Understanding the Dark Web - How does this hidden part of the Internet work, and what are the risks?

Important online safety tips that everyone who uses the Internet should know

The miracle of the internet

The Internet, the global network that connects us to each other and to many online resources, is probably one of humanity’s most amazing inventions. It has become one of the most powerful tools for everyone.

Nowadays, most people are almost always connected to the internet through their smartphones. The Internet offers enormous opportunities to do good and evil. It is only a neutral tool. How you use it is in your hands.

The opportunity to learn is one of the best things the internet has to offer. You can learn almost anything from the Internet. I know a lot of Bhutanese who have successfully learned to create websites, edit videos, make graphics, bake cakes and cook various dishes from Youtube.

If you are a business owner or an individual with skills, the Internet offers you the opportunity to upgrade your business or provide services to others using your skills. A writer could start a blog or start writing content for others for a fee. An artist could set up a website showcasing his art and find buyers from far and wide, and now he can even turn them into NFT (non-functional tokens). The plumber could advertise his services to more people using a Facebook page. Business owners can use digital marketing to attract more customers. The possibilities are endless.

But with opportunities come risks when you’re online. Whatever you do online will be exposed to others if you are not careful about your personal information and what you post online.

Privacy defines who has access to data, especially your personal data, while data protection deals with tools and policies that restrict access to data to unauthorized individuals or groups. For example, in regulations such as the GDPR in Europe, the individual has a full right to his or her personal data and others should only have access to it with his or her own consent. This is privacy. On the other hand, agencies that collect our personal information, such as banks, telecommunications companies, or government departments, have a responsibility to ensure that the personal information they collect is securely protected and not compromised. This is data protection. Privacy and data protection are very important as our online and offline lives become more intertwined.

Why privacy and data protection matter

Privacy and data protection are important because they may involve sensitive personal information that you would not want others to know about. Would you like your personal data, such as your health and medical data, employment status, personal wealth, etc., to be disclosed? Let’s say you applied for a position and failed to shortlist. Are you okay if this agency publishes this information with your identifiable information online?

According to experts, aata privacy and privacy usually applies to personal health information (PHI) and personal data (PII). You can read more about these subjects by searching online using these keywords.

Key online safety tips

Don’t fall victim to phishing attacks

The practice of sending fraudulent messages that appear to come from a trusted source with the intent to trick recipients is called “phishing”. Many Bhutanese have fallen victim to phishing. One common phishing attack comes from hacked E-mail, Facebook or WhatsApp accounts, in which a hacker asks close friends and relatives to share OTP or send them money, for very compelling reasons.

To avoid falling victim to such frauds, always confirm that you will call your friend or relative directly if you receive an OTP sharing request or an urgent money transfer. People who work in the accounting department should always carefully check emails regarding cross-border funds transfers in case phishing attempts lead to redirects to the wrong accounts. Such attacks have taken place in the past. Beware, phishing attacks can come disguised as an email or message from your bank, ISP or email service provider.

Be careful who you meet online

The people you meet online are not always who they say they are. In the past, there have been cases where Bhutanese have been asked by their online friends to act as intermediaries in receiving and forwarding packages of dubious content to their final destination for a small financial reward. If they contain ‘drugs’, it could get you into a long prison. So don’t become an accomplice to online friends for such acts.

Take care of your online presence

Nowadays, one of the first things employers do is look at your accounts on Facebook, Instagram or other social networks to try to understand what type of person you are. There have been many cases around the world where potential candidates have lost their chances of getting a job due to what they have posted online in the past. So while it’s important to be authentic and not make a false impression, it’s equally important that a picture of your one-time drinking with friends doesn’t ruin your future career opportunities.

The expert advises: “Any comment or image you post online can stay online forever, because deleting the original (say from Twitter) will not delete any copies made by other people. There’s no way to “take back” a note you’d like not to make or get rid of that awkward selfie you took at the party. Don’t put anything on the Internet that you don’t want your mom or potential employer to see. “

Use secure browsing procedures

Web browsers and social media applications have settings to protect your online privacy. Enable these privacy protections at all times. Traders and hackers like to know everything about you.

Second, do not visit dangerous sites online. Because people are easily attracted to porn, cybercriminals use them as bait. So be especially careful if you visit a lot of porn sites. Next, stop clicking on any pop-up ads that appear. And don’t download useless software that looks suspicious or comes from a site you don’t trust. “The main goal of cybercriminals is to get you to download malware – programs or applications that transmit malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an application: anything from a popular game to something that controls traffic or weather, ”says the expert.

Choose strong passwords and protect them with great care

Most cyber security breaches or hackings are the result of password leaks. Therefore, choose them carefully and change them often. Do not use the same passwords for different email or social network accounts. Nowadays, we have to remember so many passwords that it is practically impossible to remember them all. So use a password manager like lastpass.com.

Make sure your passwords aren’t stored in shared computer web browsers. If you allow your friends to use your computer and you have passwords stored in your web browser settings, they can see it.

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