Saturday, August 23, 2014

Internet Privacy Issues And Why Security Is Important

Internet Privacy Issues and Why Security Is Important
By Deepak Sharma

The ever-increasing use and our dependency on the internet always leads to intense discussion about the cruciality of internet security and privacy for the user. There are several issues responsible for polluting the internet and most of these germinate from the user's lack of knowledge about what to share and how to share online. One basic fact users should always keep in mind that whatever they are uploading, downloading or sharing using the internet, can be accessed by someone, one way or another. So, whether it's a free Wi-Fi service or a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, precaution is always better to take in order to avoid online frauds.

Privacy Issues

Social Networking

Over the last few years, we have seen the sudden rise of social networking and its dramatic impact on the people. While using these social network, we often forget that it's a virtual world and people can be deceptive here. People active on social networks, especially the teenagers are now convinced that they need to carry a pseudo life over these networking sites to get attention from others. To make their friends show what a superb life they are spending, they often put private information on these sites, without paying attention that these information can be misinterpreted and misused by others.

Other than online fraudsters and pornographers, the internet privacy rights over social networks often get hampered by the advertisers. These social networks sell the private information about your life, your likes and your geographical location to the advertisers to earn some extra money. Privacy is a really big question over the social networking sites and the only way to protect it is to regulate only those information which you choose to share over the internet.

Cookies and Malware

Cookie is a small file of information that the website sends to the user's web browser in order to track who are their frequent visitors. It is a good way to evaluate the preferences of the viewer and is a great way for effectively sustaining their viewership. Though, a cookie is nothing but a small file that contains information about the user's online activities on a particular website, it can really turn to a fatal weapon if this information falls on a wrong hand. Imagine, if someone with wrong intension gets all these files, they can see what website you have visited, the transactions you carried out, your details that you entered etc. The risks get higher in case of online transactions as the email address and the password also get saved.

Though, cookies are not harmful, but some websites store cookies on the visitor's web browser without their permission. In cyber law, it's a grave offence because it often becomes the reason for activation of malware, spyware, unwanted advertisements and other spam. To safeguard the privacy of the user, the internet laws have been revised several times over the past few years. The US Government has introduced Cyber Acts like Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Internet IP Act (PIPA) to extend their control over the internet.

Hacking

Unauthorized network access or hacking is a most common threat that internet users experience. The hackers are actually online fraudsters who gain unauthorized access to your account, computer or network; by doing so, they can enjoy complete control over your transactions and can misuse your network or account for illegal purposes. This is most common in free Wi-Fi and public Wi-Fi networks as many people access and share the same connection. To stay safe from unauthorized access, it is highly suggested to use the personal Wi-Fi hotspots. In this, the user's connection is encrypted by security codes and the user can share the access only to whom they want to share.

Moreover, people who do online transactions should be careful enough. Payment gateway pages having SSL (Security Sockets Layer) and HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) encryption are the most trusted to do online transactions. SSL creates an encrypted connection between the user's web browser and the website and safeguards the private information from eavesdropping, data tampering and message forgery.

With the advancement of internet technology, fraudsters are getting smarter to carry out illegal online activities like hacking, phishing, spyware and virus attacks, identity theft, cyber-bullying, child pornography etc. Thus, it is high-time for internet users to act smart and get some knowledge about how they can enjoy a safe online surfing experience.

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