In a world where personal data is becoming more and more like a currency and where account information can leak, security on the internet is something you should take very seriously.
But there are a lot of rumours and misconceptions about cyber security and it is difficult to know what is true and what is false.
That is why we have gone through eight of the most common claims about cybersecurity to find out what is true and what is a myth.
1 Someone can spy on me through my webcam
Sadly, it is possible for a cyber criminal to spy on you via your webcam by installing a remote access tool. It is also possible to turn on the webcam without activating the green indicator light, which means that you have no idea when someone is spying on you.
Many claim that the government keeps track of people through their webcams, a claim that may have some degree of truth in it. In some countries, the state or government may have the opportunity to spy on you via the webcam, but then a search warrant is needed. It is more common for cyber criminals to engage in this type of espionage.
But considering how many computer users there are, around the world, the risk is very small that you are exposed to such an intrusion. A tip is to download an antivirus system and run a scan at the highest setting. Most common antivirus systems are usually able to detect this type of intrusion.
For those of you who do not trust the technology, there are smart little shutters you can paste over your camera, which you can open and close, to know with 100% certainty that no one sees you through the camera.
2 I’m never on the “weird” pages, so I am completely safe
There is a perception that you can only be hacked if you are on odd websites, such as pornography websites, but this is not true at all. Cybercriminals do not need your browser to attack you. A lot of so-called malware is sent today via email and is activated when you click on a link. Therefore, you should always be extra careful when receiving emails from unknown senders.
3 Dark Web is only for criminals
Dark Web has a very bad reputation and the concept is flourishing more often in connection with the sale of illegal products or services. But it’s not just shady people who uses the Dark Web.
Dark Web is a network of websites where you need some kind of system that ensures that you are completely anonymous. And this can be any type of website. Even Facebook has a Dark Web page, an .onion page that you can only access if you use Tor Browser. And as I said, you do not have to be a hitman to benefit from this kind of anonymity. Journalists, activists and politicians are some groups that use Dark Web for various security reasons.
4 Google reads all my emails
TRUE (to some extent)
Yes, you can say that Google readsthe emails you get to your G-mail. If you have a G-mail account, Google stores and manages these in its servers. Included in this management are various scripts that load and read through the content of your emails.
First of all, it’s not a physical person sitting around the clock reading people’s emails. All this is done via different scripts. But Google looks at the content of your emails and can use this for third-party providers so that they can, for example, market relevant products to you. However, this does not mean that third party providers receive your personal information. What happens is that you are lumped together with other people in your age range who happen to have the same interest as you, so that Company XYZ can market its, hopefully, relevant product. This is something you agree to when you accept Google’s terms and conditions.
5 All hackers are evil
The word Hacker has been used a bit incorrectly for a long time. There is a difference between cyber-criminals and hackers. There are so-called white-hat hackers who work to find vulnerabilities and security risks in systems, only to help make the systems more secure.
6 All I need is a strong password
FALSE (to some extent)
Yes, in order to secure your accounts against intrusion, it is important to have a strong password. But it is equally important to have different passwords on all your logins. This is because if a platform is hacked, and your login information is leaked, it is not uncommon for hackers to share it with other actors. You should also think a little about what security questions you use. Things like what your first dog was called, or what street you grew up on can be information that can be found on your social media. Try to choose questions that very few know the answer to.
7 Open networks are safer today than they used to be
When you are on a website, you can often see that the URL starts with https:. Here, the S stands for security and simply put, it means that the information sent between you and the URL is encrypted. This means that an outsider cannot see what photos you download or what password you fill in, etc.
In the past, when you only had http pages, ie without the encryption, it was very easy for someone outside, with a malicious intent, to access your information, if you were sitting at an internet cafe or a free wifi connection somewhere. It was common for cybercriminals to sit in sites with open networks and collect passwords and user logins.
But even though many sites today are much more secure than before, it is good to use a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and can help you keep your information secure. For example, if you log in to a free WiFi at an airport, and use a VPN, the airport can only see that a VPN has logged in. They can not see which pages you are visiting or what you are doing.
8 My antivirus program keeps me completely safe
Even if it’s good with an antivirus program, it does not mean that you are 100% protected from someone intruding on your personal information. Cybercriminals often use social engineering, whose tactics are to trick users into, for example, clicking on a link and entering a password or bank code. So even if you have invested in an antivirus program, you should be careful about what you click on and what information you enter on the internet.
These were some of the common claims that flourish on the internet regarding cybersecurity.
Many people believe that “security on the internet” is about being a hermit and not letting anyone take part in anything that has to do with oneself. This is often far from the truth and it is important to keep cybercrime apart from companies wanting to use your personal data for marketing purposes, for example. But by being aware of what traces you leave behind on the internet, and what data you want to keep secret, you can more easily make wise decisions.