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Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net

Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net

Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net

Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net

Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net

Harness the Power of the Net: Why Every Business Should Have Its Own Site

Business-site

One of the most exciting things about the net existing was how it was going to change the realm of business. The technology of today is something that businesses should really take advantage of.

Welcome back to Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. If you’re wondering why we are talking about the realm of business when we’re supposed to be talking about the web, let us clear the air for you. The internet is a tool that is used for a variety of things. It has helped people obtain knowledge, share knowledge, and even promote ideologies.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the field of business saw the internet as a tool which they could actively use for their needs. Social media sites are used a lot by business owners—for both big and small brands—because of the connectivity, accessibility, and the speed in which updates could be released. Social media also helps the business owners to effectively gauge the interest of the target market or the brand followers which they already have.

Social media isn’t exactly a ‘website’ for the business to have. While it is good to have a social media page through the various social media platforms, we ultimately believe that it is in the best interest of businesses to have its own website.

Let us explain why.

The Power of a Website

Before social media was around, if a business wanted to be well-known or talked about, they needed to spend quite a bit of money for traditional advertising. This meant that they had to secure blocks for TV advertising, radio advertising, and even printed advertising on magazines, flyers, and even newspapers. If consumers wanted to find out more about a particular business which had caught their eye, they needed to physically visit the place and talk to the people that worked there.

Here are a few things that a website can do for a business:

Clear Representation

A website is pretty much a built-up digital representation of your business. If you want to be taken seriously or even make your mark and really say “we’re here and open for business”, having your own website is a definite must.

A site is the 24/7 calling card that your business has even if you are not presently operating. A lot of smaller investments like pop-up businesses make use of websites to really establish their roots in the consciousness of consumers as a whole.

Credibility

A website will give your business ample credibility. After all, this will be information about your business which you can actively mold to suit your standards. Your website can be shaped to reflect what your business is and what it is all about. Information isn’t cheap so you should make sure that you take time to provide this for your consumers.

You can talk big game but if you don’t give them good answers regarding your product or your service, you won’t seem like a very credible business, right? A website provides this extra layer of credibility that all smaller businesses need. After all, it takes time and even money to build a website. Anyone who isn’t here for the long haul won’t even bother with creating a website.

A Source of Official News

When consumers need to know certain things, the best way to avoid any misunderstandings is to publish statements or articles in your own website. This way, consumers will know that this is the official statement and there will be no other statement that will be thrown into the ring of discourse.

While social media can be used to spread the word about it, it is ultimately the website itself that should be the ground zero of your information. Consumers like to be in the know about the brands that they support. If you’re really smart about it, you should have a newsletter which they can sign up for so they have a chance to be updated or even get special deals and promos.

Security

The digital land comes with its own forms of dangers. While social media would be the fastest way to reach your consumers and brand followers, social media has been known to get hacked by some very clever people. This, naturally, can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting brand or business.

A website—especially one which is built well and is linked to a good website service—is a lot harder to hack. Sites like WordPress, Wix, and Go Daddy pride themselves on having extra security for the people that sign up with them. While they do also offer this for free accounts, those that buy domain names and choose to host their business sites with those brands enjoy a beefed up digital security that is pretty hard to get into.

Personal Showcase

A website is a pretty good place to publish your wares or your specialties. While galleries in social media is a thing which everyone does, it’s not really the best sort of place to discuss—in some length—about what you can do and what the picture is reflecting.

Also, if you happen to be an artist, having your own website would be a very good place to showcase your pieces and give any updates on what you are currently working on and any other event which is relevant to your growth as a brand.

As you can see, there are a LOT of different reasons why a brand or a business should have its own website. We hope that today’s discussion really shone a light on the benefits which can be obtained when you’ve got your own official website up and running to represent you 24/7. There also a lot of other benefits to having your own website but we hope that you take this as the sign you’ve been waiting for to go and create your own site.

