In this day and age, nearly every aspect of our lives is linked to the online world. As of 2021, nearly 5 billion people around the world have direct access to the internet, with well over 90% of them accessing it via a mobile device. It is a method of communication, a platform for business, and the lifestream for global information. It is incredible to think about how much of our personal data we send out into the ether of the online world. As we continue to move things like our banking and even our digital identity strictly onto our mobile devices, we must remain aware of the many hazards that can directly affect us.
Identity and Information Theft
Identity theft can be as simple as someone using your email address on a website or as complicated as impersonating someone’s digital identity all over the internet. We must be prudent with our password secrecy and update them every few months. Use only trusted websites for online purchases, and be mindful of which websites you are entering and saving your payment information to.
If you are using a public computer, or even one at your office, remember to always log out of any accounts you might check throughout the day. Finally, be aware when you are accessing the internet through an unsecure network like public WiFi that does not require a password to log into. While the actual chances of having someone maliciously stealing your identity are not high, it is always better to be safe rather than being sorry!
Social Media Persuasion
It’s no secret that social media usage has been a controversial topic over the past few years. There was once a time where everyone would post their life details to platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Then, as we learned more about how these sites were using our information and preferences, it started to become clear that there were ulterior motives for these companies. Specifically, these motives revolve around the usage of our online activity to target us with digital ads.
But there is an even darker side to social media that has seen people being persuaded to believe things that can end up being harmful to themselves or others. Certain users love to spread propaganda and even look to groom other users to participate in movements or protests. We are not here to say what is right or wrong, but to be aware that not everything you see or read on the internet is the truth.
One of the main motivators for people to do malicious things online is for money. People have had their accounts hacked or payment information stolen, and while online security is certainly getting stronger, these attacks still happen on a daily basis. This ties back into being on guard against identity things like identity theft online. Whenever you log into a website that holds your personal payment details or sensitive information, you must make it a habit to log out once you are finished on the site.
The perfect example of this is people who enjoy playing games at online casino sites. To deposit and withdraw funds, you need to enter your personal payment information like a credit card or bank transfer. Always choose an online casino that you know will protect its users by implementing high-end security to mitigate the chance of a user getting compromised. That is why when betting online it’s important to use websites that have very strict security measures like BetMGM, so you can feel safe as you enjoy playing on the site.
One aspect of being on the internet that never really gets discussed as the other hazards is cyber bullying. When we think about bullying, we always imagine this happening to young children or students in high school. But in the cyber world, bullying does not discriminate against your age. It is so easy for someone to create a fake identity or burner account, and begin to harass someone online. While most internet users do not care enough to go through the trouble, there are those who are willing to do anything to humiliate someone else online.
Cyber bullying can take place between classmates, co-workers, and even between random people who know nothing about each other. How do you prevent cyber bullying? Unfortunately, there really is not a tried and true way. For starters, do not engage with any hostile people online, especially if they continue to target you for no reason. If you need to delete your account from a site, do it. It is not worth the ongoing headache of being harassed just because you have a publicly viewable profile. This needs to be an important lesson we teach our children as we move forward, as it continues to be an ongoing issue that just does not get enough attention
Do Not Get Lazy With Security
This point just cannot be stressed enough. It is staggering how many people will skip security steps like two-factor authentication or updating their password. A lot of people also remain logged in at all times to sites like online banking or an eCommerce site that holds their personal information. For sites that you access on both a computer and a mobile device, it is critical to have several security checks in place before entering the site on more than one device. It only takes a few seconds, but adding those security measures can go a long way in keeping you safe online.
Multi-factor or two-factor authentication is a potential key to the future of online security. Ultimately, a login is only as safe as the person logging in. If you are able to confirm logging in on multiple devices, then that doubles the security for the user. This can be by email confirmation or an SMS that contains a unique passcode. So next time you are setting up a new account on a website and are about to provide them with your personal information, check to see if the site also offers security checks like multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of defense.