyone.