Staying safe on the net

Staying safe on the net. There are a couple of very simple ways to do that not costing a dime. Which for most people, mainly college students, is the most important part. We’re all willing to do something until it costs money. First of all, lets start with general safety on the web without having to download anything, your look both ways before crossing the street safety tips.  This is stuff that we should at least be mentioning to kids these days because our world is becoming increasingly dependent on web services. Firstly, don’t use an easy to guess password, like steven123 or spacebar spacebar spacebar spacebar space bar. Passwords with random numbers, letters and symbols work best. Don’t with that don’t use the same password for all for your stuff like email, apple or pc products, your social media websites like twitter and Facebook and certainly not you online banking. Thirdly in regards to your passwords be sure to change them at every couple of months just as an extra measure.


“I’d say I use the same password for almost all of my websites. Facebook, Twitter, Canvas, Pioneerweb, you name it they all have the same password” said Jack Cherry a junior at the University of Denver.

Think before you click. Not every link or website is safe. Not every email sent to you is safe, look at who its from and the substance of the email before clicking on any links. This is what’s known as phishing. Emails that look enticing or real but are very much so fake. Something important to know banks will never ask for your social security number over email, just a little something to mention.


Shopping online has become a huge part of going online. Department stores have taken a huge hit, stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, and J.C Penny’s all have reported slumps on in-store purchases. Its reported that shoppers are now making 51% of their purchases online in 2016 compared to 47% in 2014. When you are making online orders just make sure the address of the website (that’s your search bar) has an “https” with a green padlock next to it. The green lock means that traffic to and from the websites is encrypted. Having an encrypted website means only that site can read the information typed into that page like passwords, usernames and card information. secondly the green padlock is kind of a certification that the website isn’t fake. Also incase fraud does happen online be sure to use a credit card to pay as banks are more likely to reimburse you for fake purchases.


This next one is kind of a no brainer, all of the Wi-Fi providing companies suggest this. But make sure you have a password otherwise anyone can get on your internet and potentially connect to your computer. Beware of connecting to public Wi-Fi’s as well. Let’s say you go out on a Sunday to cherry creek they have free Wi-Fi you can sign- onto, which is great if your looking to not use your data, or have used up all the data on your phone. Now most public Wi-Fi’s have a firewall protecting you from dangers on the web. But that doesn’t mean your necessarily safe from other people connected to that same Cherry Creek Wi-Fi’s. For example, the recent “Wannacry” bug, which you can learn all about on this awesome podcast hosted by Lars Brady and myself called Information Super Highway, was able to to get onto devices connected to the same Wi-Fi.

“I always try to hop on to Wi-Fi on my phone when I’m not at home, whether that’s going out to eat; getting coffee at Starbucks or at a friend’s house” said senior Tess Greenwald about using her mobile device.

Lastly, keep your devices up to date on the current software offered by your provider. Old software’s tend to be targeted because companies aren’t updating them with the current security codes when something is exposed about that software. This was also an issue with the Wannacry bug, it targeted a lot of old version of Windows.

Now if you don’t want to use the software’s provided by DU, there a bunch of different options. just going to go through a bunch of free software that you can download in order to better protector yourself.

First let’s start with a software called Avast. This software has been around awhile, since 1988. Which is something Gary starling suggested to download if they don’t want to download DU’s security software in the last episode. Avast will scan your computer for viruses when installed and let you know if you have any. But also it will protect you against phishing and just general security with on-demand malware scans, on access malware scans, website ratings, malicious URL blocking, behavior based detection.


Secondly there is AVG which is actually a subsidiary of Avast, acquired last year, standing for “Anti-virous guard”. It pretty much does the same thing, scans your computer constantly and blocking websites with malicious history and can actually de-bug some virous infected files.


Then there’s Bitefender, which has everything the other two have except a website rating. Zone Alarm offers malware scanning, and behavior detection. Then there’s Zone Alarm, SOPHOS and Aviral, you get the point. there a are a bunch of free software’s that you can download to keep yourself safe on the web.

Now these attacks can happen at anytime, anywhere. Digital attack map actually has a great visual of the history of cyber attacks. It’s kind of hard to understand but one you get over the just how many attacks there are and the slightly confusing ways the site chooses to show them visually its pretty neat id say.

On a similar note, a lot of transparency reports have been coming out.  These are important to take a look at because it is a sheet of court ordered requests for user’s private information stored on the websites database. The number of requests have increased greatly since they first were introduced in 2010 by Google.  The number has increased on all major media websites. Facebook however, does not release such a report in the United States but in other countries the social media website does. At the moment, Twitter receives the most requests from subpoenas to requests fro removal of information or posts.

“I think it’s totally okay and right that the government has the ability to gain access from these websites” said Cherry “If it’s online and is of substantial concern to the case then the judge and jury should have access to it”

As our world continues to grow so will the use of technology. Specifically, web-based software’s and sites more information than ever will be on the web. It is important to protect and to be wary of exactly how much and what people put on there. Websites don’t just track what you put on there like passwords and usernames but also what you click on and how much time is spent on each page.

Why the government wants to monitor social media and other websites is that nature is for legal purposes. A. if it is a court ordered summon of information and B.  also for coy written material being transferred on those websites.

Copy written material on the web is something that has always been a problem for artists since companies like Napster and Grokster came around back in 2001.  Napster was created in 1999 by Sean parker. And so this was a file sharing web service where if you put up a file onto their servers someone else could download it for no cost. Now you can see why this is an issue, especially for record labels. Grokster was a similar service but just on a smaller scale. Grokster operated on a college campus level, intended for sharing of work for the university.

so shortly after Napster and Grokster got attention A&M Records, a very large record label at the time but now is apart of Universal Music group, file a complaint against Napster. Napster was found guilty, but don’t feel bad for Sean parker its creator he later invested heavily in Facebook. The court rule on a Safe Harbor Provision. What the safe harbor provision is that if a web service has the capability of file sharing it must be actively searching itself for copy written material. So the app or software has code to search all of its material and relate it back to a database of copy written material. Now you may be saying Dropbox is the exact same thing as Naptser but was created after safe harbor in 2007.

An example of the safe harbor provision in action. If you have ever uploaded or been to a video where the audio is cut that is because the video used copy written material without consent and YouTube, not the uploader or the record label, found it and took the audio off.

“Copy written infringement has become a larger issue as the internet has become a lot more complicated” said Cherry.


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