The Internet is certainly one of the most important inventions of the modern world. This is demonstrated even by the number of users, which is counted in billions, or the fact that without the Internet, many areas of life would not exist. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the Internet carries many threats. This is evidenced by cases of data theft, virtual violence and other negative phenomena to which people using the internet may be exposed. Many people assume that threats do not concern them, because in their free time they only browse websites or contact their friends – this approach is not appropriate, because each of us is a potential victim of virtual threats.
Among the main dangers that may be awaiting network users are the threat of malware and computer viruses. They can block the use of the device and even download confidential data, such as personal data or bank account details. In some cases, malware can access the device’s camera, which will track a particular user or person’s network traffic. Although programs protecting against computer viruses are constantly modernized, it is worth remembering about them and ensuring the highest level of security.
Phishing and theft of personal data is another serious threat on the network. You only need to share your confidential data once and it will be made public on the web – in this way they will also be available to people who can use it in different ways. Many people or groups scam and use personal data by creating and selling special databases or taking loans. It is worth remembering that you do not send your personal data in any way or put them on the network, also during private conversations.
If you have an account on Facebook or another social networking site, you know that you can publish almost anything there. Upload a holiday photo, share information that you are on a colleague’s name day or boast that you have once again become a grandfather or grandmother. You share facts from your life, and do you remember not to do it in public? Note the status settings of your profile. If it’s not private with access only for friends – change it quickly. Thieves or other criminals can get information about innocent posts about: your loved ones, that you are not at home, that you have something expensive.
The Internet carries many more threats, but there is a set of rules that can protect users against the negative consequences of using the web.
Basic principles of maintaining online security:
- remember to always use an up-to-date antivirus program – choose software that is tested. It’s also good to regularly scan your computer for viruses and malware.
- create secure, complicated passwords – do not choose those that are easy to guess. Make sure you have a different password for each portal and profile – thanks to this, even if your password to one place is stolen, other passwords will be secure. It is also worth using special password generators that allow you to create long, very complex security passwords.
- make sure that the website you want to connect to has an SSL certificate – thanks to that you will be sure that the server you are connecting to is the right one and the IP has not been changed. Thanks to SSL certificates, online transactions are much more secure – for example, in online stores.
- do not provide any private data on the internet – avoid any job or service announcements that require a PESEL number (Polish ID number), ID card number, address, name or phone number.
- avoid downloading files from unreliable sources.
- do not open suspicious emails, do not download files attached to them, and do not access pages from links in such messages – they may contain malicious software.
- avoid establishing relationships with people you don’t know – if a stranger invites you to friends on a social networking site, it is safer to decline such an invitation.
- watch out for shortened URLs – they can often be a dangerous trap. If you want to use a short link, make sure it is shared by someone you know or from a secure source.
- think twice before allowing the app to access your location or content on your phone. The same principle applies to the use of websites – do not click “I accept” or “Confirm” each time you want to get to the website as soon as possible. In this way, you give permission to access a lot of information – it’s worth to read the regulations first and carefully check what you accept.
- Be suspicious if:
a. Strange website address (URL). Hover over the name and see what will be displayed in the lower left corner of the screen – if the name matches (check the letters exactly), the address is correct.
b. you are concerned about HTTPS – only if you see a padlock icon next to the website address, it means that the traffic is encrypted and secure. This prevents the theft of confidential data (e.g. credit card number or password).
c. No ratings and comments on the site – if, e.g. you are on an online store website, where there are no user reviews (e.g. in the form of a comment under the product) and ratings (numerical, “star”), think about whether you really want to make a purchase.
Considering how important the Internet has become, we also adhere to the principles of savoir vivre. It is worth referring to others in the same way we do it every day – with culture and respect. It is true that Internet contacts are often seen as less important, which leads to many negative phenomena and even to cyberbullying. Treat other people politely and respond when you meet with the hate. If it comes to contact with a person who is rude to you, do not continue the conversation – this will ensure your mental comfort. You probably, like most, can not imagine life without the Internet – no wonder, it is extremely important and even necessary in everyday functioning. It is worth, however, to keep your online safety up to date – new types of threats are constantly appearing, so keep your information and security up to date. By following these rules you will effectively minimize the risk of falling victim to online threats.