Last week in my Internet and Society class discussion I learned about securing your browser when visiting important sites like your online banking and school log in. We discussed how even profiles we thought we could trust can be hacked into and used against us to steal our money and identities. There are many different ways that hackers can get into your accounts and your computers, but there are also a lot of methods to try to protect yourself against online predators like that.
- Strengthen your passwords;Don’t use your husband’s birthday or your mother’s first and last name. This information is easily accessible online and are combinations people will try first to get into your accounts. Use combinations of uppercase and lowercase and add numbers and symbols if possible.
- Use a secure browser/computer; Make sure you always go through secure browsers when logging into an important website. You should also always make sure you’re using a wifi that has a password that not just anyone has access to. Always use firewalls and anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- Protect your Data; Encrypt your important files on your computer so that if you do experience someone breaking into your computer you have another layer of protection to fall back on.
There are also many other ways you can protect yourself, some can be found in the link below.
As we learned in our discussion for Mass Communications this week, phishing can fool even the most avid technology user. When we skim over e-mails too quickly we can often look over small details that can show you that an e-mail is illegitimate. From viruses to identity theft there are many things that phishing can cause. The more sophisticated the methods become, the more people fall for phishing. The most important thing is to protect yourself by knowing the signs of an e-mail being fraudulent and paying close attention to what kind of websites you put your information on. Some tips provided by the website below include:
- Check the salutations. Real businesses will include your name in their salutation. Fake e-mails may include a generic salutation such as “Hello, valued customer.”
- Always make sure the URLs are legitimate.
- Always check for typos or misspelled words.
- If the e-mail is urging you to take immediate action, practice caution.
You can report a suspicious e-mail to try to protect others by forwarding the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Another tip would be to always log onto important sites directly through the site and never through a link sent to you in an e-mail.
The internet has come with many great perks. Ease of sharing/finding information and communicating more easily are just a couple of things it helps us do every day. Unfortunately, this has caused many jobs in the United States of American to become obsolete. What used to be done by hand by a human-being can now be done, for free, by a computer. As a result, Americas unemployment rate has gone up significantly and many people find themselves unable to get a decently paying job without an education. While I believe that it is important to have an education I think it isn’t great that working class people are now just considered to be people that work in fast food or in the restaurant business. As Obama states in the video in the link below, it is now not enough to just be a hard worker. While the unemployment rate does seem to be going up because of the internet I also think that internet related jobs can allow people with disabilities to hold jobs that they would not otherwise be able to work. In this aspect, it might actually help unemployment for these types of people who cannot keep a traditional job.
In my opinion, the line between “I created something that is my own out of something that already existed” and “I took something from someone and tried to claim it as my own” is a very distinct line at times and very fine at others. You would think that it would be easy to spot creativity and originality but that is not always the case. Personally, I think if you have permission to take another person’s work and remix or reuse it and change it enough to make it into something that is fully your idea, then you have created something and it is your work. Of course, you should always cite the original artists or creators and give credit to them if you are going to share it. It’s a grey area because some people are going to say that if you use any part of someone else’s work it is not yours. I cannot believe that that is going to be true 100% of the time because creativity comes in a lot of forms. We need to figure out a way to determine wether or not something can be counted as original work. Possibly a formulae or percentage that could determine how much of the work put in is original.
Crime on the internet is one of the more prevalent issues that is not addressed often, in my opinion. There are many different types of crime that occur daily on the web but the most frequent, among my peers, is the crime of piracy. There are sites all over the internet that take copyrighted songs, movies and books and make them freely available to the public illegally. One example is that you can take any video off youtube and convert it to audio that goes straight to your iTunes library. Hacking is another form of internet crime that can include; accessing, defacing, hijacking, bombing and denial of service. An issue involving hacking that happened very recently went really public including photos of celebrities in the nude. Some hackers went into these people’s private files and stole their property and shared it with the entire world. Anyone that shares or views these files is also guilty of stealing their property. It worries me that these people have enough power to get into someone’s smartphone that they do not have access to and distribute it so easily without repercussions. Fraud is another big problem associated with the internet. Scammers make fake websites and steal money from people that will get nothing in return.
With billions of people logging onto the internet and creating and editing websites and information daily, it is very likely that some of that information is wrong. From internet users that completely lie about the facts to someone who is just misguided and might not know the information they are putting out into the world is wrong, there are tons of errors on the internet and more are added every day. Unfortunately, it’s hard for the every day web user to identify credible/non credible sources and information. Because of that, inaccurate information gets dispersed even farther. Another issue when considering internet errors is the likelihood of mistakes in databases. Michael McFarland from Santa Clara University wrote, “These databases are used to make many critical decisions affecting peoples’ lives. Someone can be arrested and detained or denied a mortgage or the use of a credit card based on the data stored in them. Yet the sheer size of these databases, as well as the procedures used to collect, process and maintain the data in them, ensure that they will contain many inaccuracies.” As well as going on to quote that, as found in studies, “only 25.7 percent of the records sent by the FBI’s identification division were “complete, accurate and unambiguous.”” Quite obviously this is a huge problem when it affects everyone in the U.S. So much information found on the internet can be inaccurate and will most likely continue to be that way.
People all over the world post information about themselves on the internet every day. Some don’t realize the kind of threat this can pose to their identity. As described in the linked article, all it takes for someone to predict your Social Security Number is your name, date of birth and place of birth. This could very easily lead to identity theft crisis with just information that people normally put in their bio on Facebook or Twitter. Even if you don’t post these types of things on the internet, it is possible that someone could look you up and find information about you. With your date of birth, zip code and gender someone could find out your name if they didn’t already know it. If you don’t want strangers contacting you or you take your privacy really seriously, this could be a problem for you as well. Records, like a police or medical record, that you might not want anyone finding can be accessed by anyone, can be accessed by pretty much anyone at any time. Things that you might want to sweep under the rug and keep to yourself resurface way more easily with the internet and its ease of access. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as privacy on the internet.