The internet is a lot of things. It is a shopping center, it is a community gathering place, it is a library, and it is even a gaming platform… but just like everything else, the internet has some rumors going around that seem true but are just myths told by people clearly trying to ruin the internet’s reputation. It’s high school over again, and I want to set the records straight on my friend the internet, and make sure you know what is fact and what is fiction.
- Impending internet Armageddon – For many years, people believed that there would be one fateful day when someone would attack the internet in such a way that the whole thing would shut down and we would lose a lot of valuable information. Although that is not out of the realm of possibilities, there is an insurmountable amount of money that has been spent on the safety of the internet as a whole, so the likelihood of an attack actually taking down and destroying a large portion of the world wide web, is just not really feasible.
- I don’t have important information so I must be safe – This one just screams not true without even me having to get too far into it, but you’re here so lets. Assuming you have never ever logged into any bank website or typed your social security number into any form… which I doubt, your computer could still be at risk. There is much more sensitive information on your computer than you think, but even outside of that, your computer could be taken over and used to drain a bank account, and the police will have you to blame… not the hacker. So if that’s not enough of a reason to stay aware, I don’t know what is.
- All of the information on the internet is free – Well, you pay your service provider to use it, so that already doesn’t work. However, if you happen to access the internet from a free public hotspot, all of the ads that you see on any given “free” website are paid for by the company in the ad, and they are showing up for you because the website you are looking has collected your browsing habits, and sold it to the advertisers for valuable impressions. So it’s free to you, but you are giving up some valuable consumer information in return.
- Pornographic websites are going to give your computer a virus – Although at one point this may have been true, this is no longer the case. A recent study showed that only 5% of pronographic websites had any malicious software on it and the highest percentage of the worst websites were actually technology and telecommunications sites.
- Everything you read must be true – I think now more than ever it is important that people know this is NOT TRUE… just like MOST things you read on the internet. We are used to, as a society, to the idea that if we read something in a book or semi-reputable looking piece of literature than it must be true. The internet is a place created by its users and filled with its users, and it’s not that hard to make a reputable looking site these days. Don’t trust everything you read online, some of it might be garbage packaged in a pretty bow, look for sources.
As the internet evolves, so will the lore surrounding it. Most of these myths seem almost dated at this point, but with the advent of new technology like high-speed mobile WiFi hotspots like this company and unlimited cellular data becoming a larger piece of the public zeitgeist, we will slowly start to notice more modern myths taking hold of the public, and the biggest piece of advice I can give you… much like myth #5, don’t believe everything you read online!