Internet Safety

How safe is the internet?

As safe as you make it.

For some reason the consensus for the internet is that it’s not safe. Now don’t get me wrong…It can be a very dangerous place but there are a lot of simple ways that make it a lot safer and most of these revolve around common sense.

I like to think about the internet as that neighbourhood that people generally speak ill about and tell you to avoid, but when you talk to someone who knows that area they will tell you that it’s all a myth. The internet is very much the same, all the people that use it regularly will tell you that it’s fine whereas those who are not so frequent will try and tempt you away from it.

Generational issues

I am very fortunate in the fact that I have had access to the internet since I was a child and this meant that I grew in such a way that it included the use of the available technologies and in my mind, I have accepted the internet. I have found that for people who are in the generation prior to me have a hard to accepting such an advancement. Personally if something comes along in my lifetime that dramatically changes the status quo I might think twice about it…But I doubt it because come on now…Its tech…and its new, I’m going to be all over it.

For a long time I was blind to the issue that the previous generation has to the internet because my dad was very much a techie, so he would always have and be messing with some kinds of tech. It wasn’t until my mid-late teens that I witnessed the issue that that generation has. This day came when my Uncle wanted to create a playlist on YouTube for his favourite songs. So, me being the appointed techie of the family was asked how he should do it and If I could help him set it up. I had no problem with this so I went to help. It wasn’t long until we ran into the issue. At the stage in creating the playlist you have the option to make it public or private. When my uncle got wind of the “public” option he pulled the plug on the whole idea. I was confused because I have never had an issue with this but he was adamant that if his music playlist was public then his whole lively hood was at stake. He truly believed that by having this one option open his whole online estate would be at risk.

Personally, I find this approach to the internet very paranoid but as I mentioned earlier you have to remember that the concept is very alien to them and the only things regarding the internet that will stick in their minds is all the bad things that have happened since it became commercial.

That being said I, to this day, have a piece of tape over my webcam…Just in case.

Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, the generation that is following me. The generation that is following me has been born right into the technological age and they haven’t seen any transition of the technology. When I say they have been born into it, I mean that there are early teens that are running around with newer iPhones than me. In one hand I think his is really good because if they think that technology is the norm then when it comes time for them to add to the tech market they will be pushing the boat out to new levels, this side of the idea excites me because when I’m in a retirement home I will be able to reap the benefits of that generation.

The other side of me wants me to tell these kids to go outside and get lost in the woods, within reason, and just have fun getting dirty and messing around and having adventures. It seems that the outdoors has become  a foreign concept for some of the kids of today…which does make some parents feel better due to the fact that they think the neighbourhoods are unsafe which makes them happier that their kids are staying inside despite the losses they are having from the social side of growing up but that’s not an article for this blog.

Dodgy looking websites

I generally don’t pay much attention to a website if the design of the website is poor. With the amount of resources available to the mainstream to create decent looking websites, even if they are a template, is un-imaginable. With it being so easy to have a decent looking website created there is really no excuse to be running something that looks like it was created in Microsoft paint.

If a website looks dodgy and it is also an e-commerce, then it is highly unlikely that I will be giving them details. Now this may seem unfair but it is quite common for someone with ill intention to mock up a dodgy website in no time and then throw it around trying to steal bank details from unsuspecting users. It is at times like this when you give your details to a dodgy looking weekend that you either get spammed by annoying emails that have no relevance or want to try and steal your money through a scam or if you give your bank details to these people then you will lose the money straight out of your account and will have little chance of getting back because you will essentially be authorising the payment.

Now I am not trying to scare you from shopping online although most of you may already fear it but I just want you to think before you give out any details. If you are going to be giving out your email address, maybe use one that you have created just in case of spam instead of getting your main email address filled with spam.

I would also like to point out that just because a website has a good design doesn’t mean that it will be a secure website. As I mentioned previously there are a lot of resources out there that could be used to create a decent looking website so it wouldn’t be hard for a scammer to utilise one of them. So, if you can, stick to the big websites you know but if you have to use a new website do some research on the website first to make sure that it is legit and if you need to pay for anything try and do it through PayPal.

Should I believe a pop up

No. Generally speaking a popup is trying to advertise something or is a malicious ad that wants to infect your system or get details out of you. I always like to think that if the pop up isn’t a direct reaction to something I have done then I don’t need it. That would mean clicking a button whether it be a submit button, a page link or anything else related to the website. If it isn’t linked to what I expected it to be then it will be closed straight away.

A common pop up that you will find Is one that mentions that your machine has a virus. Firstly, if you are on a mac then it is highly unlikely. Secondly, If you didn’t do a virus scan then 9/10 times you won’t have a virus. If you see this message it is always good to check by going directly to your virus scanner and doing a scan of your machine but you shouldn’t follow any links that come with the pop up.

Round up

The internet can be a very dangerous place…but it can also be the key which connects you to the rest of the world. Personally, I love the internet because when used correctly you have endless knowledge at your fingertips, You can connect to people on the other side of the world and you can order food to be delivered within the hour, which is by far one of the best advances of the internet.

If you play the internet game correctly and don’t give away too much information without thinking then it can be a great tool.

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