Basic Computer Security – Part 2: Browsing Safely on the Internet

This lesson will introduce you to the concept of Browsing Safely on the Internet. The thirdlesson to be added will be on the topic of viruses.

computer security

I recommend before reading this section, that you read Part 1: What is a Firewall.
As a review, the first thing a computer user must do is to understand basic computing operations, to learn the basics of what computer hardware and software is. There is no shortcut to learning computers. I would make an analogy of using computer and compare it to any skillset. For example, if you want to be a carpenter, you must know how to use the tools, how to measure the wood, how to use the hammer or the saw. Same applies to computing, you must know the basics of how it works, and how to use the computer programs efficiently.
One of the greatest challenges for all computer users is to learn to access information from a reputable source. Notice the importance of the term: a reputable website. 
First, let’s define what is a reputable website. The term reputable website is very similar to the tem reputable source. Typically, when we go to a website, we are searching for information or a product. 
A reputable source is one that has known good reputation, it will not scam you or steal from you. You can communicate with real people, that is, they provide some form to recieve a question you make and will respond back to you.
The best example to describe reputable is like when you are looking for a good doctor or buying a product from a company that will honor the warranty. This means that the reputable source or website has credential. In occassions, the reputable source is a reference from some one you know, such as a friend who recommends a doctor to you. 
Reputable means that it has reputation and that it is also a credible source. 
Key steps for developing awareness for identifying a reputable website on the Internet:

  1. The user must be accurate in typing the web address. One incorrect digit or letter will cause the web browser to go to the wrong web address, and this may be a nonreputable website.
  2. Non-reputable website create website names that are similar to thge name of a reputable site. The looks and feel of the fraudulent website is very similar to the real website. If you give your information to a fraudulent website, you can be a victim of a scam.
  3. Has the website been in the market for some time?
  4. Are the people behind the website trustworthy?
  5. Are you sure you have the correct website address.
  6. It is recommendable that every computer user take some time to learn how to recognize what are reputable sources.
  7. The user must be free from cohercion from hackers.
  8. The user must understand that they must be the initiating entity to the access. This means that the user must be aware that sometime pop-ups occur on a site, or sometimes the user receives an email (similar to the event of recieving an unsolicited phone call. This means that the user is being exposed to an unsolicited request. These requests must be deems as frauds or a form of cohercion, and the persons behind these could be hackers.
  9. The previous paragraph is an example of one of the greatest dangers on the Internet.
  10. The user must be aware that if they give information of usernames and account passwords, or they reveal their personal data, such as the social security number, they are exposing themselves to being hacked and to identity theft.


Here are some useful links:

How to Find if a Website Is Legitimate?

How to Determine if a Website is a Fake, Fraud or Scam