A Comprehensive Computer Safety & Security Guide
by Jonathan O'Brien
Computers and the Internet have impacted almost every aspect of daily life, from the way we communicate to how we shop. As the Internet evolves, cyber security remains essential to keep confidential information safe. Internet users should be aware of the risks that going online can have. Among the many computer security dangers, there is always a risk of predators stealing credit card information, viruses deleting or altering important files, or various other fraudulent activities. Recognizing the signs of Internet fraud, and maintaining safety regulations while online, can help to prevent these occurrences. Many people become quickly overwhelmed at how difficult it can be to keep a computer safe, but rest assured, it’s not as hard as one may think.
Computer systems can be exploited for both theft and fraud. For example, someone may hack into your personal accounts to access financial information. They could then use a computer to skim small amounts of money from numerous financial accounts, assuming that the small discrepancies may not be looked into. Malicious hackers can include both insiders and outsiders who break into computer systems without authorization. Malicious code can be installed on the computer system without the knowledge of the victim. Viruses, worms, spyware, and other illegal software can attack platforms, resulting in potential system outages and lost of important data and personal information. Computer fraud costs can be significant to businesses and victims of identity theft.
Safety risks are not always in the form of viruses and other “uninvited” software. People who are not aware of the risks associated with the Internet can fall victim to computer fraud. Children often experience other types of computer safety issues, including cyberbullying, online predators, harassment, e-mail spam, and social media privacy. Providing personal information to someone that you don’t know on the Internet can put you at risk for identity theft, Internet hoaxes, and phishing scams. It’s important to learn about safe browsing to keep yourself protected while on the Internet. It’s also important to realize that nearly any “traditional” crime can be committed with the help of technology. For example, a threat made via instant message or e-mail can be turned into the police, just like if it was made verbally. Furthermore, the World Wide Net is not yet regulated like the television or radio.
Many common computer fraud and theft scams can be avoided through a series of safety precautions. Simple things, such as updating your anti-virus software and choosing secure passwords, can keep predators away. It’s also important to supervise children while they surf the Net. Review the following resources to help you learn more about computer fraud, and the various ways you can keep yourself and your family protected.
Cyber Bullying, Harassment & Online Predators
Privacy & Password Security
Internet Hoaxes, Viruses and Worms
Spyware, Adware and Key Loggers
Phishing and Hijacking