Every day, the internet becomes bigger and more ingrained in our lives. Maybe 20 years ago, the internet was a luxury. Yet today, it’s a part of everyday life.
While there are many great possibilities afforded online, the good is often accompanied by the bad. The bad, in this case, being threats to our safety. Security, safety and privacy online become more important topics every day.
Hackers launch attacks on average every 39 seconds. That’s a scary thought, quantifying just how big a scale we’re talking about with cyber crime.
There are many indications that are our lives are only going to get more dependent on the internet and technology, with the introduction of things like IoT and cryptocurrency. That means now is the time to take control of our safety and our security online.
How We’re At Risk
One of the scariest part about cyber crime and threats to internet safety, is that there’s not just one single thing we have to look out for. There are so many ways we can be exploited online, and tactics used by cyber-criminals are consistently being fine-tuned all the time.
Here are some of the most common threats you can encounter:
- Phishing: fake messages, websites or social profiles, created to fool people into clicking unsafe links or extracting money.
- Botnets: a network of unsuspecting devices being used to spread spam, overload servers or more.
- Man in the middle attacks: intercepting communications or transactions between two parties, to steal information or money.
- Identity theft: stealing someone’s information, then using it to pose as that person online.
- Ransomware: software that holds your device hostage, until a ransom is paid.
- Spyware: a type of malware used to watch your activity online, usually leading to identity theft or man in the middle attacks.
- Key-loggers: software that logs a user’s keystrokes, which is used to extract your important passwords.
- Adware: forcing your computer to open a lot of intrusive popup ads, changing your browser settings and redirecting you to commercial sites.
- Computer worms/viruses: software that can cause varying levels of damage to your computer, including totally destroying your files or operating system.
Outside of these forms of malware and cyber-crime, we’re also at risk from those we’re supposed to trust.
An increasing number of governments are taking steps to control the internet use of their citizens, including suppressing sites they deem threatening. This may involve censorship or blocking people from viewing certain sites, or spying on what their citizens are doing online.
Countries such as China, Turkey, Russia and Iran are especially notorious for their control over internet use within their borders, but recent controversy over net neutrality in the US signifies the rest of the world may not be safe forever.
A Few Steps to Staying Safe
All is not lost!
There are steps you can take to stay safe online. We should all be able to use the internet and stay connected without losing everything to online criminals.
David Janssen and his team of writers at VPNoverview.com have made it their mission to educate internet users on good online habits, and protecting ourselves from cyber-crime. Here are a few things that can help keep you safe:
They say “knowing is half the battle”. That’s especially true for internet security. Cyber criminals often prey on those who are not aware of online threats. As such, you can avoid a lot of dangers just by knowing what is out there, and being smart with your browsing practices.
Once you know what cyber criminals are trying to do, always be mindful that someone might target you. Double check a web address or a sender’s email if you’re dealing with a large amount of money online. Use strong passwords and keep them secure. Don’t click on links that look unsafe.
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a way to go online without having to worry about a lot of common threats to our safety and privacy. By connecting via a remote network, instead of your computer’s actual location, it removes the ability for others to track your device. Many VPN services also encrypt your data, in case any party is trying to intercept your information.
With a collection of informative articles, VPNoverview gives internet users a primer on these three steps. They also give the A to Z on VPNs, including information on how to set up and install VPN software and in-depth reviews of major VPN services.
The internet is one of the greatest inventions of our age. It allows the whole world to be connected, in a way never before possible. Be smart and safe online, so you can enjoy all the benefits of online life without the risk.