Uncovering The Dark Side Of The Internet: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself
In Future Crimes, author Marc Goodman takes us on a journey to discover the dangerous world of cybercrime and how it can affect our personal security and integrity.
He begins by pointing out that we often take technology for granted, especially when it comes to relying on the internet or cloud-based services in our daily lives.
However, what we don’t realize is that this power can be misused, creating opportunities for criminals to exploit and threaten our safety.
Goodman goes on to explain how both hackers and established companies like Google and Facebook can be used for nefarious activities if users don’t properly understand the risks involved.
From data mining practices to potential privacy issues with popular services like Angry Birds, he outlines the various ways criminals can use technology to exploit us.
We also learn about other ways of protecting ourselves, such as better understanding user agreements or avoiding keeping sensitive information in the cloud.
Future Crimes provides an insightful look into the world of modern crime enabled by technology and teaches readers important lessons about protecting themselves from these very real threats.
Modern Technology: The Double-Edged Sword Of Convenience And Vulnerability
Thanks to the merging of the “online” and “offline” worlds, we now rely heavily on technology in our everyday lives.
We check our phones as soon as we wake up, carry them with us throughout the day, use them to manage a variety of tasks online like banking, shopping, and browsing social media, and even develop emotional attachments to them.
The downside? We may be inadvertently putting ourselves at an increased risk of security hacks due to negligence or simply not being aware.
The data speaks for itself – 75 percent of hackers succeed in infiltrating devices they attack within minutes – so it’s vitally important that we take measures to ensure the safety and security of our personal information.
One way to do this is by implementing multifactor authentication methods such as password plus one-time code sent via SMS.
But is that enough?
The answer is yes…and no.
While multifactor authentication provides extra layers of security between you and potential hackers, it’s still smart practice to update your passwords frequently (at least once a month), adhere to complex criteria when creating them (i.e., 20+ digits that incorporate numbers, symbols and spaces) – but most importantly avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts!
Given these considerations along with the current state of technology today, we can say at least somewhat confidently that logging out is not only safe but also highly recommended if you want to protect your information from malicious cyber thieves.
Are Your Smartphone Apps Stalking You? The Dangers Of Unchecked Location Data
Smartphones, smart cars, and smart watches have taken over our lives.
But when it comes to our personal data, how much do we really know? In his book Future Crimes, Marc Goodman asks the question: are we in control of our personal information or not? The answer may shock you.
We’re living in a time where Google has the technology to access calls made on your Android device and use your conversation and sounds around you to create targeted ads.
Our phones can relfect our habits, relationships and even the places we visit.
Apps like Girls Around Me, which launch with approval from Google Play and Apple App Stores, enable users to view a map with Facebook profiles and updates from women in their area.
All without permission from anyone involved!
We often don’t realize this data is being collected until it’s sold by companies who turn it into a marketing tool.
But what if this had a more sinister side as well? As Marc Goodman explains in Future Crimes, sadly it does.
Smartphones and other devices become tools for criminals to invade our privacy and commit cybercrimes against us – stealing identities, hacking bank accounts and so much more.
It’s no longer about theft or vandalism; now many crimes are done with electronic means.
So yes, as alluring as “smart” technologies seem to be it is smart of us to be aware that these advancements come with risks that should not just be ignored but taken seriously.
What can an individual do? Know the data laws of your country, understand what apps collect data on you–and most importantly–be mindful of where your information goes!
We Need To Be Mindful Of What We Share With Google – Our Privacy Depends On It
In the online world, “free” often carries a very high price.
We’ve been conditioned to think that because services like Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are offered for free, we’re getting something for nothing.
But what most people don’t understand is that they aren’t really the customer in this equation.
They’re the product!
Every interaction they have on a website or an app is stored in a database and used by companies to drive their income and profits.
This loss of privacy means that anything you share online can potentially be accessed by anyone or used against you at any time – especially if it’s posted on public profile such as Instagram or Twitter.
Take British 26-year-old Van Bryan who was denied entry into the US after tweeting “let’s go destroy America.”
Every time we agree to contracts and terms we unknowingly give up control over our personal data and information – including photos you upload onto social media sites automatically gets given away with rights transferred to the company hosting it.
Even something as simple as using an online word processor could lead to giving up rights to your own work without realising it!
So when you think about using those “free” services, remember there may very well be a cost involved – just perhaps not one that’s obvious at first glance.
The Growing Need To Protect Our Data In The Digital Age
As the Internet continues to develop and expand, so do the opportunities for hackers, terrorists and governments to commit criminal acts on a much larger scale.
This has become increasingly evident in recent years with high profile violations of personal data privacy and security by government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, as well as by cybercriminals from around the world.
For example, when Google publicly announced that hackers in China’s People’s Liberation Army had breached their password management system in 2010, millions of its customers’ accounts and web searches were at risk.
Similarly, Target reported a 2013 attack where a Russian hacker stole personal information from 110 million accounts.
With such an increase in massive breaches of personal data privacy occurring worldwide, it is evident that these organizations have failed to protect themselves against sophisticated cyberattacks.
