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The dangers of being online south africa

In a modern world of technology driven lives, cyber crime and intricate, 90’s-style movie plots unfolding with just as many luminous colours as expected, this is the fast-paced action of the ever growing world wide web. Known as the Internet of Things, amoungst other names, the online world has always seemed like a mystery to many. From the face value webpages all the way down to cyber crimes, hacking and the dark web, there is a lot we don’t fully understand about being online.

The newest trends within the online criminal world? Taking data and information hostage through the use of ransomware. What this software does, usually installed via a link or file download, is access your data and feed it back to the cyber criminals. With access gained to your devices and info, they can both hold your devices and data hostage until you fulfill their requests – as with most criminals, this usually involves money.

Before, the struggle was with intellectual property and rights, with concerns focused on theft of work or information put online in a public domain. Now with the intricacy of the internet and the surrounding technologies, much more basic elements of life have been put at risk without anyone really realizing what they are putting out there. Cloud storage is a big focus of this concern, especially in the wake of hundreds of celebrity photos that were leaked online – these private photos were compromising to reputations, held ransom by cyber criminals. With access gained, there is little that can be done to curb these actions. Now with everything stored in clouds, the ways to access this information isn’t limited to traditional means, but now rather has multiple possible access points.

Cyber security tips

  • Install a verified anti-virus on every machine
  • Secure your home and work networks
  • Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information
  • Educate users and employees about cyber security threats
  • Ensure strong passwords and regular adjustments on all machines
  • Backup important data and information off the network/cloud
  • Use strong, unique passwords (Upper case & lowercase letters, numbers and symbols)
  • Learn about how to spot fake emails/phishing attempts.
  • Only use or buy software from original, reputable suppliers – spyware can often be injected into ‘free software’ found online.

While this may seem like a whole lot straight out of a futuristic 90’s hacker movie, these are in fact very real ventures being undertaken every day. While this has the effect of making privacy a little harder to maintain, it is also pushing the cyber world to heighten security measures and upgrade their systems – showing the loopholes hackers and attackers might use. With cyber security now at the forefront of development, the online world is becoming more transparent to the average man.