The Internet is far from a safe place these days. Malicious websites, rogue software and internet criminals are making news headlines on a nearly daily basis. A new poll by Digital Citizens Alliance goes to show US consumers are afraid when using the Internet. Close to half of them have been victims of scams or fraud in the past, and Bitcoin ransomware is partially responsible.
The Internet has become a far more hostile place than it has ever been. By connecting more people to the World Wide Web, the chances of introducing criminal elements will only increase. Furthermore, these criminals are outsmarting security experts at every turn, and they can wreak serious havoc among computer users.
Should You Be Afraid To Use The Internet?
The new study by Digital Citizens Alliance paints a very worrisome picture right now. Almost 70% of all Americans reported finding malware, ransomware, or other rogue software on their computers in the past year. Ignoring this trend is no longer a viable option, yet there are only so many things people can do to actively protect themselves.
One of the biggest culprits is Bitcoin ransomware, which poses a double threat to most consumers. First of all, they lose access to their devices and have no convenient way to circumvent the problem. Secondly, they need to buy Bitcoin to pay the ransom fee, which most consumers are unfamiliar with. As these numbers of attacks rise, Bitcoin’s reputation in the media will only get worse.
The Digital Citizens Alliance report states:
“Americans want their leaders – whether they work in government or at the tech companies that bring us technology – to step up and combat this epidemic of online crime and risk. Americans deserve to feel safe whether they are shopping in a mall or on Amazon. They shouldn’t have to worry about someone stealing their credit card information, whether it’s at a restaurant or on Etsy.”
But that is not the only threat, as fraud plays a significant role in the “fear’ department as well. One in five respondents claimed they have ordered something online but never received it. They did not get a refund for their order either. Those who paid with a credit card may have had their information stolen at some point. Payment cards are a very insecure payment method for the Internet, yet they are so commonly accepted, people hardly give it a second thought.
What Can Be Done To Improve The situation?
The Digital Citizens Alliance report also mentions how 71% of respondents feel they need to be “on guard” every time they use the Internet. With so many consumers suffering from bad experiences in the past, these numbers are not entirely surprising to see.Then again, proper solutions have to be found to address this situation.
Unfortunately, the Internet Is well beyond the control of governments and corporations. Granted, they can firewall the World Wide Web, but people will use proxies and Tor to get around those artificial blockades. Isolating oneself will not make the problems go away. Education is direly needed on how to protect one’s computer and other Internet-connected devices.
JP is a freelance copywriter and SEO writer who is passionate about various topics. The majority of his work focuses on Bitcoin, blockchain, and financial technology. He is contributing to major news sites all over the world, including NewsBTC, The Merkle, Samsung Insights, and TransferGo.