Cyber Security: How Safe Are You On The World Wide Web?

Every day, millions of people all over the world go online to surf one of the greatest resources known to humanity: The World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is a place where people can go to socialise, interact, explore, and discover. Accessed through the Internet, it’s the ultimate jackpot for entertainment and information. There are endless possibilities of what you can do, and it’s all at your fingertips. To be honest, many of us (especially millennials) don’t know how we would live without it! As we enter the age of digitalisation, we rely more and more on the World Wide Web for many things. However, the World Wide Web, though with all its marvelous functions, is NOT always a safe place. Because many online users are not fully aware of the pitfalls, they often fall prey to cyber predators.

The World Wide Web allows us to connect and communicate with others.
The World Wide Web allows us to connect and communicate with others.
Source: Image by Methodshop from Pixabay

What Are The Threats In Cyberspace?

When you surf the web, you’ll meet a lot of different people online. Some people seek information or entertainment, while others engage in dubious activities. There are people out there who are looking for their next victim. Whether it is cyberbullying or theft of personal information, they are a real threat to your security and safety.

Are you aware that you may be a potential victim of cyber criminals?
Are you aware that you may be a potential victim of cyber criminals?
Source: Image by Michael Treu from Pixabay

Cyber Criminals

Cyber criminals are people who conduct illegal online activities or people who use illegal means to steal personal data. Below are some examples of cyber criminals who might be trying to steal your data or harm you.

1) Hackers

Online banking details, credit card numbers, account passwords, or personal information are things that hackers might be trying to obtain. For this reason, their main goal is to hack their way into your computer with malware or through loopholes in security. This way, they can easily misuse your identity for their gain. They cause havoc in your life by deleting important documents. Moreover, they can also steal your money by opening your credit or bank accounts. Even worse, they can illegally sell your private information to other parties. If you think about it, there are numerous terrible things a hacker can do to your life.

2) Stalkers

Stalkers may be people whom you know or people that you see everyday. For all you know, the predator stalking you may be the unpleasant next-door neighbour! They may be trying to gain access to your private information. They may be trying to verbally assault you through online communication.

You never know what intentions the user behind the computer screen may have.
You never know what intentions the user behind the computer screen may have.
Source: Image by Sam Sander Williams from Pixabay

3) Scammers

Scammers are people who, well, scam. Most of us see it this way, but it’s not that simple. For example, a single scam email, when opened, can release a virus into your computer system and cause it to crash. To add to that, scammers are often associated with hackers, and upon sending a trojan, they can gain unauthorised access into your computer. Furthermore, they can fake emails, pretending to be a legitimate company saying that they need your personal info. When unsure, remember to check with the real source to determine the real from the fake.

Cyber Attack! Malicious Software

It was your typical Saturday night, and you relaxed on the couch as you flipped open your laptop. While searching for a website to watch movies, you came across a website that advertised free movie browsing. Without question, you clicked on the website link and it transported you to a blank page. How strange. The following day you opened your bank account to withdraw money. Several days later, you received an email saying your bank account had been breached. How did this happen?

Exactly how do hackers worm their way into your computer? Where do the stalkers get your info from? In truth, they had some help from unscrupulous sources. People have invented computer software that can wreak havoc on your database. These programs, when in the wrong hands, have a very malicious intent and are known as “malware“. Malware exists in a wide variety, so not all types of malware will be covered in this article. Understanding the main goal of these malicious programs can help with prevention of them. Listed below are some examples:

Is your computer protected from some of the malicious programs mentioned below?
Is your computer protected from some of the malicious programs mentioned below?
Source: Image by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

1) Keyloggers

A keylogger is a sub-class of spyware that secretly records all your keystrokes. The term “keylogger” itself is neutral. But in the hands of cyber criminals, it is a potent tool in retrieving countless data. Should a keylogger enter your computer, the person on the controlling side of the keylogger gets to see everything you type on your keyboard. For this reason, keyloggers have caused major damage in businesses all over the world. This may very well result from a careless staff or employee opening an infected file.

