Being an active Internet user means adapting to the latest technology trends. The last couple of generations can’t imagine themselves without scrolling for news or social media.
However, there are those who can distinguish potential threats from regular information and those who can’t do it. The reason is the lack of awareness about a hidden danger of a digital world.
Both in real life and over the internet there are well-behaved “citizens” and criminals. And if in real life most of us are capable to spot a suspicious person by visibly analyzing their appearance and behavior, it’s far more complicated to do online.
The thing it is easier to pretend to be someone else over the internet. Perfect pictures, and made-up stories, help to create a life that never happened. Sounds doomed, isn’t it? The worse part is that such people use this opportunity to fool others.
We will try to describe a few most popular kinds of internet “shadow” villains: scammers, bots, and fake information.
Scammers perform illegal actions to trick people in order to get their money or access private information.
These people usually act normal at the beginning of the conversation, but easily get annoyed if you ask them a lot of questions. The scammer uses any form of conviction to make a person believe them and follow their instructions. If they are very insistent, this is a sign to be careful with this person.
Do not open links they send, that look weird and unknown to you. You can also check a link on special services (for example, VirusTotal) without risking your devices getting hacked or infected by a virus. Do not share personal information such as your main email, phone number, or password with potential scammers.
A bot is an automated program that is trained to imitate human behavior. There are good bots, that perform some boring repetitive tasks for people or serve a customer. For example, our company uses a bot called Elisa that is responsible for the automatic creation of conferences in a corporate chat and notifies about a certain event on the Kanban board or built-in forum, etc.
And there are also bad bots used for the false crowd in important discussions to confuse people and convince them to change their minds on a particular subject.
We usually stumble upon bad bots during political conversations. Bots send some controversial information that may destabilize peoples’ moods and trigger them to react the way the bot’s owner wants.
Sometimes it’s easy to recognize bots: their grammar is poor, they barely track the details of the conversations, and their phrases can be out of context. If you ask or repeat some questions, their answers may differ from one to another. Sometimes bots share phrases from one database and can post identical messages — this is clear evidence that a discussion is not real anymore.
Bots are also distributors of fake information.
Nowadays the raise of fake information is insane. There are so many websites, and resources that deal with news, that it is hard to keep track of what is really going on.
Journalists must use only trusted sources and perform investigations on a controversial topic. Otherwise, false information can cause chaos and scandals.
Unfortunately, even accredited news media make mistakes by collecting information from social media or unreliable sources. It happens because some news companies chase traffic and popularity, and they do not care how harmful such actions can be.
Always check the source of information and its reputation, if possible. If the article is too emotional and uses “loud” and clickbait headlines, you should probably avoid reading it. Search the information in question on other websites that are not related to each other, and compare them.
Usually, people fall for clickbait headlines which is why this is the most popular way of spreading false information. Well, some of us love drama and spicey stories, otherwise, nobody would write articles with made-up stories and headlines.