Cyber Bulling: How To Stay Safe

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Internet has become an indispensable part of our life as we connect with people all over the world, post photos and status online, download files on various subjects and shop online. Your every step on the Internet leaves a trail, which someone can follow and misuse to cause you harm. Too much of irresponsible online presence can make you a victim of Internet threat. An Internet threat is a harmful act or a malicious software program intended to target the victim and infect the victim’s computer. In most of the cases, the severity of the threat is realised much later.

Cyber Bullying

What is it?

Cyber bullying is an illegal act of torturing a person, through electronic communication medium by sending unwanted and persistent messages of an abusive or a threatening nature to inflict psychological distress in the victim. The cyber bully can hide behind an anonymous user name, disguising his real identity, making it difficult to trace him. A cyber bully intently harasses and embarrasses the victim across various platforms such as social media, SMS and email. Cyber bullying is relentless due to mobile technology being easily available and accessible. In severe cases of cyber bullying, the victim may end up with a low self-esteem and suffer from depression.

Examples:

  • Repeatedly sending intimidating emails or messages to the victim.
  • Posting hurtful comments about the victim on social media.
  • Spreading false rumours about the victim online.
  • Creating a fake profile on social media to harass the victim.
  • Sharing online, without consent, an embarrassing photo or video involving the victim.
  • Sending threats online involving child pornography and acts of violence.

How to Stay Safe?

  • Report any type of abuse to the relevant social media network by clicking on the “Report Abuse” button.
  • If a friend in school confides in you about being bullied, encourage him/her to inform an approachable teacher and take action.
  • Save the records and proofs of cyber bullying which can be provided as an evidence against the cyber bully.
  • Do not open emails and download attachments from unreliable sources.
  • Set the security and privacy settings on websites and social media accounts to limit the information you share and the audience for the same.

Cyber Footprint

What is it?

Cyber footprint or Digital footprint is the trail of data one leaves intentionally or unintentionally while indulging in activities on the Internet. This data includes the messages exchanged, files and apps downloaded, websites visited, comments and content posted, etc. Cyber footprints that are collected intrude your internet privacy, security and trust, if collected without your knowledge. Cyber footprints affect the range of advertisements you come across on the site and the product recommendations offered to you.

It is important to know that respecting your privacy is important and no one can use your data without consent for their gains. You should be aware of the information you reveal and the permissions you grant, when you visit a website. You cyber footprint is used by – companies to build content of your preferences in an attempt to target you, advertisers and marketers to keep track of the websites you visit, etc.

Examples:

  • When you post a status or like a page on Facebook, to create a new cyber footprint, since the data is saved on Facebook’s servers.
  • When you shop online on an e-commerce site, your preferences and the products viewed is added to your cyber footprint to provide you recommendations next time.
  • Your search history, which is saved by some search engines, becomes a part of your cyber footprint, to help advertisers show you relevant ads.

How to Stay Safe?

The 4 P’s for a Safe Cyber Footprint

Spamming

What is it?

Spamming is the act of sending unwanted emails and notifications to an email address. These unwanted emails known as spams are usually sent to get the recipient to see or do something for the benefit of the spammer. Most spams are advertisements and offers, but some may contain viruses or scams. Sending spam emails is common because email is a very cheap medium for advertisers. Spamming is considered illegal as it involves unlawful sales and without the invitation, or interest expressed by the recipient, which results in the violation of the recipient’s privacy.

Examples:

  • A company sending unsolicited mails in bulk to email addresses about their promotional offers.
  • When you receive mails about winning a random lottery. It is a spam mail intended to extract money from innocent recipients.
  • When you receive misguiding mails containing links to some trending video, which is false in actuality.

How to Stay Safe?

  • Never click on links in a suspicious email else, your email address will be targeted for more spams or attacks.
  • Most of the spammers find your email address without your knowledge, so share your email address only for work purposes.
  • Enable spam filters in your email account and review the terms and conditions before registering on sites to avoid sharing your email address with third parties for unwanted promotional offers and mails.
  • Consider creating two email accounts – one for public use, which you can use for creating accounts on Internet, second for trusted and important sources. This will help deviate most of the spam to the first account. You can keep this in mind with the acronym LEFT.

Hacking

What is it?