Now, we wanted to pass on a question to you: do you think that businesses have much to gain or lose if they have their own website?

the-importance-of-having-a-website

Infographic by: visual.ly

Memes and I: Why the Meme Culture Is Not Your Enemy

Meme-Culture

The land of the internet is certain a fascinating one. It enables different cultures to mingle and share ideas. Some ideas, however, seem to spread faster than most. When an idea has turned viral, that is when it is called a meme.

Hello everyone and welcome to another discussion by Fishnet! We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We dive into different topics as it pertain to the use of the internet and the fun (and not so fun) things that are born from it. Today’s discussion is something that we feel is quite important. We have certainly come across a lot of the adults and the elderly which feel that the younger sets of internet users muddy up the waters with trash ideas.

The general consensus of the adult population is that memes are something that is negative. Are they really as negative as they seem? Is there an active purpose to a meme? This is what we shall be exploring with today’s discussion and we certainly hope that you join us for it!

What is a Meme?

It’s rather difficult to really pinpoint what a meme is. What we can all agree upon is a meme is a socially spread idea. They started as humor-tinged ideas which were made to either poke fun at human behavior. They are generally used to express an idea or a reaction to an idea that has been going around.

A meme is an idea which sort of acts like a common cold in the rate that it spreads. It is something that can be shared on social media or is something that is posted on forums like Reddit and spreads like wildfire. Memes have evolved through the years. Rather than just being used to express humor, they are now actively used in political conversations and protests.

It is found that a majority of those that use memes are in their early twenties to the mid-thirties. These are the generation of people that grew up with the internet. A lot of those who are in their forties and older find it quite difficult to digest the idea of a meme. The people in those age set tend to believe that it is a waste of time. We’re here to express the idea that memes are not the enemy—they never have been. In fact, memes are a healthy manifestation of communication.

Why Have Memes Become So Popular?

Memes are shared to express a variety of emotions. They can be used to congratulate individuals and praise positive behavior. At the same time, memes can be created to ridicule and call to attention the seemingly out of touch reactions and responses that some people have been having lately. Here are a few notable examples:

BBQ Becky and Permit Patty Meme

These two memes have been used to call attention to the intolerant reactions of two Caucasian women who, in separate occasions, called law enforcement on people of color for no good reason. BBQ Becky started from a video that was uploaded on YouTube. It was a video of a white woman who had apparently called the police over some black men who were having a BBQ at a public park in Oakland.

From there, it has turned into a photoshop meme of the woman on the phone seemingly calling the police for other absurd events which involve persons of color. Permit Patty was pretty much the same except the source video was a white woman who had called the police over a black eight-year-old girl who was selling water.

The spread of the meme helped to draw attention to the seemingly abuse of the use of the police force against persons of color—an act that was perpetuated by mostly white individuals. These memes help to strike a frank look at the actions that seem so acceptable to Caucasians yet utterly ridiculous for everyone else.

 Gene Wilder’s Tell Me More Meme

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is one which a lot of people will find familiar. This particular meme features a still from the movie where Gene Wilder’s expression seemingly looks like he’s mocking the person that he’s listening to.

With a lot of people speaking out of ignorance or are being hypocritical, this meme is a response meme which is used to reflect the mocking response that’s given as a reaction. This particular meme has enjoyed quite a long life in the internet. It is still something that is commonly used when calling out armchair activists which are so vocal and rabid online but do not actually do anything to help people outside of the online sphere.

Why Are Memes Not the Enemy?

There are a lot of good reasons why people should generally stop referring to memes as trash ideas or irrelevant to today’s intellectual conversation. Here are some of them:

Speedy Spread of Ideas and Events

Memes are used primarily to spread an idea, an event, or words at a rapid rate. The events of BBQ Becky and many others like her are an example of how fast the knowledge of a happening can spread. When an issue needs to have rapid awareness or response, a meme can help get the job done.

Affirmative Action

A lot of adults feel that many of the younger generation do not care about current events enough to take affirmative action regarding injustice. Memes help to rouse the attention of the younger generation—the very generation that mostly uses social media—and makes them very aware of what has been happening.

