Before getting into the technical stuff, I would first like to introduce what basically the internet is. The Internet is just a network, a huge network of devices that all are somehow connected. These devices include web servers, file servers, Personal computers, and many other things. We will keep our focus on PCs in this text. All These are connected through cables or satellite.
Now, we know that when things are connected, data sharing is possible. That’s the sole job of the internet. Data is being transferred from one place to another all the time. Now, we come to the dark side of data transferred. The problem here is that there is so much data that every bit of data can not be checked what this is and where it is going. Who is accessing this? Whether he is the right person to have this data or not. Unfortunately, we don’t have any effective method to check this. I believe someday we would have some way to control this and restrict malicious people from accessing data they are not supposed to access. I am now listing all the possible negative consequences of the internet; then, I would try to explain them and share possible solutions.
3. Loss of privacy.
4. Data Corruption.
5. Adult material (not suitable for children).
6. Forbidden Knowledge.
8. Time wastage.
9. Health Hazards.
Many of us, in fact, I think every one of us is aware of this term and knows what this means. It is unauthorized access to anything. Today, hacking has victimized many ordinary people, companies, and even computer firms in the entire world. This is something that can be done at any level. As there is a saying, “if you can make it, then you can break it”. Today, billions of people have accounts on many free email sites, social networking sites, and others, and tons of them have lost their accounts with some important personal data on the side. Those who have experienced this thing know how scary this is, and those who have not to, believe me, can be your worst nightmare.
Now, coming to the technical side. There are several types of hacking. We will only concentrate on internet hacking which involves ordinary people. What an ordinary person has on the internet? Two things: Email accounts and social networking site profiles. He has most personal data in these two places, and that’s where his privacy becomes vulnerable. If he, unfortunately, has some acquaintance who is not a good person and possesses sound knowledge of the internet, then that person might face the consequences somewhere in the future.
Hackers use several ways to get access to the victim’s data. On the internet, “social engineering” is the easiest and an effective way to do so. Hackers develop relationships with the victims and then exploit them. One way is that they send an email that has some link to another website. When you open the link, it asks the user to enter the user name and password, and when they do so, it goes to the hacker and the user with some kind of error message. The irony of the situation is that the victim would never know what has just happened to him. This is called “Phishing.” Only people having good knowledge of programming can do this.
One can get away from such a trick if he gets a little careful and does not open emails from unknown people and does not enter any passwords when asked if he has come to that website from an indirect link. Another way is that they install software that keeps making a log of whatever activity is being done on a computer with all the data entered and on which website that data is entered. So, this can also happen if you are using a university, school, workplace, or public computer.
So, always keep that thing in your mind that you are sitting and what information you are trying to access. Avoid as much as you can using your personal accounts from public computers because you never know who is watching on you. Instant messengers can also be used to get the work done. Hackers can send you some link which may cause loss of your email account. Do not follow any irrelevant-looking links even if someone really close to you has sent that because you do not know who is using that account. Hackers do use people’s accounts to get access to their friends.
Your secret questions can also sometimes lead to your destruction. Many people do not recognize the importance of the secret question, and they write things that are really obvious to their friends and people around them. Therefore, never use something predictable as your security question because if some friend, colleague, or acquaintance gets to guess it correctly, he is in your account. And this goes for passwords as well. Try to make passwords complex and difficult to guess. Many people use their birth dates, cell phone numbers, and some obvious words like “password” as their password. This makes hackers workpiece of cake. So, for your own sake, don’t do that.
Cybercrime is a vast term and includes a lot of things in it. It basically means all those crimes which are done using computer and internet. Most of the time, it refers to credit card fraud, threatening someone, denial of service attacks, and spreading malicious codes. Some people use your information and credit card to do the shopping over the internet (e-shopping). Most of the time, you are unaware of that and only get to know when you get the monthly bill of credit card or something like that. It was widespread some years ago, but it does not mean that it has been eliminated. It happens today as well but has become quite rare.
