There is little doubt that the internet has been a boon for mankind. The free and instant trade of information has led to a more interconnected world and changed the ways people interact, both personally and professionally. But with the rise in global communication comes certain pratfalls. It is important that while exploring the corners of the digital landscape to still be cautious and aware of what is being transmitted.
Any internet user will create what is known as a digital footprint. Every click, view, post, search, like… they are all tracked in some manner. Whether as an analytic for the company site, or as data collection to extrapolate market trends, nothing within the public space of the internet is truly private. For that matter, nothing that is on the internet is truly ever gone. Once a picture, video, or post become wide spread enough, there is no chance of controlling its existence.
While ideally the internet would be a positive arena where people lacked selfish motivations, there are many malicious traps meant to scam or steal information from the average user. A common online scam is ‘phishing’. The scammers will contact an individual (by phone, email, text, etc.) as if from a legitimate institution. The intent is to get the user to offer up private information, or to access a link that will skim personal data for nefarious purposes.
Tip: The IRS will never call you, to collect money or otherwise. If you receive a call claiming to be from the IRS, do not offer up any personal or financial information. According to the Department of Justice, the IRS does not discuss personal tax issues through unsolicited calls, texts, or emails. If you have a concern, the IRS can be contacted directly at 800-829-1040 for individuals, or 800-829-4933 for businesses.
Spoofing is a similar scam in which hackers will impersonate a known entity within an official structure. Email addresses that look very similar to a co-worker, or server messages that show a false IP address, can trick a well-intentioned user to open a door to classified or proprietary information. If even slightly suspicious, it is a good idea to confirm the message with relevant parties.
Malware is the common term for any program or file that is harmful to a computer or its users. Certain websites may download malware files onto a computer in a way that looks innocent. It may purport itself as a functional update but really is there to loosen security within a system. Before downloading anything to a computer, it is vital to know the source of the files and that it can be trusted. Be very wary of places that offer free movies and tv shows, adult content, or get-rich-quick plans. These are all baits that can initiate the downloading of malicious software.
Virus scanners and firewalls are ways that can help prevent harmful actions from taking over your technology, but being informed of the dangers is also important in avoiding problems. If you are worried about your computer, or the computers for your business, contact Abstract Technology Group to learn about security solutions for your system. Enjoy all the benefits of the internet without falling prey to its mischievous contributors.