The internet has grown to a level of sophistication that would have been unimaginable when most people first started using the internet 20 years ago. We now rely on the web for many of our daily activities, ranging from personal communications, shopping, and entertainment, to performing our work duties and finding and storing important information. But despite its many benefits, the internet also has a dark side. Or perhaps, the technology exposes the dark side of human nature that has always existed.
Internet crime is certainly among the worst elements of the internet. Cyber-criminals, or “black hat” hackers as they are sometimes called, exploit the web’s security holes to steal money, information, and sometimes even identities.
Targeting both companies and individuals, hackers commonly use techniques such as malicious code, denial of service attacks, computer viruses, and phishing to commit their cyber-crimes. In the past couple years alone, hackers have stolen an estimated $1 billion from banks.
Trolling includes a broad range of behaviors, from playing online pranks, to leaving hateful anonymous comments on message boards. Sometimes trolls are simply trying to provoke or disrupt an online conversation, but often their intent is to hurt people with vicious words or horrifying images.
Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of the internet allows people to vent hostility online that they aren’t brave enough to express in their day-to-day lives. This is part of a phenomenon called the “online disinhibition effect.”
Trolls are mostly just looking for attention, so the best thing to do when you encounter a troll is to just ignore it.
Cyber-bullying, also called cyber-intimidation, is a growing problem, particularly among teenagers who use social media. These adolescents are often bullied in-person as well as online; unlike the schoolyard bullies of yesteryear who beat up on and name-called their victims at school, cyber-bullies are able to continue their attacks around the clock using the internet.
Cyber bullies might harass victims with cruel text messages, post embarrassing pictures of the victim online, or create a fake social media profile in order to trick the victim into revealing embarrassing information.
Research shows victims of cyberbullying are prone to depression and are more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts.
Visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website to learn what you can do to stop cyber-bullying.
Internet Addiction Disorder
The pitfalls of the internet are not always the result of a malicious person using technology to harm us. Sometimes, the problem is… ourselves!
Internet addiction disorder, sometimes called “tech addiction”, is when online habits interfere with your daily life. Some examples might include obsessively checking your Facebook every few minutes, or addiction to online games or pornography. The hallmark of the disorder is not being able to quit these online behaviors even though they are disrupting your life.
Brain imaging scans have shown that individuals with severe internet addiction have brain abnormalities similar to those of substance abusers.
While we can’t save you from all of the perils of the online world, we can help protect your website from malware with SiteLock and also keep your inbox clear of phishing and virus emails with our Anti Spam & Virus protection.
We hope this post hasn’t got you down. There is still some good in the world, after all! — next week, we’ll learn about the good side of the web!