For example, Permit Patty who was running a business which sold and distributed cannabis for dogs felt the swift justice that could be felt because of the rapid spread of a meme. The companies which had supplied her with products all discontinued their association with her. So she no longer carries the security that allowed her to become so arrogant and disruptive.

Memes are, indeed, not the enemy. While they can be used to be as disruptive as fake news, memes are more heavily regulated by the people that see them. The younger generation of internet users makes it a point that their version of internet culture isn’t used in a negative way. Have you come across memes? Do you think they are a positive tool or the enemy?

Accountability in the Digital Age: Why Fake News Is Such a Big Deal

Fake-News

The internet has always been a tool that has been used to obtain and share information. Back in the day, we never had to worry whether or not the information we found was made deliberately to deceive.  In today’s world, things are a lot more nebulous.

The online world was once considered to be a beacon of hope for knowledge and information. It was supposed to be the tool that would connect people, cultures, countries, and pretty much the whole world and bring it all together in a celebration of intellectual excellence. The net made it completely possible for people to pursue ideas and share them with others.

Eventually, like in most things that involve money or politics, things got ugly. This is what we want to talk about today. We are going to be discussing the concept of fake news and what it is such a big deal for everyone and should be actively fought.

What is Fake News?

fake-news-tiles

Fake News is exactly as it sounds to be. While it doesn’t have to be actual ‘news’ but it is any story or information that is passed around with the explicit intention to deceive people who read it into believing that something has happened a certain way—or that someone has done or said something that they did not actually do.

If you are familiar with the idea of gas lighting, this is it in a fully digital form. Gas lighting is when someone else fully tries to convince you that you said or did something when you actually did not. Fake News can take the form of a quotation, a photo, or even full on news article that is published. They are primarily spread online through social media and through blogs and websites which do not have any clear indication of the source or who the people who are behind the site are.

Fake News is a disruptive presence in already divided world. Many of us are already struggling with trying to communicate with each other. Instead of trying to find better ways to communicate, many of us has fallen to trying to hit other people using fake news as their weapon.

Why is Fake News a Big Deal?

fake-news-computer

The land of the net has become a battlefield in the last decade or so. Instead of becoming a place where people come together and share factual events and exchanges, the net has become the tool to create more and more lines in the sand. People are pretty passionate about their beliefs in how to live, how to raise kids, what to eat, what to watch, their beliefs in politics and so many more things.

With that factored in, it was only natural that people won’t always agree on the same thing and that’s actually okay. What’s wrong is that Fake News is being used to achieve these things:

Misinformation

The point of fake news is to mislead and lie to people. They make it seem that anyone who is a figurehead of a certain belief, faction, or organization is a terrible human being. We’ve seen this when the likes of PewDiePie, the largest YouTube star in the world, was taken out of context again and again and made it seem like he was the coming of the new Hitler or that he was a misogynistic pig.

There are “news” outlets which publish information that are so out of touch with actuality and so bent on portraying people as a certain thing (usually something negative) that they outright lie and omit information just to get people to agree with their narrative.

A lot of people do not make it a point to research beyond the article that they are reading and this empowers fake news to spread the misinformation.

Cultivating Active Aggression

Other than having differing ideas, people like to feel things. They like to be happy but mostly they like to be angry. The whole culture of social justice warriors and keyboard activists are taking a more aggressive turn. Fake News empowers these people to feel righteous in their aggression and their anger toward unsuspecting targets.

While feeling angry is anyone’s basic right, it is what a lot of people do with that anger that can have a truly sinister turn in the world. People’s businesses get boycotted; people even lose their jobs just because an internet mob was fed wrong information. This has happened in the case where a YouTuber has mistakenly deduced that a certain man was the culprit of a crime. This led to that person being the recipient of harassment and grave threats against their property and their person.

