Dangers Of The Internet

Most of us use computers, laptops, tablets, phones etc to access the internet – and this includes our children.  However, while the advantages of using the internet are numerous, we cannot afford to ignore the disadvantages.  This blog lists many of the dangers of the internet.

Dangers Of The Internet – A LONG List!

This list is not in any particular order of importance or relevance and more than likely does not include all the dangers of the internet, but we believe it covers the majority, happy reading…

Completing Web Registration Pages

It can be very dangerous to type sensitive data into website registration pages.  In addition, you are also more likely to get hacked if you use the same username and password for most sites that you visit.

Con Artists

Numerous scams live on the internet, and their sole purpose is to steal money from you. It can be difficult to recognise the difference between safe information and scams, so people get caught out again and again.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is another serious danger when using the internet. This can be done anonymously as the bully can create a fake profile on social networking sites as well as fake email IDs. Online bullying can be more dangerous as the bully does not need to be physically present and therefore, cyberbullying can occur at any time.

Cyberbullying can include but is not limited to, hateful messages, death threats, online lies, nasty comments on social media profiles, mocking websites about the victim, identity theft to spread nasty comment and posting inappropriate videos of the victim.

Victims of cyberbullying often do not tell their parents about the situation as they do not want to lose their internet privileges. They may also not want their parents to become involved and believe this will only increase the bullying.

Disabling or Turning Off Automated Security Tools

Firewalls and anti-virus programs can slow down a computer, and in response, many users resort to turning this form of anti-virus protection off. This thereby opens their computer to all kinds of internet dangers; particularly is they forget to turn it back on.

Email Spam

A major negative effect of email spam is the possibility of malware such as viruses being included in an email. If you open or download spam email attachments, there is a very high chance that you are allowing virus onto your computer.

Assuming Weblinks are Safe to Click on

Internet users often believe that they are protected from any dangers of the internet when they are shopping online or surfing on safe websites. However, this is not true. Cybercriminals often target high traffic sites and provide links to malicious websites. These can then store the user’s information or result in the user downloading viruses onto their computers.

Damaged Reputations

Damage to your reputation if one of the dangers of the internet that many people do not take into account. It is easy to post photo and videos online without thinking out the potential repercussions. Many people post pictures and comments online that they later regret.

Jobs and schools often check a person’s online profile and activity when deciding on whether to accept them into their school or workplace. Therefore, it is extremely important to behave appropriately online.

Identity Theft

There are several ways in which your identity can be stolen on the internet. You may be caught in a scam and provide your bank account details and passwords to criminals. They then use this information to steal your ID and money.

There is also malicious software that can record your keystrokes which makes it easy for scammers to steal your identity and personal information.

Social media is also a platform that opens many doors to identity theft. Not only can your identity be stolen, but also your photos can be copied for use on porn sites and fake advertising.

Installing Free File-sharing Applications

Be careful when downloading free file-sharing utilities that let our share documents, software and music. These can be dangerous as many of these applications contain viruses.

Insufficient Security of Passwords

Many people still store their computer and other passwords next to their computers, or even worse, some still stick their passwords onto their computer screens or laptops.

Another dangerous thing that people do with their passwords is to share them with family and friends or even work colleagues.

As noted previously, it is important to not use the same password for all your online accounts as if a cybercriminal obtains your password, then all your internet activity is subject to hacking. Do not put all your eggs in one basket, it is better to keep different passwords for different purposes.

Internet Dating

There are always many dangers of online dating. The person you are communicating with could be someone completely different than who they say they are. People can easily provide fake pictures and false information about their identity. Upon meeting one of these unscrupulous people, you are risking yourself to a possible stalker.

A way to reduce this danger is to insist on telephone or video chats. It is important to ensure that when you plan on meeting someone from online dating in a public place, you let someone you trust know where you are going and what time you expect to return.

Leaving Social Media Privacy Setting Open

You need to carefully check your privacy settings on all social media accounts to ensure that personal information is not available to cybercriminals. If they have access to this information, they could use this to impersonate you to obtain credit cards.

Not Updating Antivirus Software

One of the most common dangers of the internet is to forget to update antivirus software.  It is always essential to keep your anti-virus software up to date. If you do get a message or alert to do an update, click on it. It only takes a few minutes and will provide you with better protection as these updates include protection from new malware that has been developed since your last update.

