The Cost to achieving Personal Safety on the Internet
The paper discusses some of the security concerns that have emerged due to the increased use of the internet, the threats posed to our personal information let it be financial or anything else are increasing in number and subsequent measures are being taken against them.
These threats include identity thefts, spamming, child security, threats increased due to social networking sites, the main cost to be paid for achieving security against these threats is personal convenience, but also with the advancement in computer technologies and techniques such as filtering etc. it is quite achievable.
With the involvement of the internet in every aspect of a human being’s life having personal security has become a major issue. This report discusses major areas that require personal security and the cost of achieving the desired protection.
The internet has made transactions in human life so convenient that everything is just a click of a button away. People now prefer handling their bank balances from home on their computers rather than actually visiting, everything from clothing to groceries to cars are on sale online, people even prefer buying Christmas presents on the internet due to their tight schedules.
With this development in the lifestyle of people the family life has also been heavily affected the parents now have another thing to worry about the infamous ‘Internet’, the usage of internet among the youth is great due to academic as well as other reasons. Where going online opens gates to the vast kingdom of information there is also a risk of exposure to things that may not be suitable for kids at a young age ranging from pornography to violence.
A recent phenomenon of social networking websites have also risen numerous issues of personal security as no matter how long have you known a person online he is still a stranger to you and also the fact that such websites offer access of your profile to random users who wish to visit them.
Blogging which has grown to become a huge success over the past few years and is now being used by millions of users all over the years has given birth to new issues of security, people sharing their personal views on numerous topics on their personal blogs wish it to be read by some specific people only at times but may not be able to get their desired wishes as their thoughts are may be accessible to some undesired users. (Press and McDougall , 2006)
Spamming has become frequent practice which floods personal inbox with numerous advertisements mostly unsolicited and undesired has created a lot of problems.
- Financial Security
Achieving financial security is only possible at the cost of personal convenience. The issue has developed due to the changing times where the tradition of visiting stores for shopping changed to just visiting store’s websites. We may broadly divide this category into two Banking and general shopping. (Jewkes , 2006 )
Online banking has become a huge market and we are now at a level where we are seeing all-net banks where there is no concept of a physical location for a bank where a customer can go. This certainly raises the risk level for general users. Banking websites are normally used for making transfers and other transactions; transactions that require personal information ranging from date of birth to PIN codes assigned. Generally there has been a certain amount of risk involved in using these facilities due to certain technicalities and identity thefts, yet the banks have been able to make them secure enough to gain customer confidence in using them. (Jewkes , 2006 )
Banks have invested enormous amounts in achieving secured system that will protect their identity and ensure safety, banks ask for confirmation on any kind of unusual activity and also give timely updates of records after specified periods. The all-net banks have to offer a little extra for the customers in terms of interest rates and other packages so that customers are attracted towards them due to the increased amount of risk considering the lack of a physical entity. But the more the banks make their systems secure the less profitable it becomes for the customer as a reflection of the universal rule of more risk more return, as we try to achieve greater internet security in banking transaction we narrow our profit margins due to increased service charges.
2.2 General Shopping
The internet has revolutionized the idea of shopping by making every possible thing available online, but with the increased number of internet transactions we have also observed increased cases of cyber crimes and identity thefts where people were able to hack a customer’s credit card number. (Splaine , 2002 )
The cost of achieving security in such transactions are also linked to the fact that greater the companies try to make it safe for us to shop online the cost also increases simultaneously which is passed on to the consumer and makes it less feasible for him to shop online as one of the main reasons of doing so is to avail the discount offers that are otherwise not available.
Certain websites offer the padlock system which ensures the customer that the website is safely encrypted. Such types of risk can be averted by sacrificing some of our convenience, for example buying things from only a handful number of websites and not every other website as it is more secured, this will be a sacrifice in terms of price as other websites may offer you certain discounts that you don’t avail due to the risk involved. (Jewkes , 2006 )
- Child Security
Child security has become a huge issue with increased involvement of the internet into our academic structure. With the internet children are exposed to all sorts of information some of which may not be good for them. It has become a concern for parents because the risk is not just of them visiting certain websites but also of the financial security as kids may end up being tempted to use their parent’s credit cards to shop online or respond to certain scams that end up them giving away valuable information about their parents. (Splaine , 2002 )
Different techniques have been developed to tackle this issue one of them is filtering or more commonly known as the nanny programs, these programs allow access to only certain amount of websites and prohibit the access to others.( Lenardon, 115-130) Making children secure may also require parents to supervise their children at times asking them questions on how things work so that the child feels comfortable enough to use the internet yet he is being supervised. Another threat that children are exposed to meeting strangers at different chat rooms but this can also be tackled with supervision.
- Social Networking Sites
The new phenomenon that has grown over the past few years is the social networking websites. These pose threats as they require you to enter your personal information which is accessible to others, this may lead to harassment and other risks.
Although many websites have come up with different techniques to make their platform as secured as possible these threats still remain.
Many networking websites that did really well in the beginning were not able to maintain the profitability due to the new entrants who offered more secured options and communities and the older websites were just not able to keep up with the pace. Hence added security by others turned out to be the main reason for their loss. The recent shift of users from Google’s Orkut to Facebook is a perfect example. (Press and McDougall , 2006)
Some of the websites do offer options where you can control the access of your information to people, but again as much as you increase the number of restriction on people being able to access you, you are restricting your social network which was actually the main reason why you joined the website initially. Email addresses added in profiles also provide data for spasm which will be discussed later.
Spamming has been there for a while, it is a system through which companies send thousands of emails, these are unsolicited advertisements sent to unknown people randomly these may also contain viruses or are simple scams to extract your personal information, these may also be in forms of fake surveys where you fill your information and that gets sent to the sender.
Anti-Spamming and Anti-Virus software have been developed over the years that can be easily purchased to save your computer from such spam. Email ids for spam are generally collected from the networking online communities; to avoid this either the user shouldn’t include his email or just change the format of writing it.
Personal safety on the internet mainly depends on how much the person is willing to give in i.e. how much the user is willing to compromise in order to be secured. As discussed one of the main hurdles in achieving internet security is convenience after all that is exactly the reason why such services were developed to cater convenience. With the new developments new applications have been made to achieve greater security but again there will always be certain amount of safety risk involved on the internet. (Corporation 458-480)
Work Cited Page :
Corporation, Microsoft . Improving Web Application Security: Threats and Countermeasures . Microsoft Press, 2003.
Jewkes , Yvonne . Crime Online. Willan Publishing (UK), 2006.
Lenardon, John . Protect Your Child on the Internet: A Parent’s Toolkit. Self-Counsel Press, 2006.
Press , Entrepreneur , & McDougall , J.S. (2006). Start Your Own Blogging Business .Entrepreneur Press.
Splaine , Steven . Testing Web Security: Assessing the Security of Web Sites and Applications
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