In the Internet Age, Security Still a Major Concern

By: Asena Acar Staff Writer

Privacy is something that most, if not all people want and need in their life. Privacy is how we keep other people from knowing everything that goes on in our lives, and how we keep sensitive information, like credit card numbers and bank accounts to ourselves. Without privacy, it would be very easy for others to go as far as stealing a person’s identity. Consequently, that thief has total access to the victim’s life. In this way, privacy is one of the most important privileges that we often take advantage of. The problem is, not everyone knows how to keep their information private.

Many people use the Internet to store information that they would rather keep private from others, such as credit card activity, bank account information and Facebook profiles. Unfortunately, nothing people put on a computer or the Internet is completely safe these days. With so many people hacking computers, it is almost impossible to completely secure all sensitive information. Cybersecurity, and the lack of privacy on the Internet, is a problem because this is how our private information becomes public, and other people can use our information to their advantage.

Because there are people capable of hacking people’s computers, everyone who owns a computer is at risk of being hacked. This becomes a huge problem when the hackers obtain our credit card numbers and gain access to our bank accounts. According to “www.infragardtampabay.org,” “78% of Trojans and Worms since 2003 are designed to steal personal and company information.” A “Trojan” is a virus that disguises itself as a useful program that appears to perform a desirable function for the computer’s user. Trojans are designed mainly to steal information from, or harm a computer. “Worms” are self-replicating malware (malicious software) programs that spread their copies to several computers in the same network. This means that people spend plenty of time designing software and malware to trick innocent people into revealing their most personal information.

When a hacker gains access to a person’s credit card information, usually the hacker will spend an excessive amount of money on the credit card. This causes problems, not only for the credit card holder, but also for the credit card company because the company still has to pay for the purchases even though the original cardholder does not. Also, the card owner has to change their card number, which can be problematic if they wants to return an item to the store that they bought using the previous number.

People also fall victim to hackers through bank account theft. All over the country, people “sell” their items and scam their buyers. For example, when a person wants to “sell” their car, they find a buyer who wants the non-existent car. Then, the buyer wires their bank account to the seller’s account only to find out that there is no car. According to “www.infragardtampabay.org,” between 2004 and 2008, “agents of one wire transfer company helped fraudulent telemarketers and other con artists trick U.S. consumers into wiring more than $84 million within the United States and to Canada alone.” Clearly, many American consumers fall victim to this type of fraud, and it continues to be a problem as long as people do not know the dangers of wiring their bank accounts to people they do not know.

Another problem relating to the lack of privacy on the Internet is the insecurity wireless networks. Nowadays, many people use wireless networks in order to maintain Internet access on every computer in their household. This is a good resource, as it allows people to access the Internet from mobile devices via WiFi.

If one goes to a college campus, one will likely see many students using the Internet on their laptops and smartphones via the college’s unprotected wireless network. However, when people fail to protect their networks, it is incredibly easy to hack their computers. Because having a wireless connection does not require the computer and the Internet to be connected by a wire, the hacker’s goal becomes even easier. Often times, these hackers will find the exact location of the unprotected network using a GPS signal and use the information they gather for malicious purposes like hijacking the network connection.

The main reason why there is a lack of privacy and cybersecurity is essentially the ignorance of Internet users. Because some Internet users either do not know, or do not take precautions against the dangers of the Internet , hackers are able to gain access to their private information.

In today’s advanced age of Internet security, people think that their top-notch security software is enough to keep hackers out, but corporate and government networks still suffer major attacks on a daily basis. If hackers are able to hack the government’s security networks, they can hack virtually any one’s network.