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Citizens need to provide their own civil defense against cybercrimes.
VPNs are no substitute for the CyberHawk Internet safety protocols, which are the best methods to stay safe online. VPNs should be understood as supplemental security in addition to what only you can provide yourself.
A VPN is a service similar to a firewall, to protect your information when you connect to an Internet service provider (ISP). It is an encryption service. There are two types of VPN services, free and those provided at cost.
VPNs provided at cost claim to be safer and perhaps are superior to free VPN services; but a VPN is simply another network--a proxy--which can be hacked like any other. That said, it is more difficult to hack a VPN than an ISP. VPNs offer very limited protection from government surveillance.
Read the terms and conditions for your VPN provider to be sure they will not sell your information and to fully understand the level of protection they provide.
Below you will find information on both types of VPNs, with links to their services. You can find instructions to establish a VPN on your computer or smart phone on their sites.
Tunnel Bear VPN has a free plan which can be upgraded at cost. Its highly rated in many 2019 reviews.
Hotspot Shield VPN is rated the best by Techradar and G2.
Open VPN is highly rated by G2.
Nord VPN is an editor's choice of PC Magazine
Private Internet Access VPN is an editor's choice of PC Magazine and highly rated by WIRED magazine.
Mullvad VPN is rated the best overall VPN by PC World magazine.
Hackers: Its been said there are two types of hackers, "white hat" and "black hat," or good and bad. The former are said to be good because of a just cause or to find vulnerabilities in systems after being asked to do so by those system administrators. The latter are openly criminal. This popular distinction, however, is factually untrue.
If a person is hired or asked to test a system for vulnerabilities, its not hacking. Its contractual labor and network security work. Moreover, one person's "just cause" another person would consider unjust. The subjectivity of these distinctions is abject and no distinction at all. Its merely a blurring of the line between what is legal and illegal.
In the objective reality, there is no such thing as an ethical hacker. All hackers are criminals and most if not all of them use illegal software--illegal under US and International law.
Victims of hackers sometimes turn to the dark web to obtain hacking software of their own or seek help from individuals aligned with Anonymous (a self proclaimed "white hat" hackers group), to help them. This "spy vs. spy" approach to the problem of hackers is simply irrational, immoral and has only made the problem of hacking worse.
Hackers engage in the activities listed below, all of which are a detriment to national economies, security, privacy and personal safety. They are cybercriminals.
Viruses: There are many types of computer viruses--software programs which infect computer software and/or hardware. The most common are: boot sector, direct action, resident, non resident, multipartite, polymorphic, overwrite, browser hijacker, web scripting, macro, directory, file infector, encrypted, companion, network, stealth, sparse infector, FAT and spacefiller. Its difficult to impossible to say which of these types are the most common due to lack of reporting. They are all bad, corrupting your software and sometimes destroying your hardware.
Malware: As with viruses, there are different types of malware. To an extent the terms are synonyms--viruses are malware. The difference arises when talking about worms (viruses which copy themselves to infect more computers), Trojan horses (a virus disguised as legitimate software), ransomware (a virus which disables a computer until money is paid to the hacker) and scareware (a virus designed to scare/terrorize people).
Spyware: Spyware is a type of virus/malware which gathers information from the infected computer and sends it to hackers.
Phishing: Often also called "spear phishing," phishing is a practice of gaining information by fraud. Sometimes a Trojan horse, other times spyware, the term phishing is a generalization for this type of deceit. Spear phishing specifically refers to e-mails attempting to accomplish this type of cybercrime.
DDoS: This term means "denial of service" and is a type of hacker attack. Its a virus designed to shut down/disable a computer network. Sometimes its perpetuated for ransom, other times simply to destroy the targeted system.
Botnet: A botnet is multiple computers infected with viruses/malware such they form their own network. Its like multiple hackers attacking the same target, or how a hacker can amplify their attack. Any type of virus and/or malware can be distributed by a botnet.
Keylogger: This type of attack records the keyboard activity of the user, keystrokes, and transmits them to the hacker. The user is unaware and so this type of virus is usually used to illegally obtain passwords so the hacker can then use them to break into systems, bank accounts, etc.
Spam: Spam is electronic harassment. It refers to unwanted e-mail, usually, but can also refer to text messages and robocalls. Its a type of attack performed so other information (e-mails, texts, calls) are not received. Its a tactic used to increase the likelihood of downloading viruses/malware or as a form of high pressure sales/marketing similar to junk mail.
Cyberstalking is a type of terrorism, usually domestic. Its a crime, but it is rarely to never investigated by police or the FBI.
Unlike other types of terrorism, there is no political agenda. The agenda of the stalker is simply to destroy the quality of life for the person stalked--to make them feel powerless and under the control of their stalker.
Usually the stalker will seek some extortion from their victim or otherwise hold them hostage by electronic harassment.
If you are being cyberstalked, your stalker is monitoring all your personal and professional information as it might be found online.
It is important to file reports with police and the FBI, but ultimately and in most cases you will need to hire an attorney or severely limit the amount of information about yourself online.
Cyberbullying is usually done by children, young adults or the mentally ill.
Unlike physical bullies, confronting the bully almost always escalates the bullying. The bully takes delight in conflict like misery loves company.
The best way to deal with a cyberbully is to report them to the networks on which they are harassing you. Taking screenshots and reporting abuse usually works.
When a victim confronts the bully, however, the network may become confused as to who is the victim and who is the bully.
Unlike cyberstalkers, the cyberbullies have no agenda. They simply lack maturity or lost control to their mental illness.
Cyberbullies can become cyberstalkers.
Disinformation is propaganda which may also be libel/slander, cyberbullying or cyberstalking.
It is increasingly common among political partisans, religious fundamentalists and the intellectually disabled.
Its questionable whether or not disinformation campaigns are knowingly misleading or if their authors are willfully ignorant to know better.
Moreover, disinformation is a type of anti-intellectualism. There are those who believe what they believe is protected by their freedom of speech; but this is not the case.
It is illegal to cry "FIRE!" in a crowded theater and cyberspace is a place more people occupy than any other space in the world.
When disinformation becomes stalking or bullying it should be reported to authorities.
“Of the 13 crimes measured, only two garner majority-level concern from Americans -- 71% say they frequently or occasionally fear that computer hackers will access their personal, credit card or financial information and 67% worry this often about identity theft.”
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After the seminar, participants are tested and those who answer all questions correctly are given a certificate and CyberHawk window sticker.
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