Internet Insecurity: A Way Out

Upali Aparajita
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Today computer is widely used across the globe and the usage of computer is made easier and comfortable by the internet. One can use the internet for various purposes and just a click of mouse can complete any harder task, simpler. But, in this world of computer and internet, people find it difficult to keep them secure from hackers and disgruntled persons. In the use of computers and internet, children too are not behind their parents. They are more comfortable with using computer technologies; the entire globe getting online rapidly, the world is shrinking in totally new ways.

But the most important factor that should be immediately paid an attention is ‘Safety & Security’.

Risks associated with the use of internet

We should beware of the risks involved while using Internet. While it can bring a revolution in the Information technology simultaneously it can be hazardous for the mankind. For example by typing relevant keywords we can gather information on a particular topic instantly but with a wrong typing error we can have unwanted, irrelevant, rubbish and sometimes pornographic materials too.
Thus internet might:

  • Lead to information on unrelated things and purchase products that might be dangerous.
  • There are all chances for unknown persons to harass, threaten and lure you or even send viruses to hack your computers
  • Providing personal information while filling out forms for playing games, downloading software and entering online contests could at times result in you being targeted by cyber criminals. There is even risk of losing money when disclosing important financial information to others, like credit card pin numbers and passwords.
  • Cyber pals could lure you to unwanted face-to-face meetings which could turn out to be dangerous.

Thus one should be cautious of the following which might land you in trouble.

  • Wrong keyword and misdirected searches
  • Stealth sites and misleading URLs
  • Children game sites
  • Unsolicited e-mails
  • Instant Messaging (IMs) services

Cyber Crimes: Safety Methods to Avoid it

The main usage of cyber cafes in India are checking e-mails, chatting and Internet browsing. But now-a-days cyber crimes are more often due to mishandling of technology. Due to increased Cyber attacks, the Cyber Cafe Users should follow some rules to become safe Internet user.

Never pass or tell the Cyber Cafe Owner or anyone else in Cyber Cafe about your email and password to check your mail. Username and passwords always be entered by their owners. When surfing the Internet, users always should take about the browser security to avoid risks of exposing personal information such as disabling the option “Remember my ID on this computer”. User ID or Username also should be secured along with password to avoid trail passwords by next user. It is often seen that most of the job seekers practices by bringing USB drive for uploading resumes and the same USB drives may transfer the viruses of Cyber cafe machines to home computer or any third party computer. Always scan the computer / laptop with latest updated Antivirus Software. Some Cyber cafes may not allow any external devices like USB drives, CDROMs so that the users may download their resume in to Cyber Cafe Computer for editing. But they may forget to delete the same which might be exposed the personal privacy to other users. So everyone should delete the personal document before leaving the cyber café. 

Cyber Cafe computers are public computers and shared computers. Your data or communication may be exposed to all users at the same time. So be aware that sensitive information like personal details like credit card information, passwords etc. should be posted through secured web sites. Virtual key boards should be used for financial transactions to avoid key loggers. A key logger is basically spyware and logs or records your keystrokes so that your username and password are made available to Cyber cafe owner or any Attacker. These records may be typed directly into Hacker’s machine or collected afterwards through a file transfer. Some of Cyber Cafes may use Hardware key loggers so that you check that there is an intermediate device between your keyboard and CPU.

Now-a-days social networking sites have gained its popularity, globally. Most of the Social Networking web sites enabling users to set privacy controls for who has the ability to view the information. So one should try to use such facilities and also never post photographs and any other sensitive information to unknown persons in Social network site. Publish limited information in Social Networking sites to avoid risks towards your family and take care about usernames and passwords of social networking sites. If you think that your social networking account details have been compromised or stolen, report your suspicions to the site's support team immediately.

One should avoid face-to-face meetings with online friends, because people in real life can be very different from how they are online. But in case if someone feels it is required, one should bring it to the notice of his/her parents. Let your parents join you or let meeting be arranged in public place. Restrict chatting for limited requirements and necessary things with known persons. Never entertain uncomfortable messages and inform the concern authorities like family members or Cyber crime investigation members. Also never download any files through Instant Message software from known or unknown persons.

Password should be changed most frequently, and avoid clicking links that purport to send you back to the social network site. Instead, type the site's address directly into your browser (or follow a bookmark you've previously saved) to get back to your account. Do not post anything which harm to your family credibility. Whenever you go to Cyber Cafe, you ensure that it has most up to date Anti Virus and Anti spam software. These may help to stop some of the key loggers, Trojans and other malware.

Finally, Always make sure to logout properly when you leave Cyber café.

Basic Awareness for Parents

Parents should set reasonable expectations about which sites they can visit, how much time they are allowed to spend online and what type of information they are allowed to post; They should teach children about basic online safety guidelines, such as protecting their privacy (including passwords), avoiding in-person meetings with people they meet online and being careful about what they post;

Support critical thinking and civil behavior. They should be taught that online bullying and harassment of peers is no different from direct abuse; Be aware of time spent online by keeping computers in shared areas of the house; Ask children to share their profiles and blogs with you and set privacy settings to secure. Privacy settings within social networking sites allow children to control who can see their profiles and personal information;

Get on the Internet yourself. It opens communication between children and parents. Your children want you to know why the Internet is important to them. The Internet is more seductive than television. It can be an extraordinary tool and friend or it can be a sinkhole for time and money. Take due care while dealing with people online. Don't give out information about yourself like your name, your phone number, where you live, or your school details, your digital photograph, family details etc to people online without the knowledge and approval of your parents. Take due care while using e-mail and online chatting services. Follow the guidelines for email and online chatting security. Don’t click links or URLs that look suspicious. Restrict the downloading softwares or music as most of those sites may bring viruses without your permission and explain about the virus, worms how they will come to the computers through download.

Internet helps you in accessing the required information within no time. Using the online services in a proper and right spirit, will definitely provide entertainment and also contribute to your personality growth.


More By  :  Upali Aparajita

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Comments on this Blog

Comment it is very useful article especially for those who are going cyber cafe regularly.

v siva kumar
28-Jun-2010 10:17 AM

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