Security, The Online World and Dangerous Threats: What To Do

While we have many positives of modern society online, there is a lot of negative activity that is going on in the background. People are having their information stolen while others are being harassed/stalked. There are many that also receive phishing attacks and while those are usually disguised. They are able to get many users to interact with them causing people to become victims of identity theft. Here is the latest on internet threats and what to do about them.

November 13, 2020Authors: Emily Glazier and Henry Kenyon

How Can You Handle Yourself Safely Online?

There is a great deal of information that shouldn’t be in your social media biography. For example, you can put your name, quote, pronouns, and a profile picture, whereas you shouldn’t put your age, school, work, town or address, or contact information.

Your follower/following list is also very important, as you shouldn’t have anyone following you that you don’t know. Additionally, you shouldn’t follow anyone that you do not know as that puts you at risk of becoming a target of stalking, impersonation, or online harassment. In order to monitor this, making your page "private" so that you have to approve people who want to follow you -- if you don't know who they are or they don't have any mutual followers, they should not be following you!

If you feel that you’re in an unsafe situation online and feel the need to report someone, you should follow the instructions that the social media platforms have to report the user(s) involved. If you feel that you want your posts/content private. There are primarily two types of accounts: private (you can limit who can see your account), and then public (anyone can see/react to your content). Most people prefer to have a private account as it protects their privacy and ensures that only a certain selected list of people can access the content that is on the account.

What is Cybersecurity?

There is a great deal of internet crime that could be prevented if people were to use cybersecurity and be more vigilant. Cybersecurity is the protection of our internet systems, software, and data against threats. For you, cybersecurity is the means of protecting yourself online from malicious attacks/other forms of attacks that could negatively affect you.

What is a Phishing Attack?

A phishing attack is the means of someone sending you/an organization a direct message or email that contains a message that pertains to you, such as, “You have a package ready for pick-up, click this link to schedule a pick-up time.” They are very common and the person behind them is usually trying to get some form of personal information. They can then use that information to get gains (money, leverage, or to then manipulate you to get even more information).

Package Phishing

What is Cyberstalking?

The act of cyberstalking is when someone harasses, threatens, or makes you feel uncomfortable. Cyberstalking is repetitive, so when you ask the person to stop, they refuse and continue their behavior. Cyberstalking can come in many forms, such as:

  • Threats, through threatening harm against you

  • Harassing or disturbing messages

  • Exploitation of you, such as threatening to release sensitive images or information if you don’t comply/communicate with them

  • Leaking your sensitive information

  • Trying to contact you in real life

Cyberstalking is increasingly common with many people in modern day society online, and can lead to depression and other mental health concerns. Every year, millions of people are cyberstalked, and as technology advances, it is increasingly difficult to totally prevent it. However, if you are a victim of cyberstalking, you can report the stalker to social media platforms, trusted adults, school officials, and law enforcement officers to help protect you.

What is a Social Media Handle?

Social media handles are what follows an “@” symbol on social media. For example, the CyberTech Awareness Project’s social media handle on the platform, Twitter, is @CyberTechVT . This is how others can view your account information. You can also make personal/business posts on this account. It is a place for you to represent who you are and what you’re thinking. It is common for most people ages 12 and up to have social media accounts. It is important to remember that, while having an account is fun, it is extremely important to stay vigilant about what you make your social media handle, as it is public, so anyone can see it.

CyberTech Social Media Handle

What is a Screen-Name?

A screen name is what you use to present yourself on social media and gaming platforms. By using a screen name,you’re able to protect some of your personal information. Instead of using your first and last name online, in places such as forums, gaming sites, and other social media sites: you can pick something that does not directly correlate with your actual name and information.

CyberTech Screen-Name

Use Your Knowledge- How to Protect Yourself Online

Using your knowledge to protect yourself online can ensure you have a safer online experience. Online, make sure to use a screen name that does not contain your actual name or information. Know who to go to when incidents of cyberstalking or other cybercrime occur, and be vigilant about who you allow access to your information.

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