2) Viruses

Like a biological virus, once its malicious code is attached to your computer’s clean code, it spreads like wildfire. It replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and overrides the original codes. When this replication succeeds, the virus then can propagate throughout an intranet or wide area network to cause havoc. Viruses can cause immense damage to your computer’s core functionality of systems. As a result, computer viruses cause billions of dollars’ worth of economical damage each year.

3) Worms

Different from a virus, a computer worm relies on security failures to access a computer. It often uses computer networks to spread itself and infect other computers. Worms only distribute themselves based on the law of exponential growth, but they can cause disruption. However, if a worm is associated with a virus, the worm can inject the virus’ code, helping the virus to spread everywhere.

4) Trojans

Similarly to the story of the deceptive Trojan Horse that led to the fall of the city Troy, trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software. Once a trojan has sneaked into your computer, it opens a backdoor entry to allow other malware variants into the computer. Trojans also allow an attacker to access almost everything in your computer, including personal and important files.

So What Can I Do To Prevent These Threats?

Cyber security is the practice of protecting and defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. By staying informed and aware of the dangers, you can protect yourself and your family online. Below are some tips and tricks to prevent and avoid the hazards online.

“Technology trust is a good thing, but control is a better one.”

Stéphane nappo, IBFS Global Chief Information Security Officer & Board advisor
Stay safe online by staying informed about cyber security!
Stay safe online by staying informed about cyber security!
Source: Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Protection Against Cyber Criminals And Malware

1. Use Strong Passwords

Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites, and change your passwords regularly. Make the passwords something that have a special meaning to you. For example, your beloved cat’s name, your favorite fruit, and your birth date. The more complex and crazy the better, as long as you don’t forget them. Statistics show that using long combinations of letters, digits, and symbols make it harder for malicious programs or cyber criminals to guess your password.

2. Keep Your Software Updated

Install programs like antiviruses, malware detection, and encryption for your files. This will surely make a striking difference when malicious programs strike as well as make it much harder to fall victim to a cyber crime. It is extremely important to keep your online transactions and identity information secure and away from prying eyes. This article by Windows Report gives eight of the best antiviruses with encryption to secure your password.

3. Be Careful Of What Websites You Visit

Some websites might be controlled by scammers, or contain a malware that can enter your computer. Here’s a little tip to telling if a certain website is secure. Take a look at the prefix of the web address. Does it say “https” or “http”? That little “s” means that the website is secure. If the little “s” is not present, it means the website may not be secure. Be sure to take extra precautions if you still choose to browse it. Always be aware when venturing into unknown websites.

4. Stay Aware And Informed

Read up other articles that specifically focus on the threats of the World Wide Web. In this article, we state the simple basics, and not every detail. There are so many other threats that we would probably need more than a few articles to sum everything up. If, however, a malicious program or a cyber criminal gets to you, know where you can seek help.

Cyber Security At Digi

Yellow Heart is a Digi Initiative that educates our community about cyber security online.
Yellow Heart is a Digi Initiative that educates our community about cyber security online.
Source: Image reproduced with permission from Digi Telecommunications

Digi Telecommunications is a telecommunications company that is serious about fighting cyber crime and cyberbullying. Should you need help or somebody to speak to, you can call their hotline. You can also check out their community website where they have information that can help you stay informed. Yellow Heart is another website of Digi where they perform surveys and educate the community about cyber crime. They produce a variety of content for people of all ages so that we can be aware of the threats online. While we’re weathering out the COVID-19 pandemic, we tend to spend more time online. It certainly pays to be more careful of the threats out there in cyberspace.

If you want to know more about cyber security in depth, go check out these two other articles about data protection and password security on our Espoletta website.

Stay safe at home, and stay safe online.

Hazel LING

About Hazel LING

Friendly, sociable, enthusiastic, full of energy, and a total whiz with words. Hazel is definitely ahead of the rest of her peers when it comes to reading and writing.

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