You can easily avoid such things by taking care of some things. Most of the time, Hackers gather your information from your dustbin or garbage. I am serious about this. Many people do not realize the importance of the receipts or documents you get from the bank and, without destroying them, throw them in their dustbins. These documents have got many sensitive things on them, and if anyone gets them, he gets one step closer to hack your credit card. So, don’t throw away such things without destroying them, and do not share such sensitive information even with the closest of your friends.
Then comes threatening someone. As you may have realized by now that if you get some personal information about someone, you can blackmail them. There is hardly any cure for this because, in the internet world, it is rarely possible to trace the person who broke into your system. So, you can only prevent someone from getting into your personal life, but once someone has fooled you, then there is little hope. Then comes the spreading of malicious code. Malicious code is the program codes that are intentionally written to do bad things. There are unlimited such codes on the internet today, and you can become their victim any time while browsing the internet. They may be potentially harmful and trigger nondesirable actions.
To prevent such things, keep updating your operating system, install anti-virus and keep updating it too. Moreover, do not irrelevantly surf websites, and if you get some message from the firewall, anti-virus, or web browser, do not ig ignore it. Read it carefully, and if it says things like malware risk or this site may affect your computer, do NOT open those websites. The same goes for the email attachments.
Loss of privacy:
Privacy is the main concern of people today. There are so many social networking websites that exploit your privacy, and you can’t do much about that. I don’t want to take any names, but still, some websites keep your information even after you delete your account. Another thing that surprised me was that a leading social networking site had an agreement with a search engine. They took it to such an extent that if somebody searches for someone else on even that search engine, he will get results of the other person’s social networking site’s profile. It is totally made public, and the irony of the situation is that this is being done whit out your permission.
The solution to that is that you read the agreement, which you have to agree to before making any account or profile on the internet. If something you think would not be suitable for you, don’t go for it. And if you really need to make an account, at least keep that thing in your mind and take care of that in the future.
I don’t think that any internet user is unaware of how much internet porn sites surround us. One click can take you anywhere. This might not be a big deal for university or college students, but this really concerns parents having small children. They are worried about them all the time regarding this matter. Many people restrict their kids from using the internet, which definitely hinders their education process because today, the internet is the greatest medium of information. If one does not use it, he is left behind.
So, there are many solutions to this problem that would let kids grow educationally and not lead them to adult material. One simple solution is to keep an eye on kids whenever they are using the internet, and if you don’t have enough time or due to some reason, you can not do that, there are plenty of software which restrict access to such websites. Try the keyword “Parental control software” on some search engines if you want to have some. It will give you some useful results. Then with a little study, you can implement that software. Another way is to install the “Key logger” on the computer. It keeps on making the log of the visited websites. You can check that to get to know which websites were surfed. This thing can also be known if your kid is not smart enough to delete a web browser history.
On the internet, information regarding everything is present. Knowledge of everything is not good. One can easily find virus codes and then give them software form. Likewise, many books explain how to make bombs, secretly kill people, annoy neighbors, grow marijuana or weed, etc. Kids can read such interesting stuff and start implementing them. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to monitor them in this case. You yourself have to keep an eye on them.
Plagiarism and material for free:
One of the major concerns regarding the internet is plagiarism. Many people’s work is being stolen or copied and used in one way or the other. Many people share their unique ideas on blogs or any other interactive site just to get some feedback from others, and before they know it, their ideas are stolen and sometimes even implemented. Unfortunately, there is seldom any justice provided. Therefore, be careful before posting anything on the internet. Please don’t share your research or unique ideas unless you have copyrights to them.
Another drawback of the internet is that almost everything here is for free. That’s really cool for users but very much painful for the producers of that material. We know that today we can find and download almost every book, movie, song album, and software for free on the internet. This actually causes loss to the people who are selling these things. And it is tough to ban anything which is being provided for free on the internet. So, be ethical and try to abstain from such activities.
Time wastage and health hazards:
Internet is an entire world in itself. There are many activities one can do here, and one life is not enough to explore it. Moreover, this is so much interesting that it consumes time like a jet consumes petrol. I mean that people who use the internet, most of the time, get addicted to it, which becomes like oxygen to them. So, don’t let the internet be dangerous to you. Define some limits and try to stay within them.