Surfing the internet is fun, exciting and very productive. People don’t realize how much of themselves they actually leave behind when they visit the World Wide Web. Technology is great, even amazing, but it comes with a price. No one can log into their bank account, or visit their favourite online store, without giving up their personal and private information. As much as people want to keep most of their business out of the hands of other people, hackers included, this isn’t always possible. Each time people visit the internet, they are leaving a digital trail behind that anyone can follow. Discover the six deadly sins of internet usage.
The Six Deadly Sins of Internet Usage
Sins of Internet Usage: Usernames
Passwords are generally not available to anyone, but the user, while usernames are made public. It wouldn’t be difficult for someone who is tech savvy to find out a person’s real name. This may take a little effort, a few extra keystrokes and quite a bit of Googling. If the information is out there in cyberspace, it will eventually show up. Usernames can be traced to social media websites, public email accounts, discussion boards and user forums. Some people use the same username for all of their online experiences, and this makes them easy to locate.
Sins of Internet Usage: IP Address Tells All
Whenever people connect to the web, they leave behind a unique IP or internet protocol address. This address is identified, recorded, and stored in the cloud. Every time people log into their computer and visit a website, their information is made available to various web servers. IP addresses are easy to trace. They quickly reveal which city and state a person lives in, and their internet provider. Computer hackers generally take this information and target their next victim.
Sins of Internet Usage: Mobile Transmission
Who would have thought that talking on a mobile phone can pinpoint your exact location? Most people don’t realize that every time they talk on their cell phone, they are leaving behind a trail that extends from one city or county to the next. Signal towers are located throughout the world. It does not matter where people go; their cell phone is able to pick up a signal. Remember the movie “Enemy of the State?’ When actor Will Smith was on the run, the government henchmen were able to pinpoint his exact location, through hidden transmissions. Bugs were placed in the heel of his shoes, in his belt, on his cell phone, and in his child’s toy. This type of highly sophisticated technology is alive and well, and being used in real time. As people migrate from one location to another one, their cell phone is constantly sending off signals that bounce from one tower to the next. Newer model cell phones include GPS or global positioning systems.
Sins of Internet Usage: Spyware is Actually Smartware
Visiting the internet has its perks and its dangers as well. Some people try to protect themselves and their personal information by installing special software. They might not realize that it is actually the software they install that they need protection from. Hackers and predators use malware/spyware software to infect a person’s computer. The software performs a number of tasks: record various website visits, store personal information and download cookies. All of these activities are usually done without the knowledge or permission of the computer user. The program generally sends back a complete user history to the creator of the program. This allows the hacker to evaluate and record the user’s various internet habits. Passwords, usernames, banking information and other relevant information are being stored on a hacker’s web server. Generally, installing an anti-malware software program can protect such information from falling into the wrong hands.
Sins of Internet Usage: Video Uploads
YouTube is a great site, and so is Facebook. Every time someone puts up a photograph or makes a video, they are leaving behind some personal information and a large digital footprint. Making videos to sell or to share with others may be very rewarding, but at what cost? Many people have been arrested or have lost their jobs through internet usage. If criminals know people’s names and addresses, it is easy for them to locate a picture and create a fake identification card. Sometimes, all people need is a face to go with the name.
Sins of Internet Usage: Online Chatting is not Private Anymore
Don’t say anything during an online chat that needs to be said behind closed doors. Chatting online is anything but private. People don’t realize that their conversation is being recorded or saved. They can actually log back into their account and see a long transcript of their conversation. This is true during any chat session, whether it’s personal or business. Chatting sessions never expire or go away. They are in cyberspace forever.
Once people put their information and images online, it becomes a permanent fixture. If someone likes what they see or what they have read, they will most likely save it to their web page or hard drive, so they can share it with others. This is how information floats around cyberspace, people sharing personal and private information with other people.
In the times we live in today, it is almost impossible to pay a bill or chat with a friend without compromising a small amount of personal information. Technology is great and digital technology is amazing, but it does not come cheap. People, in general, give up privacy, peace of mind and sometimes self-respect for the privilege of using the all mighty Internet. Remember to follow safety rules when using the internet or visiting strange websites.