It didn’t even matter that it was proven that the guy was actually innocent. This culture of active aggression is one which is empowered by false information and Fake News.

How to Spot Fake News

propaganda

As a person who actively uses the internet, it is your responsibility to peruse and carefully analyze the information that you are consuming. There are several things that you can do to actively spot fake news. Here are some of them:

Comparative Reading

People generally stick to a single article to obtain their information and form their decisions or their feelings about a topic or a person. This helps fake news take deeper root into our societal consciousness. You can fight that by making it a point to do comparative reading. Read more than one source to see if the information you are consuming is factual and not biased or false.

It can be difficult to try to find ideas or sources that go against what you believe but it is necessary in order to be a better informed individual. It is critical that we evolve past our biases and understand that there is more than what we want to believe that is actually happening. It is also completely possible that the faction that you do not agree with has an actual point or is innocent of what the Fake News has said they were guilty of doing or saying.

Take Note of the Source

The trouble with Fake News is that they can pop up anywhere. They can take the form of a mimic site which takes the form of a publication or a journal body that you respect. You may believe that you are seeing facts presented to you when they are in fact, lies. What you can do is to take note of the source. Is it the actual and official source of the publication or person in question?

If you spot fake news published on a regular basis, you should make it a point to actively avoid sites which do that.

We hope that today’s discussion helped open your eyes about the very serious problem that has been invading the sanctity of journalism and responsible information sharing. We all live on this rock together and will do us no good if we actively consume details or “facts” which lead us to actively hate another faction or people.

We all need to take an active role and not let our personal beliefs and biases blind us to the fact that even the points we agree with could be, in fact, manufactured propaganda. Have you come across fake news? What did it look like? What do you do when you come across fake news?

Keeping It Offline: How You Can Maintain Your Privacy in the Land of the Net

Privacy

We are willing to bet that you’ve heard this line before: once it’s online, it’s there forever. Privacy in the land of the net seems to be highly difficult but not entirely impossible. Today, we wanted to give a spotlight on the concept of privacy because this is something that a lot of people tend to take for granted nowadays.

The net has made it a lot easier to share information regarding our lives and our personal information. We share them quite freely, thinking that since we are sharing them with our friends and family members so our information should be safe. What a lot of people do not account for is how secure the accounts of their friends and family members are.

There are people whose accounts can already be compromised and are being used by people who are trying to harvest personal information of people in their friend lists. There’s a lot we unwittingly share online like:

  • Our present location
  • Where we’re going
  • Where our house is
  • Where and when we won’t be at home
  • What are usual activities are
  • Who we are usually with
  • Where we work
  • Who the people in our family are
  • Our spending capacity

And so many more! This is why big companies and criminal elements want to get access to our social media and other online presence. When it comes to being private or ensuring one’s privacy, there are a lot different things you can do. Things like:

Make Your Profiles Private

Your social media accounts all have a privacy setting which you can set. You should always try to see what the setting of your profile is. Facebook always has a “view as” option so you can see what someone who is not on your friend list sees when they go to your profile. You can make that a fairly regular exercise as Facebook tends to tweak settings without really telling their users.

For other forms of social media, there are ways to check if your profile is presently set to public or private. It would be good if you make it a point to do a diagnostic of how private your accounts are. If they aren’t, you should tweak your privacy accordingly. That way, you can always be sure that your accounts are safe from harmful elements and individuals.

Be Selective of Who You Add

In the world of today, it can be tempting to add as many people that you know unto your social media profiles. It could be because you don’t want them to feel alienated regardless of how tenuous the link between the two of you could be. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of added friends on social media, you need to ask yourself: are they really your friends?

There are a lot of people that try to add you because they wish to find out more about you so that they could use it against you. Terrible, to think about, but it is something that has happened countless times before. So when it comes to your social media, it is important to be very picky of the people that you add. You can think of it as a dry run for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Remember that one relative that just pries into your business all the time? That would be like handing them a first class seat to your activities—giving them more ammo to use against you.

