Welcome back Tech Archivers to the long-awaited Chapter 2 of “Did We Break The Internet?”. This Chapter will look at Spam and how it affects us as individuals, as well as measures we may take, as consumers of the Internet, to prevent any mishaps occurring in relation to the Problems we discussed in Chapter 1 and to provide a safer internet, for all. Let’s get into it!
Spam can come in many shapes, sizes, forms, and fashions. Sneaking into our email inboxes, onto our Social Media pages, onto our phone via text messages, and even on our favorite websites. And yes, Spam is attractive. It’s designed to be attractive and just as we say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, we must not allow ourselves to fall into these traps. Spam originates from Phishers and Money Launderers, via Advertisements or Automated Bots that can be targeted at you or triggered when visiting a website. However, spam must not be confused with email marketing. A company that is email marketing has a very responsive website, uses legitimate services of transaction like PayPal and/or Amazon/eBay, has a Customer Relations Department that can reply to questions very fast and efficiently. And many more options. But spam isn’t effective by itself, it has a hidden factor, a very dangerous hidden factor that gets us. That factor is called repetition.
If you see something once, you may be interested in it for a few moments and may forget about it when you get distracted. But, what happens is that spam triggers the release of that advertisement on multiple occasions. Keeping the product on the forefront of the customers’ mind and indicating that that product may be of good quality. It piques their interest over and over until they have the need to acquire it, not because they need it, but because it’s attractive, they want it, and it’s embalmed in their mind from over-exposure to seeing the product. This is, however, bad practice but it works efficiently to get persons to divulge personal information to the masterminds of theft and fraud.
So then how do we avoid these things and stay safe?
Firstly, we run checks on whomever or whoever or whatever company we purchase from. Use the Internet to gain knowledge, as it is readily available. Also, reading is a major factor, when purchasing, note what you are purchasing, how much of the item you are purchasing, and what is the cost of the item you are purchasing. One item costing $55.99 in the store, would not check out at $365.99, and unless you added more items, or there are shipping costs attached, you most definitely missed something important.
Additionally, make sure the company is using a secure website protected by an SSL Certificate. This prevents scripts and other harmful codes from other places from picking up information sent to the site such as your Credit Card information. SSL Certificates encrypt your site’s connection to the server, making it almost impossible for an external application to decipher the transferred material.
Next, you must avoid going onto potentially harmful sites that have more Ads than useful material. Use research from reliable and valid sources such as Universities and Colleges, Doctors, and accredited professionals in their field. Although widely discredited from containing falsified information, Wikipedia is still safer than most sites on the internet.
In addition, having a good web browser is key. As mentioned in Chapter 1, AdBlockers work until sites block content from those who use AdBlockers. Recently, if you haven’t heard or read, Google has decided to incorporate code to break the AdBlockers used by consumers on its Chrome and Chromium Applications, extending into Microsoft’s Edge platform as well. (Ref: The Register). This will take the power of controlling content out of our hands and make it harder for us to avoid the schemes of phishers and money launderers. However, we still have power. We can change our web browsers. Although Google and Microsoft can control their applications, they cannot control the Internet. Applications such as Mozilla’s Firefox still allows users to filter whatever content they desire unfit by modifying their browser with whatever AddOns they want.
To business owners, using a reliable website and web server hosting company is key to protecting you and your customers’ information. Companies such as SoYouStart, NameCheap, OVH, Digital Ocean, etc. have lots of amazing plans that can aid in domain acquiring, website protection and much more. You must make sure that whatever company you use, uses up-to-date hardware to keep your information and their infrastructure safe.
Remember everyone, keep your passwords safe, and as complex as possible. Websites such as Passwords Generator can help you generate Strong, Random Passwords of varying degrees of complexity from 16-bit to 2048-bit passwords. Also, using a Password Manager such as LastPass or a much safer offline alternative like PadLock can prevent you from writing passwords down and have them in a safe and secure password-protected environment.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope everyone who reads this can benefit in some way or the other. Until next time, Be. Internet. Safe.