Opening Plain Text or HTML Messages from Senders you Don’t Know

Many people are aware of the likelihood of obtaining a virus infection by opening email attachments. However, many are not aware that normal everyday text and HTML message can also contain viruses.

Piracy

Piracy is the act of illegally copying or downloading copyrighted material. This is the way that people can download free music and movies onto their computer. However, this has had a significant impact on the economy. It has been estimated that a years’ worth of pirated music causes $12.5 billion in economic losses globally. This also includes a loss of 71,060 US jobs and a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ income.

Porn

Free pornography websites are rife with malware. It is not a matter of if but when you will obtain a virus on your computer if you visit these sites. It is much better to use paid sites than free websites due to better security.

Sexual Predators

Children can meet sexual predators online through chat rooms. Adults can also pretend to be teenagers or younger children to lure them into meeting them alone in dangerous places.

Sexual predators look for children that are emotionally vulnerable such as having problems at school or home. They use these issues to befriend the victim, empathising with them and building a pseudo friendship and most importantly, trust with the child.

Once the predator gains the trust of their victim, they often send inappropriate pictures. If the victim tries to cut off communication, the predators often send threats and scare the victim into continuing the relationship.

Warning signs that a predator may be grooming your child include:

  1. They spend a lot of time online
  2. They switch screens quickly using the Alt+Tab keys
  3. You find porn on the computer
  4. You find porn sites listed in the computer browsing history
  5. Your child receives phone calls, gifts or mail from people you do not know
  6. They withdraw from normal activity and becomes increasingly secretive
  7. They start using other accounts from email or instant messaging

Time Wastage

Addiction is one of the major dangers of the internet.  It is easy to waste an enormous amount of time online. It is often the case that you use the internet to obtain just one small bit of information, and the next moment you have spent hours on your computer. This could be generally surfing the internet, using social media or making unnecessary purchases.

Using Free Wi-Fi and Public Computers

Using free Wi-Fi available in public places can be dangerous. Once you are connected to free Wi-Fi, you are open to being hacked by other users on the same Wi-Fi link.

If you do connect to free Wi-Fi using a public computer, make sure to sign off on any websites you have logged into. It is also a very good idea to delete your browser’s history. If you save passwords on a public computer, it is easy for another user to access your accounts.

For Children Using the Internet

This list below includes information can help children avoid the dangers of the internet that are most common for children.

  1. Give yourself an alias that doesn’t include any information about you.
  2. Never share passwords with anyone other than your parents.
  3. Be careful with what you write on social media platforms and in emails.
  4. Only give your email address to family and a few trusted friends.
  5. Do not respond to any abusive that is posted on the net – either ignore these posts or log off.

For Parents Whose Children Use the Internet

The list below includes information that can help a parent with children avoid the dangers of the internet.

  1. Install internet filtering software to block inappropriate sites from any device your child has access to.
  2. Use filtering software that monitors and records instant messaging, chat room conversation and all websites visited by your child.
  3. Consider using a monitoring program that filters pornography keywords in several languages.
  4. Set up a new email account and delete old ones if your child is getting harassing emails.
  5. Help your child block or ban online bullies.
  6. Explain to your child about how all photos can be copied and places online, even if they have been deleted.
  7. Inform your children to not take embarrassing pictures and videos and post them online.

 Further Information on Internet Protection

There are several websites that can provide you with information on how to protect yourself and your child/ren from the dangers of the internet. These include;

  • The Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy – StaySmartOnline program
  • The Australian Federal Police provides information on identity security
  •  SCAMwatch provides information concerning the latest scams
  • Attorney-General’s website provides information on how to protect your identity

Summary of the Dangers of the Internet

It is very important that we are all aware of the dangers of the internet. As a parent, it is your job to be on guard to protect your family. There is a lot of information on the internet that can provide you with help. There are also many organisations and government agencies including those listed above who assist parents with online issues relating to your child’s safety online.

This article was provided to you by the technicians at Affordable Computer Repairs and Service in Brisbane, Queensland.

FYI If you do pick up a virus on the net, we offer a very competitive virus removal service.

Dangers of the internet

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