Online safety is a topic that has been in vogue ever since the internet came to the fore as our primary source of information and platform to avail or provide services ranging from anything such as selling items to facilitating monetary transactions at the click of a button. Given the fact that we are ever so reliant on the internet for our growing everyday needs adjunct with our growing lifestyle aspirations and evolving lifestyle choices, it is only imperative that a deliberation takes place about internet security. While companies and services do make claims in order to assure us about the security measures already present on their platforms, one has to admit that thieves and rogues always find a way to catch up to the measures conceived in order to stop them.
In recent times, it hasn’t taken all the thugs of the world to figure out ways to dupe people on the internet. Since time immemorial, scammers and thugs have come up with a slew of fraudulent schemes to rip people off their hard-earned money. From the conventional phishing scams involving links which slip an information-stealing virus into your system to gain access to your bank account details amongst other things, to coming up with elaborate scams posing as IT staff or even bank employees claiming to secure or repair something of yours, there are a host of scams criminals over the internet have come up with that are not just incredibly difficult to look out for or remain safe from, but are also difficult to trace back to the criminal in the aftermath.
There have been plenty of books on online safety written over the years, with the most prominent ones being “Want to go private?” by Sarah Darer Littman and “Internet Safety” by Lisa M. Herrington. There are even gambling websites which might seem legitimate to the cursory eye, but upon closer inspection, turn out to be running background phishing and information stealing scams.
Needless to say, once a piece of information from our end is on the internet, it is irretrievable and shall find itself out there to be accessed by anyone with basic hacking or probing skills at any given time. This means that we are never ever truly safe while we splurge all our time on the internet. It is not just banking information or monetary stuff that holds value to scammers and frauds on the internet.
Something even as little as a picture of you, or even your location, and in most cases, your phone number or some other piece of personal information you’ve entered somewhere on the internet thinking that nobody else will have access to it is extremely prized by these scammers, who shall sell this to companies and in worst case scenarios, even to criminal organisations who’d use your data at given time to either feign identity or even figure out a way to rob you.
With our lives finding itself more and more dependent and ever-present on the internet, it is of vital importance that we practice some sort of self-preservation as getting off the internet in itself is no option given how entrenched it is in our lives. There is a greater need for awareness as to what unfortunate things can take place with one over the internet, and about what information which we don’t find to be too important in real life means over the internet and the various ways it can be used to harm us.
That being said, let us go through how you can ensure that you remain safe over the internet and avoid having vital or even mundane information about you compromised.
While one could point out that they do not really visit any websites which would suggest that there’s any chance of having one’s information stolen, it is worth pointing out that even the most credible websites where you’re essentially viewing or accessing information has the sophisticated mechanism to gain access to your information every single time you visit their website. Most websites nowadays ask for permission to gain access to one’s cookies, and in most cases, it is a stance they are uncompromising with in the sense that they won’t let you gain full access to their services unless you accept their terms and conditions.
For all you know, websites could be selling your data to marketing companies, who could be selling them over to entities we would’ve not even heard of and might as well be criminal outfits. With this unfortunate reality being a part of internet usage in modern times, using a VPN means that your location amongst other things forming part of cookie-based data isn’t showcased to these websites when you use them, hence allowing you to retain your anonymity and keeping your identity from being sold around as a commodity.
A good way of securing passwords is to never save them, nor writing them down on a piece of paper or a notebook as these can easily be accessed by anyone who gets their hands on them.
To give you a leg up, we share the 5 best books on online safety and cyber security. All of these titles are available on Amazon:
Identity and Access Management: Business Performance Through Connected Intelligence By Ertem Osmanoglu
A classic among the best cybersecurity books, this should serve as a must-read for identity management strategies for 2020. According to Amazon, it breaks enterprise IAM into manageable components for more systematic implementation. It guides you step-by-step through identity management deployment through reusable templates and source code examples.
Cybersecurity for Beginners by Raef Meeuwisse
This book provides an easy insight into the essentials of cybersecurity, even if you have a non-technical background. You may be a business person keen to understand this important subject area or an information security specialist looking to update your knowledge. This is one of the best books on online security. ALSO featuring an alphabetical section at the back of the book to help you translate many of the main cybersecurity technical terms into plain, non-technical English.
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon
The world’s most infamous hacker offers an insider’s view of the low-tech threats to high-tech security
Kevin Mitnick’s exploits as a cyber-desperado and fugitive form one of the most exhaustive FBI manhunts in history and have spawned dozens of articles, books, films, and documentaries. Since his release from federal prison, in 1998, Mitnick has turned his life around and established himself as one of the most sought-after computer security experts worldwide. Now, in The Art of Deception, the world’s most notorious hacker gives new meaning to the old adage, “It takes a thief to catch a thief.”
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know by P.W. Singer, Allan Friedman
In Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know, noted experts Peter W. Singer and Allan Friedman lay out how the revolution in military cybernetics occurred and explain where it is headed. They begin with an explanation of what cyberspace is before moving on to discussions of how it can be exploited and why it is so hard to defend. Throughout, they discuss the latest developments in military and security technology. Singer and Friedman close with a discussion of how people and governments can protect themselves. In sum, Cybersecurity is the definitive account on the subject for the educated layman who wants to know more about the nature of war, conflict, and security in the twenty first century. This is one of the most needed books on online safety in recent times. This is one of the most powerful books on online safety.
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Ghost in the Wires is one of the best selling books on online safety. If they were a hall of fame or shame for computer hackers, a Kevin Mitnick plaque would be mounted the near the entrance. While other nerds were fumbling with password possibilities, this adept break-artist was penetrating the digital secrets of Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation, Nokia, Motorola, Pacific Bell, and other mammoth enterprises. His Ghost in the Wires memoir paints an action portrait of a plucky loner motivated by a passion for trickery, not material game. (P.S. Mitnick’s capers have already been the subject of two books and a movie. This first-person account is the most comprehensive to date.)