Rethink Before You Post

Social Media has made it the norm to share photos and videos of yourself and others regardless of whether it was something that other people may not appreciate. While a lot of users generally think nothing of tagging the location where they presently are—particularly if they are off on vacation—not a lot of people realize that this is a rather big security risk.

When you share information about where you currently are or where you are going to be staying, you’re pretty much making a big announcement of where criminal elements can come and find you. You’re also making it quite clear that you are far away from your home and therefore unable to protect it.

Whenever you feel that you want to upload a photo of yourself, always consider that you are not just sharing a harmless photo. Every photo you snap has micro information embedded in it like when the snap was taken, what it was taken with, and many others. Photo recognition software also makes it possible to track you through the net as long as they have your features.

Only Use a Secure Wireless Connection

The network that you use to surf the net I more important than you think. There are a lot of “free” and “open” network connections in public which are seemingly innocuous. So whenever people are out and about and don’t have their own connection, they tend to make use of free public connection.

Not a lot of people realize that connecting to unsecure wireless connection makes them highly vulnerable as anyone who bothers to know how can actually gain access to the gadgets or computers that are connected to the network. If you’re wondering what could be obtained whenever you go online using an unsecured connection, here’s some of them:

  • Your email account
  • Social media name profile
  • Banking information
  • Your phone contacts

So it would be in your best interest to always use a secured connection when you do your browsing.

A lot of the time, people generally overlook the power of the information that they readily share online. The small details that we share like the inside of our homes or the magnitude of our purchases can all make us a potential target for actual theft and even identity theft. There are a lot of things that we think is okay but is actually putting our personal security at risk.

We hope that today’s discussion will help you better secure your privacy. What vulnerabilities presently exist for your privacy in the land of the net?

Avoid These: Two Common Internet Scams Still Alive and Well

Internet-Scams

Welcome back to another internet centered discussion brought to you by Fishnet! As always, we are your partner in promoting healthy, responsible, and smart utilization of the internet.

Now that we have established that the internet is a pretty great place which carries both benefits and threats, we feel it is important to explore those threats further. After all, one of the best things that a person can do to avoid falling into a trap is to know that such a trap does, in actuality, exist, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at about two common internet scams which are still pretty alive and well in the year 2018. Of course, we’re not content with just clarifying the threats. We want to empower you guys on how to effectively avoid them and what to do in the event that you end up falling for it anyway. Let’s get started!

1.)  Phishing Sites and Emails

phishing

What is It

The whole concept of ‘phishing’ is not anything new in the world of the internet. In fact, it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so to speak. When you are ‘phished’, a program that is usually embedded in the site you’re visiting or the email you’re reading. It hides behind a link that you will usually have to click.

Once the link is selected, the program triggers and either:

  • Takes note of and record your present username and password for the email account you’re using
  • Hijack the said email account
  • Copy the person’s contact list and automatically send out a phishing email to others

There are other objectives for the phishing emails but those are the most common ones. Usually, a phishing email or site will try to present itself as a legitimate brand—usually a bank. Scoundrels generally calculate the odds that a person will be using a particular bank and send an email saying that their account has been compromised or that there have been odd large purchases. In order to process the dispute, it tells the user to log in their username, password, and the account number for the bank account.

When that is done, you have successfully given over the information that they needed in order to access your bank.

How to Avoid It

Phishing emails and websites try its hardest to pass off as legitimate. They will try to copy the original headers, the greetings, and they will even try to sign off using the name and position of the relevant individual. However, there are certain things that you can always check in order to see if the email or the site is legitimate:

  • Checking the URL – the official site will never have numbers embedded in the URL
  • Read for any grammatical errors – a lot of the time, the criminals aren’t from places which use English as a first language so there will be several grammatical errors in phishing emails
  • Regularly do a search for common phishing tactics – when you are actively trying to learn more regarding phishing trends and tactics, you lessen the likelihood you becoming a victim of it

What to Do When Phished

Even if you do take every precaution to watch out for phishing sites or emails, they keep changing so you may end up falling for it still. So what do you do when you’ve been phished?

