An ancient greek proverb says “house matters must not go public” i.e. we should not share our personal issues with people outside our family. Nowadays, personal contact and communication may have been limited because of our numerous obligations and thus, few free time, however, technology is here to fill this gap.
On Tuesday 10 February 2015, the Safer Internet Day (SID) is celebrated, with the following motto for this year: “Let’s create a better internet together!”. Safe and responsible use of the Internet is the timeless message of this anniversary, which was first established on 1999 by the European Commission (EC).
What we primarily have to protect is our personal data, i.e. any information that characterizes us, such as our name, address, telephone number, our photos, tax information, passwords, etc. Therefore, we must be very careful as to what information we share or give to others (be they individuals or websites) and what we keep only for ourselves.
There are many ways of exploiting somebody’s personal data and cheating users, with most common of all “phishing” and “pharming”.
Phishing is the act by which someone is trying to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details (and usually directly or indirectly money), after having “disguised” in a trusted entity (e.g. bank, company). The scam is usually done through e-mails intending to cause the theft of confidential information belonging to the recipient of the email.
Pharming is even more dangerous and gradually evolves into one of the most serious forms of crime on the Internet. A special program exploits security loopholes, penetrates into the victim’s computer and affects it in such a way that, even if the user types the correct address of the website he wants to visit, considering that he is in a safe area, the computer “leads” him to fake websites. Especially if it comes to a bank website, the victim’s attempt to make trades via on-line banking results in the transfer of money to the perpetrators (pharmers).
There are three ways of protection, which should be used in combination, in order to deal with such phenomena:
- Use a firewall (firewall).
- Use protection software against viruses and spyware (spyware).
- Keep up with what’s new concerning computer users, as cybercrime evolves daily.
The State stands by the side of the citizen with the Cyber Crime Unit, which aims to prevent, investigate and combat crime and antisocial behavior, committed through the Internet or other electronic media. The citizen can communicate from all networks of fixed and mobile telephony in Greece with local charge, at the special complaints line, calling the five-digit number 11188. It is up to us to make safer the world of internet.
Raise a safety net upon your personal data …it’s good for you!