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Hacking is unauthorized invasion of privacy by exploiting the weakness in a system to access it for a purpose that can be harmful for the owner of the system. This purpose could be altering the system functions or security, directing the system to accomplish a task different from the system’s intended purpose or stealing sensitive information. The person involved in hacking is known as a hacker.

Examples:

  • A professional hacker hacking into a bank’s database and accessing protected information like names, account number, PIN, e-mail and addresses of its customers.
  • A hacker hired by a criminal to access to a crime investigation related system and tamper with data such as evidence and records for the criminal’s benefit.
  • A hacker hacking into a reputed company’s software to crash the entire system and stall the company’s work, leading to a loss.

How to Stay Safe?

  • Create complex password and regularly update it. Your passwords to access your accounts on apps or websites should consist of a combination of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and special characters that is difficult to guess.
  • Use different passwords for more than one website or account. This limits the damage to you if a hacker happens to crack one of your passwords.
  • Do not share your password. If you due to some unavoidable circumstance you share your password with someone, then change it immediately.
  • Use auto-updates to get the latest patches for apps, software or operating systems.
  • Logging out of sites, switching off the computer when you leave the house, or disconnecting the Wi-Fi when you are not using it. You can keep this in mind with the acronym SCALD.

Viruses

When you fall sick, you feel weak and lose appetite while your bodily functions are affected. The doctor informs you that you are suffering from a viral infection. Similarly, a computer as can be infected from a virus as well.

What is it?

A virus is a malicious software program, which on execution modifies, corrupts or deletes the computer system programs and functions, thus infecting the system. Someone may intentionally spread the virus and the system owner might not even be aware of it. Extracting passwords or data, spamming your contacts, corrupting files or even altering the system functions are some of the effects a virus can have on your system. Viruses can be picked by opening links and attachments, downloading files, sharing music and games, visiting an infected website, and installing bad apps in the system.

Types of Viruses

1. Macro Virus

Macro virus is a self-replicating program that is attached to a data file. A macro denotes a piece of code that can be embedded in a data file. These data files appear like any normal Excel or Word document. Once the user opens the file, the virus code is executed and the system is infected. A macro virus can access confidential data such as username and passwords, display unwanted messages the user, disrupt the system functions or corrupt system data.

2. Trojan Horse

Trojan horse is a malicious program disguised as a useful program to the user but intended to attack and control the user’s computer from a remote location. Once the user has installed the program, the attacker can install unwanted applications in the computer, spy on the user’s computer, modify files on the user’s computer, steal sensitive data, such as passwords and credit card details and perform unauthorized money transactions.

3. Worm

Worms are illegitimate programs that replicate functional copies of themselves usually to other computer systems over the network, resulting in an interference with the normal use of a computer or a program. Unlike viruses, however, worms exist as separate entities; they do not attach themselves to other files or programs. Worms typically cause damage to the network by overloading web servers, slowing down the user’s network, send random emails to the contacts in the computer and even infect other computers that communicate with the infected computer.

How to Stay Safe?

  1. Scan external storage devices such as pen drives from unreliable sources on a secondary computer system before attacking to the primary computer system, as the storage device may contain virus.
  2. Install anti-virus softwares and update them at regular intervals.
  3. Disconnect your network or modem cable when you are not using your computer – or just power it down. This will avoid a potential Trojan horse virus from infecting the computer.
  4. Regularly downloading operating system updates can help reduce the infection and replication of worms.
  5. If you receive an unexpected email with a luring subject title or maybe in a foreign language, confirm with someone credible before opening any attachments. ILOVEYOU, Storm worm, Melissa virus are some of the examples of viruses spread with tempting subject titles.
  6. Worms can also be avoided by not downloading email attachments from sources, which are not trustworthy.
  7. You can keep this in mind with the acronym SADDLE.
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Writingbros. (2020, July, 15) Cyber Bulling: How To Stay Safe. Retrived September 18, 2020, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/cyber-bulling-how-to-stay-safe/
"Cyber Bulling: How To Stay Safe." Writingbros, 15 Jul. 2020, https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/cyber-bulling-how-to-stay-safe/. Accessed 18 September 2020.
Writingbros. 2020. Cyber Bulling: How To Stay Safe., viewed 18 September 2020, <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/cyber-bulling-how-to-stay-safe/>
Writingbros. Cyber Bulling: How To Stay Safe. [Internet]. July 2020. [Accessed September 18, 2020]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/cyber-bulling-how-to-stay-safe/
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