The Lady has just turned 30. But she isn’t ready to leave the limelight yet, for she is still evolving, still acquiring large number of admirers daily. No wonder that over 2.4 billion people across the world are her diehard users today, according to Internet World statistics. Wondering who she is? She is the wonder of our times – the Internet.
Here is a very interesting infographic that traces emergence of Internet over the last 30 years.
This young Lady has sure changed the world, but some analysts say that the changes that are expected to come are far, far more than that has occurred over the last 30 years.
As for me, I foresee a world that has become more dependent on the net for conducting daily activities. I foresee greater use of handheld devices for ease and speed. More people will resort to their Kindles to read books. Children will learn their lessons from their virtual teachers; take piano tuitions from the net, practice chess with online opponents. Doctors will check patient’s record on their hand held devices and prescribe medicines that patients can order through their phones or laptops. The net will be indispensable for learning, socialising, banking, managing homes and office as well as ensuring the security of organizations and even nations!
With such a hike in online activities, can cyber crooks and hackers sit back? This is what McAfee Labs had to report on the threat scene for 2013 – “McAfee Labs expects that threats to mobile devices will become even more of a focus of cybercriminals, the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and large-scale attacks that attempt to destroy infrastructure will increase. Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organizations and homes”
There, we have it – in plain and simple language. For us individuals, it means that we can confidently expect more malware targeting our smartphones. As the smartphone has become the gadget of choice and has gained the status of “Necessity” from its present status of a “Comfort”, it will do well to remember that the hackers too will choose it as their preferred hunting grounds.
So, what’s the solution? Do we avoid the smart phone or the Internet? And go back to the old -fashioned ways of physically tackling every task? Do we stop buying Internet – enabled devices for our kids, fearing for their safety? Or do we impose a carpet ban on the net itself?
That would be quite regressive, don’t you think and against the grain of progress and development?
The solution is very simple actually. It comprises of a few simple steps that will ensure you stay safe when online:
1) Secure your devices with the latest comprehensive security software – including all gaming devices and phones with Internet facility. The software for your mobile phones should offer anti-theft, anti-malware/antivirus, app protection and web protection.
2) Use strong passwords for all access ports and change these frequently. Don’t stay logged in longer than necessary.
3) Check and verify links and apps before downloading them
4) Keep geotagging/Bluetooth/Webcam/apps permission turned off and turn them on only when needed.
Remember, it’s the little precautionary steps that can go a long way in keeping you and your near ones safe online while allowing you the freedom to enjoy the benefits of the net.
Here are some recommended readings for further information on how to safeguard your devices and stay safe online:
Happy surfing people!