NetMission Insight: A Safer Internet Is Not A Dream

Written by Muhammad Umair Ali (Edited by Jenna Fung)

It is said that “Every coin has two faces.” The twenty-first century marked a new era of unprecedented and unparalleled transformation. Generations evolved and so did their needs. Computers and the Internet took the world by storm. Things that were accessible to a few became accessible to all in a matter of years. Digitalization became a new normal. With all this transformation, primitive methods of criminal activities took a new shape too. Data that was meant to be kept safe became vulnerable. Cyber threats are not new rather their evolution has been exponential. However, in the present day, the use of the Internet and associated risks have reached a new high. In days to come, bars of both are likely to rise even higher.

Technologies such as Cloud Computing, IoT, and Big Data have undoubtedly made our lives easier but what many forget is that with all this comfort comes great risks. Connecting our daily trivial tasks to the Internet has granted cyberspace to exist within our homes and lives making us more at risk to be exposed, exploited, and oppressed.

The field of cybersecurity deals with policymaking and taking actions to protect the cyberspace of humans. Over the years, the field has improved yet there is a long way to go. Cybersecurity involves a lot of stakeholders ranging from service-providing firms to governments. A lack of synchronization between stakeholders has allowed loopholes to exist. These loopholes have been exploited by anti-safe-cyberspace actors also known as cyber-perpetrators to carry out fraudulent and dubious activities. To make our Internet more secure, these loopholes need to be eliminated.

Another part of this conversation is about privacy. I have always wondered if there is something such as absolute privacy in this digitalized and connected world. From the data that we share on social media to data that we provide for services has to go somewhere right? Someone or something out there must be busy in maintaining a track record of those details? If that is right, we may not be as safe as we think we are.

For few years, reports of data leaks from data-holding organizations to various stakeholders have sparked concerns and controversies among the masses. This has put big names of the tech and services sector in doubt, raising question marks and red flags on their credibility and security. In order to maintain privacy, it is up to the public to share fewer personal data items on social media and on platforms that have less credibility. While on the other hand, it is up to the companies that receive this data to exhibit ethics and integrity. A safer Internet is not entirely a dream rather it is to a greater extent an accomplishable task. It can be achieved through constructive and trustworthy collaboration between people and service providers. It can also be achieved through proper awareness creation of the affiliated risks and issues. I personally believe that complete spontaneousness in making our digital lives should be brought under our own checks and balances. From co-operation, compromises, and awareness will we be able to create safe cyberspace and safer Internet not only for us but for generations to come.