The Internet truly is a jungle and although there are people out there who are good and well-meaning, there are a lot of predators as well. The predators we’re talking about want your information. Information like, location, phone numbers, finances, shopping preferences, hobbies, interests, loves, hates, political affiliation, charitable contributions, political contributions, voter registration information, census information – there is probably a lot to know about you that’s freely available on the Internet. There are also a lot of sneaky ways to get your information from you without your knowledge. These sneaky ways include all of the buzz-words you’ve probably heard like, keyloggers, screen loggers, man-in-the-middle attacks, hackers, malware, rootkits, backdoors, the list goes on.
There are a variety of reasons why anyone would want your information. Hackers may want your Social Security number for identity theft or your credit card information to rob you. Vendors may want to know your habits, preferences and income in order to target specific products you’re interested in, increasing the chances of your buying their products. Politicians may want your political affiliation and whether or not you voted in order to subtly shame you or persuade you into voting for their candidate. And governments seem to want all of your information for any future malfeasance you may commit. Knowledge is power as Sir Francis Bacon said, and collecting everything that can be collected on you is powerful stuff.
It used to be that a simple anti-virus program with regularly updated virus definitions was enough to protect you. But the bad-guys have devised so many ways to get into your computer and thus your private stuff, that it’s hard to keep up with them. Every security precaution you put in place, they find a workaround. Or worse, the one time you forget to use the security precautions or they aren’t set properly, the bad-guys have got you.
The major software companies, hackers, even governments, are not going to take care of your privacy or security, indeed, with today’s current events, they seem to be the biggest threats to it. Relying on others to protect you is false security and it’s dangerous because the bad guys are counting on that reliance and taking advantage of it. It’s obvious that each person is responsible for his or her own security. Staying safe and secure in The Jungle is a constant work in progress because the predators are always looking for weaknesses and ways to capitalize on them.
This guide was written to explain the security dangers already present, what you can do to make yourself safe and how you can actively stay safe in the future.