Security and Privacy on the Internet
There are a lot of articles in the newspapers these days about databases hacked, personal information stolen, bank accounts “cleaned out”, or credit cards erroneously charged. When it comes to security and privacy on the Internet, how well does the system protect the public? Are certificate based security protocols as safe as one is lead to believe? Will modifying the Internet Explorer’s settings provide adequate privacy? As the “tech” world evolves and smart phones and other wireless devices become the norm, how secure are the Wi-Fi networks? Part of the problem is the technology is moving so fast, the rules cannot even keep up.
Encryption is ...view middle of the document...
(Helft, 2010, p. 4)
Well, at least a person can control the security settings when it comes to cookies. Ms. Riva Richmond, New York Times, reveals, “If you rely on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s privacy settings to control cookies on your computer, you may want to rethink that strategy. According to researchers at CyLab at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Engineering, a third of the more than 33,000 sites they studied have technical errors that cause I.E. to allow cookies to install, even if the browser has been set to reject them.” Cookies store information about a user; whereas, persistent cookies are data from third-party Web sites concerning content or advertising on the visited Web page. Persistent cookies remain for longer periods and gather data about surfing habits affecting one’s online privacy. (Richmond, 2010, p. 4)
Now those cookies are at risk by free and widely available programs that allow others to assume someone else’s identity and have full access to that account. Kate Murphy, New York Times, explains “a free program called Firesheep, released in October (2010), has made it simple to see what other users of an unsecured Wi-Fi network are doing and then log on as them at the sites they visited.” “I released Firesheep to show that a core and widespread issue in Web site security is being ignored,” said Eric Butler, a freelance software developer in Seattle who created the program. “It points out the lack of end-to-end encryption.” The only sites that are safe employ a “cryptographic protocol transport layer security” used by PayPal and many banks. Ms. Murphy continues, “You know you are shielded from prying eyes if a little lock appears in the corner of your browser or the Web address starts with “https” rather than “http.”” Chris Palmer, technology director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the main reason web sites do not use encryption is because the process will slow down data transfer. (Murphy, 2011, p. 8)