Scallywag

Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.

~ German Proverb ~

3 Reasons Why You Can’t Trust the Web

January 16th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 19 secs

In the Web we should not trust.

Some people are frightened by spiders. Yet they’ll happily trust the Web.

Despite the fact there are all sorts of predators out there who see you as their next morsel or meal ticket, most people leap onto the Web like it’s a comfy bed. But no matter it feels, you can’t trust the Web.

For starters, there are bad men out there, as you know; creepy people wanting to hurt and exploit. A small percentage, they’re immensely dangerous. Wreaking havoc by bringing down sites with denial of service attacks, stealing identities, and hacking into utilities, they try to undermine the ability of the Web. Like Bond film villains, these guys probably laugh maniacally whilst exploiting our trust to extort and wield power over the world. It’s a worry.

Then there’s the types who are after our children, or want to hurt women. These individuals are sick to the core, using deceptiveness to ensnare unsuspecting people with false identities, and other deceits. Hiding inside the Web suits their coldblooded behavior, giving them more power than ever before. So, sadly, a degree of distrust is necessary these days, purely for self-defense.

Now I know these former two perils are well known. But there is another worth being wary of. Out there in the ether are an incredible number of people who use the Web to con and exploit with two-bit offers, scam deals, and lame promises. Unlike the other menacing minorities, these swindlers make up a vast bulk of the Web’s content. So if you search “friend”, for example, you are likely to come across sites plugging pills to make you impossibly attractive, sites promoting buckets of protein powder for outrageous muscle growth, and self-proclaimed experts promoting courses and tricks to help you master the Universe. R-i-g-h-t.

Aside from the hooey factor, this junk seriously undercuts the Web with its gathered gunk blocking your ability to find things. The purveyors of this eye-rolling garbage use tactics like disguised pop-ups, lock-in sites, and ads faking news. Then they cookie-cut these websites by the dozen, purely to trawl and dupe. Designed to pull in a few dollars here and a pound of two there, their sole intent is to exploit you. They see the Web as a way that they can con enough of us to profit. It’s easy to say don’t trust them. But their disguise techniques are getting ever harder to discern. While it’s true they do offer products, it’s all a very tawdry fraud.

That’s why you mustn’t trust the web too much. Like the hucksters and fakes who plied their trade back in the 1800s, the Web gives their untrustworthy modern day equals a fresh setting. Once, they moved from town to town, pulling people in to fleece and leave. Today, it’s done digitally, scouring all corners of the globe for usery. That’s why trust is taking a serious hit.

This is a big topic, isn’t it? So if you really want to lock down your security, do consult an expert. Obviously updated antivirus software, firewalls, and so on are important first steps. Otherwise, here’s 5 of my own personal tips to reduce Web-based risk:

Determine trustworthiness first. Does everything look right? Are there pop-ups, flashing ads, and advertorials galore on the site? If so, it tells you the hosts are more interested in exploiting than assisting. When ads dominate, my trust declines.

Look for good people. Why do so many folk feel it’s fine to hide on the web? If they’re doing legitimate business then they need to introduce themselves. Sites minus people are a red flag for me.

Distrust the promise pitch. Sites chock-full of guarantees, promises, ridiculous giveaways, and time-limited offers tell you it’s a sting operation. Avoid like the plague!

Review for reality. Are the hosts locatable in a real place? Can you contact them? If you can’t communicate at all, click away. The same applies if everything feels too good to be true. Shiny, highly polished people presented with photoshopped perfection aren’t real either. If a sense of honest humanity is missing you are being sold.

Respect. Whenever a site talks about a topic without giving regard to you as a person, then chances are, they don’t respect you. This is a big clue to their attitude to you, revealing their hidden agenda. Perhaps they see you as their cash cow? Or maybe just their ego trip?  Either way, don’t be in a rush to hand over your trust. You deserve much more respect than that.

 

Having talked about trust so much, and why you should be Web wary, I would be fascinated to find out about your own experiences. Your thoughts, and insights about on online trustworthiness would be wonderful to discuss, so feel free.


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