Change Your Passwords

If you have other accounts in that computer, phone, or gadget that you’re presently logged into, it would be in your best interest to change all of the passwords.

Scan Your System

Anti-virus programs have a regular schedule when they scan your system but you can also do a manual scan. Have your anti-virus program do an immediate diagnostic to see if you have been laid vulnerable to a phishing attack.

Notify the Copied Website or Brand

A lot of the time, banks and big brands do not get reports of phishing attempts because a lot of users legitimately believe that they are accessing official links and giving their information to official employees or representatives—not really realizing until it’s too late that they’ve been duped.

When you have been duped, it is very important that you do not keep this information to yourself. Instead, contact the very brand that has been used to obtain your information. If you were duped by a site that copied your bank, notify your bank immediately. This will let them know that their site has been copied and they can warn others from falling for the same problem.

They can also help you obtain your security back.

2.)  Employment Search Result Scam

email

What Is It

The net has significantly helped with trying to find employment for many. One merely needs to sign up with a job search website, share their credentials or work experience, or even upload a resume with their contact information. From then, the person merely needs to either wait to be contacted after they have sent in an application to a particular company or business.

Another boon is that they can be contacted—without any provocation—by any interested parties which have viewed their resume and think that they are suitable candidates. The trouble begins when fraudulent individuals send emails to people claiming to be companies that are interested in hiring. The usual approach is that they will claim to be a foreign company that is seeking to gain a foothold in your country.

They will usually claim that they cannot process transactions with parties in your country and will need you as a “financial representative” or the “head of the local branch” to accept payments and forward them to your employer.

What will happen is that you will start receiving checks that you will have to forward. You will supposedly be receiving a cut from each check that you forward. The trouble starts when the checks start to bounce and your bank will be coming after you for making transfers that do not amount to anything. They will be pursuing you to pay back the amount that they have forwarded to the “company you work for”. Another usual consequence is that you can find your personal bank depleted or your identity stolen.

How to Avoid It

Whenever you receive a job offer, do proper research. Here are a few points that you can use to guide you in your search:

  • Is the company an actual existing one?
  • Have there been reports of this brand being used in scams?

It can be extremely tempting to think that you could be the future head of the local branch of a “strong company”. However, practicing diligence must always come first.

What to Do When Victimized

Alert Your Bank

Being honest with your bank is an important step. They can put transfers on hold or even cancel them. They can also put the company or the persons affiliated with the company on their blacklist. This way, whenever someone else tries to transfer to them, the bank will know right away that another person has been fooled and they with block the transaction.

This has now become possible because of the many other people that have spoken up about the scam that they have fallen prey to. If you have been duped, always notify the necessary parties—especially when your finances are involved.

Cease Communications Immediately

If you stop transfers, they will start to threaten you about “breaking the contract” and will even demand a fee from you. It would be in your best interest to stop talking to them.

We hope that today’s discussion help you to better understand what you should be avoiding and what to do next if you find yourself the unfortunate victim of one of these internet scams. Have you come across these scams in your internet use? If so, what happened?

Internet Safety: What You Should Always Remember

Internet-Safety

The whole realm of the internet is one which is rife with both positives and negatives. When using the net, your safety is first and foremost your personal responsibility.

Hello and welcome to Fishnet. We are an online publication which dedicates itself to the discussion of the World Wide Web. We believe that it is critical for everyone to have a strong working knowledge of this tool. There are a lot of good things that can come from the net: faster communication, general connectivity, and so many more. Of course, this only means to imply that the other side of the coin in true as well.

The net is a place that is full of dangers.

The Dangers

When it comes to the whole idea of the web, a lot of people get carried away with the thinking that the net has no inherent dangers with it. After all, if they’ve managed to use it before and not come across any problems, there shouldn’t be any trouble in the future right? Wrong.

