Don’t forget the web’s dark side
Many of us still have the naïve belief that the internet is a wondrous place – and some places definitely are.
It is frightening that as many as 50 million South Africans could have had their personal information exposed in a massive data leak.
So much of our lives these days is digital and that information, if stolen, could be used for a number of nefarious purposes – ranging from the relatively benign, although irritating, approaches by direct marketers and spam artists; to the potentially life-altering, such as identity theft.
The leak raises a number of important issues about South African cyber-security or, more accurately, the lack of it.
The Protection of Personal Information Act has not been signed into law by President Jacob Zuma, creating a legal vacuum in which hackers, data thieves and unscrupulous dealers can run wild.
At the same time, many of us are reckless with our digital, and internet usage.
This makes us vulnerable to “phishing” attempts; hacking of our social media accounts and direct theft through electronic payment systems.
And, millions of us are tracked every day by the very software, including browsers, that we use.
Many of us still have the naïve belief that the internet is a wondrous place – and some places definitely are. But we should never forget that cyberspace also has a dark, and potentially dangerous, side.