Internet Risks

© Madartists | Dreamstime.comThe first section of the course is about the risks that can exist when using the Internet.

We’ll look first at  risks to user safety and privacy. These can include abusive behaviour (“cyberbullying”), inappropriate behaviour and grooming.  These threats can appear in a variety of different contexts, eg text messages, chat rooms, e-mail, social networking sites and instant messaging. You should also be aware of the need to minimise your “digital footprint” by minimising the amount of personal information you reveal online.

After that, we’ll look at risks to data security. These include malicious programs (including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and adware), hackers, phishing and identity theft. Once you have completed this part of the course you should be able to identify examples from all of these categories.

Next we’ll look at risks to system performance and integrity, i.e. things which could cause your computer to slow down, crash or even break down. These threats include unwanted e-mail (often referred to as “spam”), malicious programs (including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware) and hackers. Once you have completed this section you should be able to identify examples of all of these categories and you’ll also know about “hoax” threats (such as virus hoaxes) and emerging threats, including “ransomware”.

We’ll then look at the steps you can take to minimise internet risks, including withholding personal information, reporting incidents to a responsible adult and making correct use of browser and social network security settings.

Finally, we’ll look at the factors that affect the reliability of information on websites. You should realise that information found online cannot always be assumed to be reliable and you should know how to check factors such as scope of coverage, authority, objectivity, accuracy and timeliness.

Next: Risks to User Safety and Privacy