Here’s a just a few of the dangers that are in lingering in the web:

  • Key loggers
  • Mimic sites
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Other users

It is important to note that these are just a few of the dangers that can be found in the web. We say this often but we can’t help it because there is much truth to it: there have been far too many individuals who have fallen prey to the dangers of the web. We emphasize this because we do want people to practice internet safety.

Internet Safety

The internet can be a pretty great place. It is somewhere you can go to learn about things that you’ve always wanted to find out more about. It can help you make things. It can be your source of livelihood. All this—and more—can be achieved if you are aware of how to practice internet safety.

If you are unsure of how that is achieved or what you can do to make it happen, here are a few pointers regarding what you should always remember:

Never Give Your Private Information to Strangers

The internet is a pretty powerful place. It can connect complete strangers to each other in the blink of an eye—or in this case, a few clicks of a mouse. While the social aspect of the net is one which people would like to cultivate, there are those that use social programs like chatrooms or messaging applications to dupe people. In the worst case, they can even steal your identity.

So whenever you are speaking to a complete stranger online, it would be to your best interest to never ever share your personal information like your full name, address, and many other personal information that can compromise your safety and your security.

This can seem rather difficult especially if you are aiming to use the internet to find relationships. Any person will tell you that exchanging private information is always a no-no—especially when it comes to strangers. Your private information can be used against you if you are not being careful about it.

Think Before Your Click

It can be fairly easy to just be on a clicking spree when you feel that you are quite familiar with the webpage that you are visiting. The trouble with being click-happy is the fact that there are nefarious individuals which take advantage of this bad habit. There are those that build pop up ads which are positioned well enough to get more people to click on it.

Once selected, it either directs the individual to a mimic site, an ad heavy site full of malware, or even starts a download of a program or virus. With so much at stake, it would be in your best interest to be economical when it comes to your clicks. In fact, it would be even better if you think before you click on a window or a link.

When something becomes rote, it is very easy to make mistakes or to feel overconfident. It is exactly this which nefarious people out there are relying upon. They know for a fact that people who regularly surf the web get complacent and may end up clicking a link that they normally wouldn’t have. It is this one mistake that can lead to some rather costly ramifications for the user.

Regularly Scan Your Computer or Gadget

Having an anti-virus program along with firewall protection software is a must for anyone who likes to go on the web. Such programs help to keep you safe whenever you make use of the internet. They regularly update their list of known threats and malware in order to effectively block them from penetrating your computer.

They will even tell you if the page you are trying to visit is compromised or has been known to have been hacked or has had records of being used to infect people’s systems. If you are going to be a regular fixture on the internet, it is important that you protect yourself and your system by having anti-virus programs do a regular scan of the system and the files.

Don’t just rely on the program itself to do a regularly scheduled scan of your system. In fact, it is most ideal if before and after you use the web, you do a mandatory scan of your system. This is one of the best preemptive and safe practices that web users can have to better secure their safety and the integrity of their computer or gadget.

Grow Your Knowledge of Best Practices

Right now, you’re well on your way in doing that because you’re reading this article but we hope that you don’t stop there. In order to attain a good understanding of internet safety, it is always smart to grow your knowledge or the relevant practices or habits that you should keep up. In that sense, it should also help you comprehend which habits are actually rather detrimental to your safety.

When it comes to surfing the net, the threats which arise only grow more complex with time. Newer styles of malware or scams are created. So it would be good for anyone to obtain a better understanding of internet issues or vulnerabilities which can exist.

Before You Go

We hope that you carry the information that we’ve given you as you move forward with your internet utilization. We can all agree that the net is a pretty special place. It is one which can carry a truckload of negatives but it does not outweigh the positives. When it comes to the internet, being smart and practicing safe habits will help keep you—and your loved ones—safe.

Now, we’d like to turn the question to you: what do you always keep in mind when it comes to your internet habits?

internet safety

Infographic by: graphs.net