Internet safety is an essential aspect of using the Internet, as it aims to protect users from personal safety and security risks. With the increasing reliance on the Internet for various activities, such as communication, information sharing, and online transactions, it is crucial to be aware of potential threats and take necessary precautions.
One of the primary concerns in internet safety is information security. Safeguarding personal information, identity, and passwords is crucial to prevent security breaches. Unauthorized access to private information can lead to consequences like identity theft and property theft. Phishing is a common scam used by malicious individuals to obtain private information such as passwords and credit card details. Phishing websites often mimic legitimate sites to deceive users, and hackers may use third-party emails to request personal information as an entry point for attacks.
Another significant threat to internet safety is malware. Malicious software, including spyware, collects and transmits private information without the user's consent. Malware is often distributed through emails, software, and files from unofficial sources. Detecting whether a file is infected with malware is challenging, regardless of its source.
Internet safety is not just limited to information security but also extends to personal safety. The Internet has provided a platform for digital communication with others, but it also allows communication with malicious users, posing potential risks. Cyberstalking is the use of the internet or electronic means to stalk or harass individuals, groups, or organizations. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, refers to the abusive use of electronic means to intimidate or overpower individuals or groups. Cyberbullying is particularly prevalent among youth, with a study showing that 23% of adolescents have experienced it.
Child safety is a significant concern in internet safety. Child-on-child abuse online falls under the category of cyberbullying, but it can also include physical and sexual abuse, harassment, and grooming. Online predation involves the act of engaging minors in inappropriate sexual relationships through the internet, often through chat rooms or forums. Online grooming refers to when a stranger befriends and gains the trust of a child to manipulate them into various activities, including sexual exploitation.
Additionally, the Internet hosts various websites with offensive or explicit content, including shock sites, hate speech, and inflammatory material. Sextortion, particularly through webcams, is a concern for individuals who engage in flirting and cybersex.
To address these internet safety concerns, there are organizations and groups working on promoting awareness and protecting users online. Some of these organizations include AHTCC, Childnet, Insafe, and Internet Matters. Safer Internet Day, an event in Australia, aims to raise awareness about internet safety. Get Safe Online provides information on internet security, while Internet Phishing Alert warns about online scams. Various research papers and articles also shed light on different aspects of internet safety and the types of abuses seen online.