To combat this increase in criminal activities throughout the world’s growing digital landscape, individuals must take responsibility for keeping their own systems protected with encryption programs like BitLocker or FileVault and by regularly updating their operating system security.
Additionally, public policy makers need to reform laws that address jurisdictional aspects of criminalizing hackers operating from varying countries and regions.
Despite these attempts to maintain security online however, it is clear that hackers can often stay one step ahead when it comes to exploiting new vulnerabilities with each advance made in information technology.
Be Careful What You Post On Social Media – Criminals Are Watching
By posting information and pictures online, we inadvertently paint a huge target on ourselves.
When you post about what you’re buying, upcoming vacations, and other fun activities, it can be exploited by criminals.
According to a study by the Rand Corporation, 80 percent of hackers are actually employed by an organization or government, so they use sophisticated techniques for their illegal activities.
A website called PleaseRobMe.com specifically targets individuals who post too much of their private lives on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
The site allows criminals to scan those sites for empty homes easily with less risk of getting caught.
In fact, a 2011 UK study found that 78 percent of convicted burglars had admitted to monitoring these social networking sites before selecting which house to rob.
Furthermore, criminals can also examine the hidden data contained in your photos such as GPS coordinates to locate where you live.
It’s essential that we take caution when sharing personal information online – including photos – to protect ourselves from potential hackers.
It’s tempting to deactivate all our online accounts but that may not be the best solution either as someone can pretend to be us and post false or damaging information about us, which is far worse than if we are in control of our own online profiles and data.
To avoid becoming victims of cybercrime and identity theft it is important that we keep track of our online information and regulate what we share on social media platforms
The Post-It Fix: Protect Your Privacy From The Growing Number Of Connected Devices
The internet is already a pretty amazing place and it’s only going to get more incredible in the future.
Just think about what Cisco has projected: by 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet – exponentially more than just three years prior!
This means that these gadgets can do all kinds of really cool things for us, like being able to adjust our alarm clocks based on traffic congestion or sending notifications to our phones when our children brush their teeth.
We even have RFID tags in our wallets, office IDs and E-ZPass now which can track us almost anywhere.
But while this technology certainly makes life easier, it comes with some potential risks as well.
With so many gadgets connected to the internet, our privacy almost becomes non-existent – we have no control over who may be able to access our data.
Some homes are particularly prone to cyber attacks since they are filled with hackable devices (like baby monitors).
Even worse, some cameras on laptops and phones might be streaming live right out of your own home!
Luckily, the threat of cyber attacks can easily be minimized by simply taking precautionary steps like covering up the camera lens when not using it.
This goes to show that while technological advancements come with great convenience, we must also make sure that our safety comes first.
The Dangers Of Connecting Infrastructure To The Internet: How Unstable Systems Put Lives At Risk
Having critical infrastructure connected to the internet exposes us to a whole new range of risks.
If hackers are able to gain access to our railways, gas pipelines, 911-dispatch systems, air traffic controls, stock markets, drinking water, street lights and more, then that can cause catastrophic consequences.
To make matters worse, there is no backup plan should an attack occur.
An attack on a city’s electricity grid could leave it in chaos – with no lights, elevators or ATMs.
South Houston recently experienced this when the Water and Sewer department was hacked.
There would have been serious repercussions if the wrong chemicals had been mixed and added to the water stream – potentially poisoning or even killing thousands of people.
Prison systems are also vulnerable; an alleged computer glitch in California led prison officials to release 450 criminals on unsupervised parole while errors at criminal records bureaus led 20 thousand people being labeled as criminals by mistake.
In short, connecting our critical infrastructure to the internet makes us vulnerable and completely leaves us without a plan B in times of emergency.
We should certainly consider whether we’re willing to take such a risk.
How To Use Technology Without Putting Our Data At Risk
Technology has the potential to be both a blessing and a curse.
With advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, genetics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and 3D printers, it’s undeniable that our lives will be forever changed.
But the effects of these advancements mostly depend on who is controlling them.
At the end of the day, only we can decide how much of this technology we want in our lives.
For example, having a driverless car may sound exciting but would you really be comfortable entrusting your family’s safety to a machine which could easily be hacked?
We must remember that we should never allow technology to have more control over our decisions than we do.
There are ways to make yourself less vulnerable when it comes to cyber security threats such as keeping pictures encrypted if you send them to someone and encrypting all of your data.
You should also turn off your computer or Bluetooth Wi-Fi or hot spots when they aren’t in use and use your own device when dealing with credit cards or banking information.
The take-home message from Future Crimes is clear: We must remain informed and vigilant in our use of modern technology.
Our lives are at greater risk than ever due to the growing amount of data available on the web, and we need to take steps to protect ourselves against potential criminal activity.
This means doing some research when it comes to downloading new apps, especially where privacy and location are concerned.
We should also stay abreast of the news surrounding cyber security risks, continually updating our wise web use practices accordingly.
Only then can we safeguard ourselves from future crimes.