Cyber Wellness - Risk, Threats and Vulnerability

Good news all, I have gotten full mark for last Wednesday Cyber Wellness exam! Luckily I finish reading the whole notes I have and schedule it in my blog within 3 hour if not I don't think I can even get that kind of score. Phew~

Chapter 2
Identify the Risk, Threats and Vulnerability of using the Internet

Nowadays other than games, youth are attracted to many online activities such as blogging and instant messaging, I can admit that I am one of them. I check my Whatsapp, Instagram, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other shopping website as often as I can. In this post you can also learn about different type of computer virus.

Popular online activities amongst the youth

  • E-mail - I agree that E-mail is great for helping people keep in touch, but it does have some drawbacks, such as spam (junk mail), and Phishing (Read previous chapter for Phishing).
  • Blog - Not everyone is a blogger but I myself is so how can I not love blogging? Even if you do not blog I believe some of you do read people blog like how you are reading mine right now. A blog is a place where a person can post diary-like entries electronically. Blogger like me need to understand that the information we post online(here) can be read by anyone, everyone, friends, family or stranger I believer we need some privacy too and we should never post information such as our real address or phone number online which could put us into danger. Study shows that teen bloggers often willingly reveal their actual names, age and offline locations, putting them at risk for cyber stalking and cyber bullying. I once used Foursquare, I will check-in to every location I been to but not as crazy as checking-in when I am moving about my house. Now it is the 2nd time I have stopped using Foursquare for awhile, the 1st time I stop using it is I have been physically stalk which is cause by cyber stalking I guess. I hope this teaches people not to post information that is too personal to you anywhere online. Blogs are an excellent way of sharing and discussing information on any subject under the sun. The point is about using it carefully. 
  • Instant Messaging - Unlike e-mail messages, instant messaging, or IM, allows people to talk to in “real” time. As a user, you can post a message, and then instantly see any replies from other instant messaging users. You can also create a list of contacts and block messages from people you don’t want to talk with. Like e-mail, users can send attachments with their messages. You can also use microphones and/or webcams as you send messages. MSN was once popular within youth during year 2000, maybe for now skype is even popular? I am not sure about that because the most often instant messaging application I am using is Whatsapp. Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch over long distances and chat with friends without the phone, but there are some risks involved which need to be taken care of.
  • Chat room, social networking website - Chatrooms are places on the Internet where people gather to chat. Some are open to the public, and others are private and restricted to those with authorized access. People can chat “one on one” or with a group of people. Like e-mail, chatrooms can help bring people together, but their content is not always appropriate for children. It is important to understand that you meet all varieties of people in chatrooms. I have not tried this before but still, I've got to say becareful.

Risks of using Internet applications

Let’s take a look at some of the risks which you are vulnerable to while in cyberspace
  • Phishing (Read previous chapter for Phishing)
  • Identity Theft - Identity theft occurs when someone uses or exploits the personal identifying information of another person such as: name, social security number, ID number, etc to commit fraud or engage in other unlawful activities. Moreover, the scale of online identity theft can exceed that of real-world crime. Numerous variations of this crime exist for example:
    • Opening new credit card accounts;
    • Taking over existing credit card accounts
    • Applying for loans
    • Renting apartments
    • Contracting with utility companies
    • Issuing fraudulent checks using another person’s name and account number
    • Stealing and transferring money from existing bank account etc
  • Spyware - A computer software that is installed unknowingly on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's interaction with the computer, without the user's informed consent. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as Internet surfing habit, sites that have visited, and can also interfere with user control of the computer. Spyware can even change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and loss of Internet or other programs.
  • Virus, Worm, Macro Virus & Trojan horse
    • Virus - A type of tiny little program that gets loaded onto your computer without your knowing it and then starts running amok. It replicate itself and pass itself along to infect other computers by burying itself inside something larger, such as word document or the programming code of a piece of software, which then takes a ride to another computer on a disk or as an e-mail attachment or by some other method of file transfer causing your computer to crash. Virus can burn your motherboard, some virus can delete your root program, erase your data, etc.
    • Worm - Worms are similar to viruses in that they can copy themselves and do bad things to the computers they invade. Worms are also notorious loners, though, so they generally don’t attach themselves to the programming code of files or dig deeply in the out-of-the-way corners of disks or hard drives, as viruses do. Instead, worms send copies of themselves over the Internet directly, or, as in the case of the ILOVEYOU worm, they can hitch a ride in an e-mail message.
    • Macro Virus - A category of virus that’s quite unique: Rather than be its own little program or application, it makes its appearance in the form of a macro embedded in a document file. To understand macro viruses, you first have to understand macros. Many software applications (like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) allow you to create macros, which are nothing more than a way of recording long series of commands and then repeating the series of commands over and over again with just a keystroke or two.
    • Trojan horse - A Trojan horse program tricks you into loading and running it by pretending to be something that it’s not. The perfect example of a Trojan horse is a file that masquerades as an antivirus software patch but is really a virus.Some Trojan horses are coupled with other types of viruses, such as macro viruses, which then generate new Trojan horses that get passed along to others.

Avoid a Virus: Seven Rules to Stop It

  • Get a good antivirus software - If you don’t have an anti-virus software installed on your computer, get some! For me I am using a free anti-virus software by AVG.
  • Keep your antivirus software updated. (at least once a week is recommended)
  • Virus-scan every FLASH thumb drive or USB HDD disk that plug into your computer.
  • Treat attachment with care - Just as you wouldn't French kiss every stranger walking down the street for fear of what diseases you may catch, accepting unknown files from strangers is an equally bad idea. Remember this advice: Don’t open unexpected files or attachments from people you do know until you've confirmed why they sent them, and don’t ever accept files or attachments from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t accept downloads from strange Web sites - Unless the website has a good reason for sending you something to download, you’re wise to reject those automatic download boxes that sometimes pop up.
  • After you download files, scan them immediately - Make sure that you scan all files or programs you download before you install or run them. Even if your favourite shareware web site claims that they virus-scan everything, take the few extra seconds to run your own virus scan before installing new software. Likewise, your should also take the time to scan all files sent from co-workers and friends before opening them. Many antivirus software packages let you right-click on a file to scan it instantly and now that you know, you also know that you have no excuse not to.
  • Check your macros at the door - Make sure that any programs on your computer that use macros (most commonly word, excel, etc) have their macro-related security settings set to their highest setting. These setting alerts you to the presence of a macro before it’s executed, giving you a chance to run a virus scan on the file before executing the macro and to possibly avert disaster.
Declaration: I mean no harm or infringement of copyright, am re-posting to share and create awareness on Cyber Wellness only.
Source: ITE Cyber Wellness Notes

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