Monday, November 17, 2014

Misuse of the Internet: Cyberbullying, theft and lack of privacy

“To say that I'd do worse things than rape is utterly appalling, it's disgusting.” Isabella Sorley, 24, showed how deeply sorry she was for all the harm she had done, on an interview for the BBC in the UK.

Isabella is one of the many other faces hidden behind an Internet troll. With this interview the BBC was trying to clarify what goes through an apparently normal person’s mind to become a monster on social networks. Trolling is one of the most harmful and difficult to control peculiarities of the Internet.

In this case, victim and offender did not even know each other. Caroline Criado-Perez, 18, ended up on Isabella’s spotlight for her feminist activism. But this problem is even more serious between schoolmates. Then the Internet, which is a media that seems neutral and "out of prying eyes", becomes an unusual battlefield where some students vent all their anger against others.

The network provides benefits for both victim and offender. When confrontation comes, problems arise. Should social networks be managed and ruled according depending on the type of user? What law should it be applied? Nonetheless is assaults and theft of personal data are as usual as cyberbullying. The last example of it affected the International bank Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). 2.7 million credit cards were exposed in an attack. Fortunately, the leaked information is insufficient to make any kind of evil, not even to duplicate them.

It is not surprising then that a new study on Internet users' concerns about privacy and information security by Pew Research brings the following percentages: Just 2% of respondents feel very safe sharing private information on social networks and up to 80% of them said they were concerned about possible surveillance on their data.

Everything that happens on the Internet can be recorded, which is equally attractive to cybercriminals and ordinary users. Some people may say that voyeurism is attractive. For this reason, there are still phishing campaigns offering apps to spy on other’s conversations via WhatsApp. This was possible until 2012, but since then, it is not anymore because all communications were encrypted by default. Currently you only would have two ways to do so: either by installing a Trojan on the victim’s device or by obtaining past conversations database (but you will need to regain access to the device).

After all, encryption provides communications security. In fact, there are several encryption methods since long ago. At Think Big they make an interesting review of the history of this information obfuscation methodology that surely you will enjoy.


Post a Comment