The Internet has changed our lives. I challenge anyone to dispute that. It is a technology that has changed how we communicate and do business and it has effected this change in a shorter period of time than any other technology preceding it. But.... It has not changed human nature. What it has done is given human nature a new outlet that is being exploited in the same ways we have always exploited whatever is made available to us. The difference is that now exploitation, good and bad, can be done 24 hours a day 7 days a week while being completely anonymous. This means people can shop, socialize, Spam and scam whenever and whatever they want. This means that people, good and bad, are plotting all the time to get your attention, your money or maybe even your identity. The Internet has made all that possible.
ISN'T THAT NEAT?
Well it all depends on your perspective and if yours is like most people there is a sense of losing control. Why should I open my inbox and have to sift through and delete all the messages trying to help me be more potent, pay less on my mortgage and become irresistible to every woman on the planet. Not to mention having women, drugs and banned videos delivered to my door. Oh and I forgot about the opportunity to help a Nigerian hide $60,000,000. Temptation is what it is all about and although there are a lot of valid and acceptable advantages to doing business on the Internet there are a lot of evil people out there trolling for the uneducated.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
We all need to learn to protect ourselves. E-mail is the number one source of Internet based problems. Learn to recognize what is legitimate and what isn't. Keep your e-mail address from being distributed without your permission. Discourage “friends” from submitting your address to joke lists and get rich quick schemes. If you must sign up for everything that comes along get an e-mail in yahoo or hotmail that is solely for that purpose. Do not put your e-mail on a web site unless you want unsolicited solicitations. If you need to have an e-mail on a website go to http://automaticlabs.com/products/enkoderform/ to learn how to protect it from being harvested by people who might want to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Finally learn about the technology that is out there to help us block and sort through what we are going to get no matter what we do. Most e-mail programs such as Outlook and Mozilla allow you to designate what is Spam and once designated an e-mail with those same characteristic will go straight to the trash. Other programs such as Mailblocks ( www.mailblocks.com) and Mailwasher (www.mailwasher.net) might also be something to look at. They are but 2 of many software solutions that are being developed.
BUT WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO DO IS...
Remember what is free usually isn't, what seems illegal usually is and if it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Use common sense, resist temptation and use your e-mail accounts wisely. It can be a rough world out there and now it can all get into your PC so be careful and stay educated to the dangers.