Today there are 2.6 billion people using the internet. That’s more than the combined populations of India and China. While this makes the internet the largest potential market in the world for businesses, it also makes it a prime target for all types of scam artists and worse. In 2006 there was an estimated 57 “threats” per day on the web. Today estimates range at 150,000 attempts per day to gather someone’s personal information or hack into their on line banking or other personal accounts.
How many times a day do you enter this dangerous region? Chances are it’s more than once and how often do you consider your safety when you’re online? What about your children? Today’s modern cybercriminal has become quite sophisticated and the usual antivirus software that many of us have relied on in the past may not be enough to ensure our privacy when online. Users must also depend on rootkit detection software, web reputation services and more if they expect to keep their personal information away from the prying eyes of others. It’s also important to properly configure the privacy settings of all of your social networking accounts to keep strangers at bay.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been watching the news lately, even all of these precautions are no guarantee that any of us are safe when surfing. Young people are especially at risk. Did you know that from 2007 to 2009 MySpace deleted over 90,000 accounts that had been created by registered sex offenders? If you have children that are techno savvy (and who doesn’t?) here are some other scary statistics that you need to be aware of.·
- A full 1/3 of children have been contacted by a stranger while online. 50% of these encounters were “inappropriate” in nature.
- 75% of children that received an online sexual solicitation did NOT tell their parents about the incident.
- Almost half of all online sex crimes involving minors included information and/or pictures of the victim being posted on their own social networking site by the offender.
- 25% of teenagers have had personal confrontations with someone as a direct result of a situation that began online.
- 26% of teenagers know someone else that has had a bad experience as a result of information or photos that were posted online.
As you can see, young people are often the target of sexual predators online. Although adults can have the same experience, it is often our wallet that the cybercriminal is after. Now that you are fully aware of the risks that we all face when online, it’s time that you take the proper precautions to avoid being victimized. Tomorrow I will discuss the steps you need to take in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming yet another victim of cybercrime.