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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Internet safety awareness dismally low

On Dec. 5, Nationwide Insurance issued a public notice on its website informing customers that a breach of security had occurred on Oct. 3, joining a whole host of companies that have been infiltrated by hackers. According to the report, the hackers got names, Social Security and driver’s license numbers, birth dates and more.

With the rise of online banking, shopping and other services, there is a greater chance than ever before of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Nevertheless, the public remains blissfully unaware of how easily their information can be taken. In order to combat the increasing rates of cybercrime, any crime committed over a computer or network, the public must become more aware of how vulnerable their information is on the Internet and take steps to prevent these thefts.

According to a statistical study published by Symantec Corporation in 2011, there are 1 million victims of cybercrime each day. That calculates out to 50,000 victims every hour, 820 per minute and 14 per second.

Even so, only 31 percent of individuals thought that they would be more likely to be a victim of online crime than physical crime.

Providing more information about cybercrime would make people more likely to take precautions when going on the web, such as installing antivirus programs or avoiding accessing sensitive information while using public Internet.

Educating Internet users about what not to do on the Internet is also essential.

A common misconception supported by many online sites that require user accounts is that as long as one has a complex password, information held within such accounts is safe.

In fact, hackers can easily use a password-cracking program to find even the most convoluted and complex passwords. They can even simply steal passwords using keyloggers, which log every keystroke made on a computer, that are inadvertently downloaded by an individual while browsing the Internet. Or, as in the case of the Nationwide invasion, hackers can break into the company’s computers and steal massive amounts of information at one time.

The lack of proper information about Internet safety needs to be corrected if the rate of cybercrime is to decrease. If not, online crime will continue to pervade the cyber world unopposed and weed out everyone’s secrets. Without changes, no one who has a phone or computer with Internet access will be safe.

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