What’s true? Cybersecurity in the age of social media

  • TECH
  • Friday, 10 May 2019

In today's digital era when access to technology means that anyone can create a professional-looking website and post information, photographs, and video, it's more important than ever to be able to tell what's true from what's not. (Illustration by Mickey Quinn/Millennial Youth/iGeneration Youth/TNS

For many people, technology is part of everyday life. Whether it's emailing your boss or looking up funny videos out of boredom, people rely on technology. 

Even though digital use is incredibly fulfilling, it does have its downsides. Nearly every website has advertisements itching to be clicked on. Many of the ads aren't secure and could lead to viruses on your device or your personal information leaked for untrustworthy people to see. 

A recent survey, 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights report, conducted by Norton by Symantec, researchers observed that globally, 60% of parents allow their children access to the Internet before age 11. Even though 78% of parents agree that children today face more online risks than children five years ago, only 50% check their children's browser history and 46% limit access to certain websites and apps. 

Fortunately, there is cybersecurity to ensure the safety of your device and information, but some technology users are unaware of the potential danger that they could potentially be in. Especially teens. 

Take this quiz to find out if you can handle deceitful ads and scams, or crack under pressure. 

1) You really want to purchase a game on your laptop, but you know your parents won't allow you to do so. An ad pops up on your screen tempting you to download the game for free with no precautions. How do you respond?
A. And done! That was a piece of cake. Now I just have to wait for it to finish downloading.
B. Hmmm ... that seems a little sketchy. Maybe I should try to find another site that doesn't need my home address.
C. Nope! There's no way I'm going to click that ad. There's a reason why you're supposed to purchase it; I guess I'll never get the game.
D. Maybe a mysterious US$12 (RM50) decline on my mom's credit card isn't so bad since the game's original website provides a safe and secure check out. I'll just pay her back. 

2) Your phone wasn't working so you went to the store to get assistance. You had to use a replacement phone for two weeks. When you got it fixed, you remembered that you forgot to sign out of your accounts on the temporary replacement phone. How do you respond?
A. Who cares? Seriously, what's the worst that can happen?
B. That's probably why my phone powers on and shuts off by itself. Hold on, let me Google it.
C. How could I forget? I'll try to get a hold of the store soon. Someone could be signed into my account right now.
D. I'm calling the store right now to get them to remove my information on that phone – and I'm changing all of my passwords to each of my accounts, just in case. 

3) You receive a text message begging you to donate just US$1 (RM4) to save the life of an adorable puppy. You click on the site to see how to donate, but it requires you to enter your name, credit card info and date of birth. How do you respond?
A. It's impossible for me not to donate and potentially give that puppy another chance at life.
B. Let me try to insert fake information instead of my own. My friend has done this plenty of times, and I doubt they'll be able to tell the difference.
C. What a cute puppy! I know this is a way of tricking me into giving them money, so I'll just delete the message and donate to a whole new shelter.
D. It is pretty odd to ask for my credit card number just to donate US$1 (RM4). I'll look up the name of the website and determine if it is legit. 

4) You attempt to log into your Gmail account but your password keeps coming up as invalid. You know something isn't right because you use the same password for everything. How do you respond?
A. Waiting it out seems like the best option. Maybe there's a glitch in the system.
B. This guy on YouTube is basically telling me to let it slide, even though I believe there's something else deeper happening with my account.
C. I'm pretty positive someone hacked me, but I don't think this is a matter to get all riled up over. I'll change my passwords and make sure I get notices whenever someone logs into my Gmail.
D. An antivirus program scanner told me that all of my accounts have been hacked. Time to reach the police, change my passwords, and use two-factor authentication to better protect my information. 

5) You check your homepage on Instagram only to find the amount of people you follow has increased by at least 25. You're now following people you have never even heard of. How do you respond?
A. Some of my friends probably went on my phone and followed a bunch of random people without me knowing, no big deal.
B. Well, according to Yahoo, I just need to log out of my account and wait for 10 minutes for it to go back to normal.
C. Here on Quora it explains how some accounts have a built-in setting that allows your device to follow anyone by itself. This may not be the case, so I'll just make a backup and keep my original.
D. What a huge red flag! Creating a whole new account with a different password and deleting the one I already have seems the most safe and reasonable approach to me.

Answer Key
If you answered mostly A's, be aware that investing in cybersecurity could help prevent you from attracting identity thieves and viruses to your device. If you don't already have an infected laptop or phone, get cyber protection ASAP. 

If you answered mostly B's, you rely on outside sources to give you information to fix problems. You understand there's something fishy going on, but you tend to brush your instincts aside. 

If you answered mostly C's, you have more knowledge of cybersecurity than you may think. Although you remain calm in situations that require your immediate attention, touching up on how to protect your technological equipment could only improve your response to potential cyber threats even more. 

If you answered mostly D's, you should be proud! Not a lot of people care enough to research what they should do in situations like these. You do as much as you can, even though you may overthink in some areas that require a cool and collected reply. Still, you'd rather be safe than sorry. 

This quiz is based on information found at the US FTC website. – iGeneration Youth/Tribune News Service

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