The Risk of Using the Internet

Following this, the safety of one’s self is also given great importance. With the internet, there are no such physiological needs that need to be fulfilled and it follows that the next concern would be security (Lester &amp. Resnick, 2003). Often, people question the safety of the internet in various aspects. Is the internet truly safe
Before tackling this issue, it is necessary to have a background on the internet. The internet is not simply about browsing through sites in the World Wide Web. It is a global network of computers and electronic devices which provides an avenue for these devices to exchange information. In fact, any such device connected to the outside world through a network may be considered part of the internet. There is no doubt that most companies and even individuals use the internet in one way or another. Unfortunately, the widespread use of the internet also makes it suitable as an accessory for crime. Computers and the internet may make one’s life more convenient but they may also put one’s privacy in danger.
Most people are unaware that their computers may be under attack from simply surfing the internet. Computer users are inclined to think that they are anonymous and their identities are completely secure. However, this is not always the case. As a matter of fact, each computer is actually assigned with a unique address referred to as an internet protocol (IP) address. It is similar to a home address in the sense that it may be used to locate a computer within the internet. In fact, a computer may be likened to a house which typically has a front and back door. While the occupants of the house almost always ensure the security of the front door, the other door may be neglected. Similarly, a hacker only needs to locate an open backdoor to break into a system. Computer users will not even notice that a hacker has established a connection to their system. A well-equipped hacker can do anything without the need to be in close proximity to his target (Branigan, 2005). Moreover, hackers can collect information from a computer within a short span of time. Personal information including passwords to secure accounts may be acquired, effectively compromising the privacy of the user.
Even with the presence of a firewall to protect the system, there are several more ways to infiltrate a computer. These include the use of viruses and the exploitation of bugs present in some web browsers. Any downloaded content involves the risk of getting one’s computer infected (Branigan, 2005). Programs which are acquired through the internet may be viruses or may contain viruses which then attack a computer. At the very least, these viruses may simply be annoying. However, in more complex attacks, these viruses can be used to collect private information from a computer which can then be used in malicious ways. Anti-virus software provides both preventive and active protection against such risks. However, as Branigan stated, the virus scanning software is only as effective as its virus definitions. It is therefore important to update the said software frequently. Unfortunately, despite attempts at improving the performance of such software, virus makers are able to produce more resilient code.
One of the most popular crimes over the internet is online fraud. Electronic mail is a fast way to communicate with other people and is quickly