[Letters] Lack of awareness on online security

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[Letters] Lack of awareness on online security

All around the world, recognition on online privacy is being made day after day. Just a couple of weeks ago, European data-protection agencies started making their move in requesting stricter regulations on information handling for the major search engines, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. ‘So what?’ You might think. These agencies may look like paranoid activists in your eyes, but think again about who is actually realizing the potential dangers lurking in the cyber world. One thing that cannot be stressed enough is the fact that the Internet is an unreliable friend.

The Internet has become such a vital necessity in our lives that we cannot even imagine a single day without it. No e-mail checking, no web surfing, no Facebook, no Google Buzz, no Cyworld, nothing! Even Google has launched an operating system, Chrome OS, which runs based on internet connection. This was launched under the premise that most PC users are turning on the computer just to use the internet. Booting the computer in a few seconds, Chrome OS clearly demonstrates how the Internet is such an important tool in our lives. The Internet has brought us so many benefits that have escalated our lives to a whole new level. Nowadays we can log onto Facebook or Twitter using Wi-Fi connection through our smartphones and look at all the on-the-moment updates made by our friends, leave comments and post some things. You can also use Skype to instantly message or VoIP all your friends. Of course, your friends can be automatically added to your list through connecting Skype to your e-mail address book. Furthermore Skype identifies all your Facebook friends who have a Skype ID and adds them to your list. It is such a convenient world. It may be convenient, but while we are enjoying this convenience, our information is being exposed to whomever wants to access it.

When creating a Facebook account, the users are supposed to use their e-mail account as their ID. Facebook asks the users if they would like to find their friends through their e-mail address book. Users agree without much doubt and Facebook links the e-mail account. Now, Facebook has instant access to all the information on that e-mail account, including all the personal details in any e-mail document. Also, Facebook sends an invitation to all the users in your email history who don’t have their own Facebook ID. Well, you can’t really complain, because you have, without much consideration, agreed to connect the e-mail account. Thus, this acts as a clever excuse for Facebook when it is blamed for looking at others’ accounts. Just like that, Facebook obtains a justified access to all the information listed in your account. Google Buzz does this as well, accessing e-mail accounts to search for other users. You’re exposed now. Your bank account number, passwords, social security number and all that private information is at risk. Of course, they don’t take advantage of all this information listed on your e-mail, but who knows? Maybe you are someone important. Indeed, all information is valuable these days; you don’t know how your inconsiderate behavior will come back to haunt you.

Kim Hyun-ku,

Hanyoung Foreign language high school student
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