Dear Mr Know It All,
Today I have a special question for you…
Do you remember life without the Internet? Sure you do, it wasn’t so long ago
Was it easier back then? Most likely not, but it was for sure much more secure. Now with all the knowledge and endless information streams just a click away I cannot even imagine going back to hard copy books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias etc… That said, “back in the day” I didn’t have the worries and fears that I experience now.
Well whether you do or not, whether you prefer “back in the day” or embrace the new digital age have you considered this…
I work using the internet every day, same would say I am addicted to it and would not survive long without it, whether it be on my main PC, laptop or my Smartphone, I check it almost constantly – there is always something happening out there in the ether and I want to be a part of it, all of it! I have developed a low level worry that I will miss something but this is not the real problem… No, the real problem comes with security… security of my data, my personal information and most of all my precious pictures and documents I store on various devices which are connected to the Internet.
This is my biggest fear – losing my data. Who had that problem in the eighties?
Yes, I know that you can get anti-virus programs and yes I know that you can run additional scans but I know from my own experience that sometimes this just isn’t enough. In the last five years we have lost two HDD (Hard Disk Drives) to a Trojan. Ok, so we still have the discs full of data and we hope one day someone, somewhere will be able to recover it for us, but for this moment everything that is on them is lost for me… years of pictures, years of other stuff which I want back at some point! After the first HDD crash we bought an expensive, paid for legitimate anti-virus software and downloaded loads of other weird programs that only really make sense to technical people, which where supposed to help with protection… yes, it was good up to the point when something new attacked our PC. After the second HDD wipe, we did more or less the same with one big addition this time, we bought a huge external drive where we backed up our most important or valuable data. So far it is working but I think maybe cloud storage is the way to go… not sure, still doing my research on that matter.
But this is not the end of my online fears, as long as I believe I am doing all that is in my power to protect my own devices and make them as secure as possible in attempt to avoid any data lost, that fear subsides. Now what about the Internet itself…
What about something most of us use everyday like your email address. My main email address is very dear to me! Not only does it have all my contacts but also 1000s and 1000s of emails most with information which is very important, to me… ok, so there is a selection of jokes, funny pictures etc but I still want to keep them… Is our data stored in this way secured? I guess up to a point it is, but I remember a few years back there was a problem. My email crashed and with it everything that was there. There was no option of recovery… a so called unexpected error… no matter how many times I sent a begging email, there was only one reply coming back… we are very sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused… Again we can back it up, but no back up is 100% secure…
So this is my main fear related to the Internet.
I say main because there is much more I fear… I fear hacking and loosing access to my own various accounts, I fear hacking and having my bank accounts wiped clean, I fear identity theft, I fear accidently getting into site with inappropriate or prohibited content and being flagged somewhere by Big Brother, so I have a lot of latent fears every time I power up my computer but now there is no going back! One thing I can do is to learn how to protect myself and my data, ensure that all security protocols are in place and hope for the best.
So, to answer my own question: The Internet – Love it or Fear it?
The answer is: both.
I love it because it gives my freedom, it gives me access to the largest depository of knowledge ever assembled by mankind in all his history, it allows me to stay in touch with friends whom I otherwise wouldn’t have any contact with, it allows me to learn new things every day, it allows me to answer any question I can think of, within seconds and resolve debates about who is right and all this amounts to one thing it gives me power, but I do fear it and I try to my best to minimize the risk.
What do you think?
Are my fears reasonable?
Or am I being a drama queen?
So Mr Know It All: How do you feel about the Internet now – Love it or Fear it?
This post is my entry into the Check and Secure challenge. For more advice on family safety online, see Mums on Security.