Internet Safety by Nick Hunter

By Nick Hunter

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It is important that you keep it safe. The importance of passwords Just as you have a key to your house, your various passwords and PINs are the keys to your computer, your phone, and the various applications you use online. As we have seen, it is very important not to give your passwords to anyone. There are also lots of things you can do to make your passwords more secure. Some passwords are much better than others (see the box below). Passwords are harder to guess if they include numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters, and if they appear to be a random string of characters rather than a word or phrase.

Any device able to receive email can be a target for these dangers, including mobile phones and smartphones. Viruses have even been developed that can attack phone operating systems. Spam! Spam emails are sent to millions of people at random. The latest estimates are that around 120 billion spam emails are sent every day. These are getting more and more dangerous, as most now include links that spread viruses and malware (see pages 36 and 37). Blocking spam How can you prevent spam? Most ISPs will provide a filter so that most spam does not reach you.

Phishing scammers have been known to take advantage of disasters such as the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Some people sent phishing emails that took advantage of the situation and posed as charities. 33 Pharming Pharming is similar to phishing, but it does not involve email. In a pharming scam, criminals create a false website that is very similar to the site of a genuine company. They gain access to the genuine website and redirect all users to the fake one, which they then use to collect personal information.

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