Cyber Safety

INTRODUCTION

Today’s age cannot be even thought of without the Internet, even in dreams. Although Internet has made many things easier at the same time it has posed many security risks too, if not used in a proper way. Thus, it is important to know about possible threats, challenges, and risks of working on the Internet to ensure personal safety and information security. This chapter deals with the same. It talks about possible risks and threats on the Internet and the safety measures to avoid them.

WHAT IS CYBER SAFETY?

Cyber Safety It involves gaining knowledge about possible threats to personal safety and security risks for the information along with measures to prevent and counter them.

CYBER SAFETY

Cyber Safety guides the safe and responsible use of the Internet to assure the safety and security of personal data and not posing danger to anyone else’s information.

SAFELY BROWSING THE WEB

These days working on the web has become inevitable and thus it is very important to know the threats it offers in many ways. Safe browsing on the web needs you to know many things like:

  • What are the possible dangers?
  • How do avoid these?
  • How do virtually conduct yourself while browsing the web?

Should you use a nickname when you log in to the Internet?

Yes. this is a good idea to use a nickname when we log on to the Internet. This will make it hard for identity thieves to see us.

When you shop you always check the safety of the Website before you enter personal and credit card details.

Yes. We should always check that the site we are shopping on is safe. One way is to check if the URL starts with https://. another way is to check the browser’s window to see if a closed padlock is seeable.

IDENTITY PROTECTION WHILE USING THE INTERNET

We surf the Internet for a variety of reasons, from using social media, purchasing and dealing with goods, to sending reports. When we give out private data to businesses and other Internet users (such as while filling up some forms or making payments online), we trust them to use that information for legitimate purposes. This isn’t always the case though and economic and personal data can be used for dangerous reasons like hacking, stalking, and identity scam. Identity fraud is when personal details that have been accessed or stolen are used to commit fraudulent acts posing as someone else with a stolen identity.

Identity theft can take place in multiple forms, such as:

Financial identity theft is when someone uses the stolen identity for financial gain. Criminal identity theft is when criminals use the stolen identity to avoid detection of their true identity. The person whose identity is stolen for this purpose is actually a victim but this identity theft poses him as a criminal. Medical identity theft is when someone tries to obtain some medical drugs or treatment using a stolen identity

IDENTITY THEFT

Identity stealing is a type of scam that involves using someone else’s identity to steal money or achieve other advantages. Online identity theft refers to an act of stealing someone’s personal information such as name, log-in details, etc., and then posing as that person online.

The most common solution to this is Private browsing or Anonymous Browsing on Internet. Before we talk about this, let us talk about what happens when you normally browse the Internet.

How Many Ways Websites Track you?

Whenever you visit a website, your web browser may disclose your location via your device’s IP address. It can also deliver your search and browsing history etc. which may be operated by third parties, like advertisers or lawbreakers. This way websites track you. Tracking is normally used by advertising networks to build up detailed profiles for pinpoint ad-targeting even tracking down users for special senses such as affecting their political preferences. Recall the data tracking reported in US elections, Brazil elections, Indian elections, and many more. The type of information is compiled through your web usage patterns, and which websites are generally used for tracking you.

This generally includes:

(a) IP Address

The IP address is a unique address of your device when you connect to the Internet. It’s possible that your computer shares your IP address with the other networked devices in your home or office. From your IP address, a website can determine your rough geographical spot.

(b) Cookies and Tracking Scripts

Cookies are little pieces of information websites can keep in your browser. They have plenty of legitimate uses – for example, when you sign in to your online banking website, a cookie remembers your login details. When you modify a setting on a website,

cookie stores that setting so it can continue across page loads and sessions e.g. if you change the zoom percentage of your webpage, then this setting will reflect on all opened webpages – because this was stored in a cookie. Cookies can also remember you and track your browsing movement across a website.

COOKIES

Cookies are small text files on your computer storing small pieces of information related to your online habits.

Cookies can be :

First party cookies.

These are the cookies that keep your own login id, passwords, auto-fill data, etc. for some websites that you continually visit.

Third-party cookies.

These are the cookies that websites store to learn about your search history and web browsing history so as to set advertisements as per your interests. Third-party cookies may result in multiple unwanted advertisements on your web pages.

HTTP Referrer

When you click a link, your browser loads the web page connected to it and suggests the website where you came from. For example, if you clicked a link to an external website on a webpage e.g., (see figure below) then the linked website will get opened, and internally information about you such as your IP address, area, your web browser, machine type, etc. will also be provided to the connected website – it is known as the HTTP referrer (e.g., see figure below).

Super Cookies

Super cookies are even cookies but these are persistent cookies, i.e., they come back even after you delete that. Supercookies (like every cookie) store cookie data in multiple places – for example, in Flash cookies, Silverlight storage, your browsing history, HTML5 local storage, etc. When a website detects that you’ve deleted part of the super cookie, the data is repopulated from the other location. For example, you might clear your browser cookies and not your Flash cookies, so the website will copy the importance of the Flash cookies to your browser cookies.

User Agent

Your browser also sends a user agent every time you join a website. This suggests websites your browser and operating system, providing another part of data that can be stored and used to target ads. All the above things leak your identity data to websites and it may be used against you. The solution to this is Private browsing and Anonymous browsing. Let us learn what is this type of browsing.

Private Browsing and Anonymous Browsing

Anonymous browsers allow users to view websites without disclosing any personal information of the user like their IP address, machine type, location, etc. An anonymous browser allows users to access websites anonymously. It can be used as a tool for governments, journalists, and everyday security-conscious surfers. There is another kind of browsing – Private browsing.

Private Browsing

There are different ways to use the Internet without exposing your search history and sharing your data These are :

  1. Incognito browsing: opens a version of the browser that will not track your activity. It’s particularly beneficial if you’re entering sensitive data like bank details into the browser, as it can minimize the risk of your data being saved to that computer. It can also be used for purposes like – looking at surprise gifts for the family without leaving clues, searching for hotel rooms for your vacation, filling out examination forms, etc. But this information is still visible to your school, university, or organization. You may also use private browsers and search engines like DuckDuckgo.
  2. Proxy: works by working as a middleman between your computer and the website you like to access. Now the tracking website will get the IP address and data that belongs to the proxy site, so you are effectively reaching the same content from another source without it getting to understand your browsing details.
  1. A Virtual Private: A network or a VPN is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. VPNs are most usually used by corporations to protect sensitive data. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) were originally suggested for business workers working offsite to achieve access to shared drives or networks. Nowadays, you can set up a VPN at home to protect yourself from hackers trying to access your sensitive data.
PRIVATE BROWSING

A type of browsing wherein the browser opens in incognito mode or through proxy or VPN, and does not store cookies about your online activity, is called Private browsing.

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