The internet is a wonderful place, there is no doubt about its immense benefits. Especially, how it has helped us during the pandemic and lockdown is unparalleled to any other technology.
In those times, when all physical avenues of interaction and communication were prohibited and the movement of mankind was severely limited due to the lockdowns imposed in the wake of the pandemic, in those times it was only the internet that emerged as a savior of humanity. It offered alternate channels through which the wheel of life was able to move.
From education, business, corporate structure, communication channels, socio-economic infrastructure, to even the entertainment industry everything was being handled over the web, all thanks to the internet.
This was the reason why the internet gained the status of an essential service and governments around the world started assistance programs in order to facilitate their citizens and made access to the internet easy and affordable.
All these efforts resulted in a huge and sudden surge in the number of internet users across the world, as those who weren’t a fan of the internet or people who didn’t know how to use the internet were also forced to use this technology to continue various important activities of their daily lives.
This is the reason why more than half of the world’s population have become active internet user today. But this posed a problem as well because according to the famous saying “All that glitters is not gold” and this is the case with the internet as well.
While it has provided humanity with immense benefits, on the other hand, it has created serious security risks for every human who is connected to the internet in any way shape, or form.
The internet should be considered as a dual-edged sword where the outcome of its immense powers and abilities depends on the intention of its wielder.
If the internet’s abilities are used positively it can bring a great change and subsequently ease and comfort in our lives as we already witnessed during the pandemic, however, if used negatively it can pose grave threats to seemingly innocent victims.
Another dark aspect regarding the internet is that it has also empowered criminals to remotely commit crimes leaving little to no trace, which makes it quite hard to nab cyber criminals, and the worst part is that they can do these crimes from anywhere in the world on just click of a button. Similarly on the other hand excess dependence on the internet has also paved the way for big companies and advertising firms to track a user’s activity across the web compromising their privacy and personal information.
Recent Surge in Cybercrimes
One can argue that these threats have been prevalent ever since the creation of the internet so why suddenly do we have to be extra cautious regarding these vulnerabilities? and this is true to some extent as well. However, today the dependence on the internet has increased significantly as we discussed before and subsequently the internet users have also shot up in numbers. These factors combined now pose a greater threat to our cybersecurity since post-pandemic people have lost their jobs and are an immense financial burden, while lockdowns have also provided a lot of free time for people to experiment with their online skills, most times negatively.
Moreover, these factors have worked together to produce more and more malicious entities who are looking to capitalize on these new potential victims who have been exposed to the world of the internet for the first time in their lives.
Since most new users are naïve and don’t know much about these threats as compared to avid internet users thus to counter this, internet providers like Cox internet have stepped in themselves and are offering internet security which is built into their existing internet connections. Talking about Cox all their internet packages come with standard internet security powered MacAfee free of cost. This means that users using Cox internet don’t have to spend extra in order to ensure the protection of their devices.
Apart from Cox, many other companies are also following the same trend of providing their internet users with free basic internet protection. Even if it doesn’t come free with your provider it is still better to pay for internet security tools because no price is more than the safety and security of your personal data.
Common Types of Internet Threats
Apart from security measures, it is also important for new and existing internet users to identify the types of internet threats so they can be avoided even before they are able to affect you. Some common types of internet threats are listed below.
As in the real world, you are identified through your government-issued id, similarly, in the virtual world, this id is in the shape of your social and financial accounts that are registered under your name. That is why it is essential to protect these accounts from unauthorized access since anyone who has access to these accounts has access to your online life, and those cybercriminals can do anything on the web under the pretext of your name and account. Make sure to double-check the websites in which you are entering your private credentials and in no case share them with anybody. As cybercriminals create dummy pages of famous social media platforms in order to trick users into entering their actual credentials which are then stolen by these criminals.
This is another common type of cybercrime that mostly target new or naïve users. In this type of cyberattack, a cybercriminal sends fake emails to users asking to provide their information in order to claim some kind of reward. Always remember that these rewards, companies, and senders are all fake. They request either money, social account logins, social security number, or credit card information. Never give this sensitive personal information to anybody, let alone a random person on the internet. Providing this can result in different kinds of damages including financial fraud and identity theft among many other crimes. Always remember this one rule of the internet, if something seems too good to be true most of the time it’s a scam.
Malware and Viruses
These are the most common type of online threats that most people already know about. Viruses are destructive programs whose sole purpose is to destroy the normal workings of your internet-connected device.
They can either destroy the important files of your system or can open a backdoor in the device through which hackers can gain access to your device. In other instances, these programs lock your system and demand some money in order for you to gain access to your device. The most common way to avoid viruses is to not download files from shady websites, use original software, don’t plug media devices from unknown sources into your devices, and lastly don’t open unknown emails or download attachments included with them.
As beneficial as it is, there is no denying the fact that the internet is also a dangerous place, and it has become even more dangerous after the pandemic. During the year 2020-2021, the FBI collected a record 6 million complaints related to cybercrime, a jump of 1 million from previous years. This shows how dangerous the current internet environment is becoming. And since we can’t get rid of the internet it is essential to employ the necessary protective measure, and even more crucial is to identify the types of threats like the ones mentioned above because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.