16 May 2022
Growing up during the ancient ages, jokes were told of parents who did not understand the foreign languages that their adolescent kids were learning in schools. For instance a teenage boy would visit his counterpart and as ask her to lend him a book titled ‘Waiting for You at the Fence ’. Then the girl would respond by asking whether he had read the other book titled “I Will See You in Ten Minutes” authored by “Lovely Look”. The conversation would continue with the parents completely oblivious of the plans being hatched by their teenage kids.
This might sound laughable, but wait a moment, true to the saying that wonders never cease, today as we read this article, one pertinent question is how many of us know what the same kids now evolved into cyber creatures are doing with those intelligent gadgets that we falsely refer to as mobile phones. The story is not just about our cyber babies but also about us! With 298,728 complaints per year (Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3 – IC3, 2016) consisting of a wide array of Internet scams affecting victims of all nationalities, ages, backgrounds, educational levels, and socio-economic levels nobody is totally safe. These numbers will continue soaring with the entire population being dragged into the cyber world by the broadband access completely unaware of the pitfalls in the murky waters, wading through it is hazardous to all and sundry.
A key first aid rule is to secure yourself first before attempting to help others, otherwise two lives will be at risk! We must always make a deliberate effort to understand the implications of the cyber exposure. The journey to the cyber world starts on earth and fortunately or rather unfortunately, it’s so enticing that we do not realize the pace at which we are moving and when we take off we are so carried away. Up there we find our blind friends cycling the world, that we naturally connect with. We automatically qualify to use some utopian terms like apps, whatapps, facebook, tweet, linkedin, truecaller, flash-share, and many others crafted daily. Equipped with this language, we easily and quickly trend in style in the newly found cyber life.
Down in the busy cyber streets, anyone can get anything under the sun. From buying that desired gift and getting it delivered at your doorstep, learning that degree programme that you’ve always wished, to streaming and downloading video contents. Legal and illegal stuff all available for access at will. It’s a difficult choice. Most of the time leading us to unplanned choices. All that time that was meant to be productive is wasted by consumption of cyber junk!
The lure of the making quick money becomes irresistible especially with offers from our cunning brothers inviting us to share millions of dollars they inherited from some friends and relatives. We end up sharing details about ourselves in the cyber schemes popularly known as identity theft.
Our cyber-savvy brothers are also aware that we do shopping from our computers using codes that we tap on the magic screens on tablets and smart devices giving us instant access to our credit facilities. We fall into their tricks when they send us forged emails requesting us to do some clicks and taps to change our details unaware that we are blindly sharing our account details with cyber thieves who later empty our accounts.
As we choke from these, our cyber teens are practically at the hell’s gates where promotion of gay, sex, nudity, drugs, crimes, terrorism reign with only few good choices available and cyber obsession, addiction and brainwashing is just a matter of days of the cruel exposure. To manage this we must first establish some facts: Our cyber babies do not just buy mobile phones but indeed demand for smart phones that are not just smart superficially but also in their ability to navigate even that twilight cyber streets. With this knowledge, we as parents have a duty to act with the same vigor that we use in the real world. Luckily we can lock some apps that we deem useless, do some intelligent surveillance on the cyber crawling of cyber babies – yes we must, warn about the contents to be viewed, and again very important restrict the duration of exposure to Internet. We must not forget that idea of absolute personal freedom is simply an illusion and when some freedom is given it comes with matching responsibility and those are some of the few measures we can put in place to help our future generation.
The cyber world is a public place and cyber privacy is just a mirage and what we share there can never be deleted! Avoid the temptation of extremely expressing yourself whether emotionally, politically, religiously and otherwise in this space. We’ve seen our colleagues and friends exposing themselves in an effort to get those hits, followers, likes, friends and things of that sort. Yes you will be overwhelmed with requests but it will be too late to retract when you come back to your senses.
This message about the inherent dangers must be spread to all corners for all to hear. Our good governments must keep on blowing the trumpets and announce to the now turned cyber citizens that time has comes to take their shields and spears for their survival in this new world. That being the least that governments can do, they also need to actively join hands with other governments by setting up highly intelligent and capable cyber squads with the expertise of hackers out there to be called in whenever a need to protect a vulnerable citizen arises.
So next time you come across those enticing offers about your dream car, beginning of a relationship, request to re-ship equipment, deposit of huge amounts of money, make-money-quick schemes, won lotteries, just remember that when the deal is too good to be true most probably it is not true.
Today we are only one percent of the cyber creatures and objects in this space, our growth rate is the highest ever and in about three years (2021) according Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI, 2017) we will be about 27 billion IoT ‘creatures’ in this space. This opens a door to a future of limitless opportunities but in the same breath unimaginable requirements in terms of our security and safety.