The Social Network

November 18, 2021 by No Comments

Spending hours in front of the computer, writing blogs, posting never-ending comments on wall posts, tagging photos and clicking the “Like” button in each and every most recent status- this is how the generation of today can be described as. “I can’t even feel the thirst for food once I started connecting my laptop to the internet”, says Larrenz (a friend of mine). But come to think of it, is it safe to tell the world each and every little thing that pops into your head? No, I don’t think so.

First of all, we need to understand that the internet, in general, is not safe. And it’s not just about the security systems in place but the naivete of internet users about online safety. While a banking site or a social networking site can put up as many security protocols as it can to safeguard its users from malicious softwares and people with criminal intent, the end users themselves must know full well how the internet works and understand that whatever information they post, upload or broadcast to their seemingly private network becomes public domain.

User naivete about online safety poses as a bigger threat than not having an updated Firewall. In terms of identity theft, a lot of internet users, when they set up accounts (E-mail, Facebook, Online Bank accounts, etc.) online, are not aware of how easy it is for even the least tech savvy internet criminal to “fish out” or “phish out” information from a victim.

For example, Larrenz sets up an e-mail account on YahooMail so he can set up an account on Facebook or any social networking or internet site. YahooMail will ask a user to register a unique e-mail user name, password and security questions in case the user forgets or wants to change her password. Larrenz, like many other users, will choose security questions that are very easy to “hack” like “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What is your birthday?” or even the seemingly hard-to-guess question: “What was your first pet’s name?”

Why are these security measures not secure at all? Because after setting up an e-mail account, Larrenz, like many users, will then blog about his favorite dog, Sammy, Facebook about his latest gadget bought or trip to an expensive restaurant, and post personal information like date of birth, schools attended, places visited, etc, all for the internet public to see. When an internet criminal wants to prey on someone, he just simply needs to “befriend” him on Facebook and once he has access to view his profile or 澳門精準營銷 blog, he then can easily get the necessary information to hack his other accounts. Sometimes, an internet criminal doesn’t even have to add the victim as a friend. Many Facebook profiles are so open to the public without any privacy settings whatsoever. This is very common for internet users in their 40’s to 70’s. Most users do not even bother to enable the privacy settings on their accounts. Children and teens are not excluded from this trend.

An internet criminal can commit identity theft by posing as someone else on the internet and using that “online persona” to victimize other people for money and other things. A few months ago, someone copied my friend, Anika Tuico’s Facebook profile and posed as her online to ruin her reputation. The criminal just simply befriended her on Facebook, copied and downloaded all her personal info and pictures, created a clone account and added many of her friends. In another instance, someone was able to hack into my aunt’s husband’s e-mail and Facebook accounts and started posting malicious stuff to ruin her husband’s reputation among his social network of friends.

I can so easily create an e-mail account with the name “Larrenz Ramos” and start adding his friends as my friends, copy all the information he posted online and apply for a credit card under his name or ask his friends to send me money, using his personal relationships to my advantage. That’s how easy identity theft is over the internet.

In terms of RESTRICTIONS OF PRIVACY, internet users need to understand that the internet offers nothing for free and the internet will never be private. When a user signs up for a “free e-mail account” or “free Facebook account”, they do not bother to read the Terms of Agreement. They just keep clicking “Next”, checking the boxes until they get to the Finish button. What many people don’t realize is that internet sites often make your personal information available to other companies in exchange for your access to their e-mail or networking sites. YahooMail and Facebook, for example, will make your information available for other companies to study and for them to market their products and services to you. Ever noticed how much spam mail you get? If as you thought your e-mail or Facebook account was really secure, then how come you’re getting spam mail from a lot of strangers?

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