Why is Internet safety important? The Internet plays an increasingly important role in our lives, but it also exposes us to risks few of us have ever experienced.
As early as Kindergarten, nearly 50 percent of children report talking with people over the Internet. Talking on the Internet today is nearly as ubiquitous as talking on the telephone was just a decade ago.
But talking on the Internet isn’t like talking on the telephone. On the Internet, you can never be quite sure who you’re talking to. Nor can you be sure that your conversation is really private.
Many Facebook users posted private information about themselves on their profiles—from addresses and birth dates to vacation plans and telephone numbers. The thought this information was safe because they only shared it with their friends. But then Facebook changed its default privacy settings, and suddenly millions of once-private details were publicly indexed by Google and other search engines.
Numerous people have reported home burglaries after innocently posting about a vacation on their Twitter accounts. Other people have practically handed their credit cards to identity thieves by posting addresses and birth dates online.
The Internet has been around since the 1970s and the Web has been around since the late 1980s, so why has safety become a much bigger concern these days? The difference is not only the amount of time we spend online but the amount of possibilities the internet offers.
In the early days the functionality of the Internet was very limited. Today it's a place of unlimited possibilities. Whether you interact with others, shop online or transfer money, there is hardly anything that cannot be done over the net.
Unfortunately, these options have their drawbacks, as almost any of these possibilities can be abused by criminals.
Let’s take chatting for example. Everyone’s favorite subject to write about is themselves, but it’s difficult to talk about yourself without giving away personal details that a hacker or scammer could use.
Also, many new scams abuse our trust in our relationships. A relative of mine recently had her email account hacked, and I received a note — apparently from her — requesting a bank wire to a foreign country. If I had sent the money, you can be sure that I never would’ve seen it again.
A friend of mine was a victim of a phishing attack. His credentials were abused by criminals to order goods for over $1,000 in an online shop. As a result he is now forced to pay for items he never ordered or received.
Why is Internet security important? Because we do more and more things of everyday life on the Internet, thus providing criminals with a larger attack surface.