Skip to main content
Engineering LibreTexts

12.8.3: Internet Security

  • Page ID
    69390

    The internet provides many opportunities for the user to learn, collaborate with others, participate in eCommerce, and improve the quality of their work. However, with all these benefits, there are risks associated with Internet use as well. It is important that users understand those risks and take measures to practice safe internet use and maintain their PC to prevent against Internet threats.

    Internet Cookies

    fig-ch01_patchfile_01.jpg Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

    When you browse the Internet, you can access and gather information from websites, but websites can also gather information about you without your knowledge. You can set Internet privacy options to protect your personal identity from unauthorized access. When you visit a website, the site creates a cookie file, known as a first-party cookie, which stores information on your computers, such as your website preferences or personally identifiable information, including your name and email address. The next time you visit that site, it can access the cookie to collect this information. Not all cookies are harmful, many first-party cookies save you time re-entering information on a return visit to a website. However, there are also third-party cookies, which are created by advertisers and can track your web browsing, even from sites you are not currently viewing. Once a cookie is saved on your computer, only the website that created it can read it. You can change how cookies are handled in your web browser and block pop up messages in the website settings menu. It is good practice to delete your cookies and internet history on a weekly basis and review your internet security settings in your web browser regularly. Many web browsers support custom security modes that delete all internet cookies and history upon exiting a browser (also called incognito mode) and other functions to eliminate exposures on websites. Many web browsers also display a lock clipboard_e20b081f52ed27f9bf68090dff1965db4.png on the address bar indicating the website is secure.

    Practicing Internet Security

    In addition, it is important for the user to be careful about disclosing personal information (Name, Birthdate, Social Security Number, banking information, location, etc.) online unless they are sure of the authenticity of the website. A sophisticated cyber scam, known as “phishing” attempts to convince the internet user of the authenticity of a fake website to attempt to trick the user into disclosing personal financial information online. A good security technique is to view the website address in the browser address bar and search the web for information about the website to ensure it is reputable. When in doubt, you can usually call the company to ensure it is a real operation.

    Cyberbullying

    Cyberbullying can be defined as writing mean or inappropriate things online. Examples of cyberbullying include sending unwelcome emails or text messages, making threats, sexual harassment, hate speech, posting lies, rumors, or encouraging others to share this misinformation that may harm another. Instances of cyberbullying have increased significantly as more users spend more time online. Cyberbullying should be handled in a similar way to traditional bullying-if you are being bullied, ask for help! No one deserves to be bullied. Cyberbullying is easy to prosecute as it is very difficult to delete the evidence.