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"Your data has a social life too"

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"It won't stop a bullet, but I still feel safer wearing it"

New to the Internet? Welcome to one of the least secure methods of communication ever invented.

An introduction to privacy and security on the Internet

It's a battleground out there. And you're caught up whether you like it or not.

Here are the major skirmishes:

  • Virus makers produce sophisticated viruses sent by email.
  • Hackers try to break into Web sites and corporate databases. On Web sites they're the equivalent of graffiti artists. When they break into databases the problems are more serious. There's now a big criminal sector abusing stolen credit card details.
  • Fraudsters create artificial credit card details to defraud shopping sites.
  • The intelligence services want to read all your emails and check what you're looking at on the Web.
  • Hackers try to get inside your computer, sometimes to steal personal files, but more commonly because they want to use your machine for anonymous hacking attacks. On most computers there are so many security holes it's easy for them to get in.
  • Corporations collect data about your surfing habits. Sometimes they just track the Web pages you look at. Other times they add sneaky reporting mechanisms on to programs you install on your computer.
  • Everybody looks at your email

Ever get that feeling you're being watched? On the Internet, it's not paranoia. You are.

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