The internet is generally a place where folks from around the world get together and agree that Cats are more adorable than dogs. And they do this through images, gifs, audio and a whole lot of videos. There might be the occasional dog lover who will put up a lengthy video of his dog fetching things, cuddling with babies and being sweet but generally, cats are the masters – at least according to the internet.
That being said, it is worth noting that while the rest of the world is following a YouTube fight-to-the-death (Cage Match) between a cat named Larry and a Dog named Harry or even a Facebook tussle (Fussle) between Pastor Kayanja’s followers and Pastor Kakande’s loyalists, there is always a group of people whose interests are elsewhere. There is always a group whose interest is making everyone else sad and gloomy.
These people’s interests are not just in making the lives of others miserable, but in making sure that the internet laughs at other people’s misery. They seem to derive pleasure in fights online (most of which are over worthless issues like the shade of a woman’s thighs or the size of a guy’s forehead). They will find pleasure in the strangest things and will not hesitate to insult anyone / anything as long as it will gather them a few LIKES or Retweets here and there; something folks online have labeled cyber bullying.
Picture a school where there are children of various skill sets and talents. One child is good at music, the other at swimming and another is an expert at biology. When these children interface, there arises the desire to impose oneself as the most talented. And perhaps each one is talented in their own field, but does it make them any less talented or skilled if they do not dominate others or ridicule others.
Anyway, this is what the internet has become of late – a school yard where everyone is struggling to exert dominance based on the assumption (right or wrong) that they are the best at what they do and everyone else sucks. And this is something that everyone who gets online grapples with on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, while there is the evil demon of internet bullying and ridiculing, there is the even worse demon of internet security.
Internet security is that part of computer security that deals with the internet and how to browse securely so as to stay away from attacks from individuals, organisations, Governments and other such parties from the pits of hell. In this day and age, someone might not need to track you down physically, bang at your door and break in so they can take your information. All one needs to do is sit on a Computer that is connected to the internet, press a few buttons here and there, and they can have all your information right there on their screen.
For this reason therefore, there is need to secure one’s presence online in as many ways as possible. The first point one must understand is that since there is a lot of information online regarding your innocent self, there are people looking to use this information for all kinds of reasons. Without necessarily diving into what this information can be used for, I will quickly highlight that the four major threats are malicious software, denial-of-service attacks, phishing, and application vulnerabilities.
The greatest threat for the everyday person include malware (which refers to malicious software that can be used to interrupt computer operations), computer viruses (which can infect files on the computer), botnets (which carry out large scale activities for their creators), Spyware (which basically keep an eye on everything you are doing), Ransomware (which takes control of the computer it attacks), Trojan horses (which appear harmless but end up creating some issues in the background) as well as scareware (which rips people off of their hard earned money through fake online schemes).
While all these might want to have a go at your computer, it might be advisable to have stops to these threats. The three layers that are often recommended include the use of an Antivirus, using Password managers and applying Security Suites.
More complex contingencies like Network Layer Security, Internet Protocol Security, Security tokens, Electronic Mail Security, Firewalls and appropriate browser choices are all notable steps one can take to protect their presence online.
Anyone who is getting online and has a worry about their security and identity online can always opt for a layered approach towards security. This means that you will need more than just one solution to the problem of internet security.
And if the Government wants to stop you from saying something online, there are always ways to ‘beat the system’ so that your message does not get suffocated. This however, must be used with extreme caution as it can expose you to riskier threats and might get you in trouble with your Government especially if you are notorious for giving your Government headache online.
In today’s world, there are people who spend sleepless nights coming up with ways of attacking you online. Of course they don’t really have balls to attack you in person seeing as most of them are wussies but they will gladly hack into your systems, steal your information and probably sell it to the highest bidder or use it to make your life hell. To protect yourself, you need to be on guard all the time and everywhere so that as these guys figure out ways to attack your system, you stay ahead of the game with newer and fresher methods of countering their attacks.
“The internet is just a world passing notes around a classroom.”― Jon Stewart
This Blog was curated from Bernard Olupot’s Blog a social justice blogger.