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Internet Security Basics – Trustworthy Information

November 12, 2012

Internet security basic - trustul information

The focus of this article is information, so it’s important to know just what that information is.

In information technology, “information” is coded data that can be sent, received, stored and processed by engineering resources. The amount of information is the difference between uncertain information before and after the report. The carrier of the information is the signal. Information is important and will have to be distinguished from its physical medium – whether it is a voice, sound, image, font, or disk. The essence of information reflects a definition given by American anthropologist Gregory Bateson. According to him, information means “the difference which makes difference.” The growing importance of information in connection to knowledge and news changed the attention of scientists at the end of the 19th century, especially linguists. Historically, information was spread by language and writing that was encoded by using words, sounds and letters. With the development of electrical and electronic communications, information has become a technical term, although with a slightly different meaning. However, the new meaning focuses on the coding information and not on content. The basic model for transmission of the information is a system (transmitter (encoder) – channel – receiver [decoder]). The amount of information on the medium can even be measured. The library is used for measuring the pages. Journalists count words or characters and on a computer, information is measured in bytes or bits. Information in a theoretical view is now also developing in physics, biology, and social sciences.

What kind of information we can consider as a trustful?

It is obvious from the title that we are not able to mark some information as 100% trustworthy or fake. There are too many sources of information around us. Because of the internet anyone can create his own “source of information” on a network which is accessible to anyone. Here, we’ll try to specify those information sources that are generally considered trustworthy:

  1. Tested Sources
    Generally known sources of information, popular websites of trusted companies, news stations, government and regional servers. Other tested sources we might consider are those web sites and servers which our friends, relations and colleagues, or people you trust have recommended. Simply you should find reliable people and servers (ones which haven’t disappointed you) and remain loyal to them.
  2. Certified sources
    The association of certification authorities (CA) and producers of Internet browsers, CA/Browser Forum, in the fight against phishing and Internet fraud have agreed to strict rules for verifying the identity of the certificate and its authorization to an Internet domain on which the site is running. On higher level of authentication called Extended Validation Certification, Internet browsers assign so called "ownership" of the website.
    These certificates can help you build trust with websites, but do not take them as a strict measurement of trustworthiness. In fact, if the server doesn’t have any certificate, it can provide quality information. In addition, most modern Internet browser show certified web sites with different background colors of the service name (in front of the URL address). Every Internet browser uses different colors for basic and extended certification, so you should learn how your browser displays it (example you can see in the gallery of images – browser_certification.PNG). 

Why there are websites providing deceptive and misleading information?

  1. In purpose of a threat:
    As is mentioned in the previous article about safe websites, servers like this exist typically for purpose of spreading spyware, malware, phishing, key loggers and viruses. Of course, these are not the only programmed threats, they can simply release hoaxes and spam as a sophisticated way of attack. It is proven that the standard user today has a much more difficult time trying to protect his “virtual life” against spam and redirecting information applications, utilities or tools.
  2. Mystification and recession:
    These web sites are usually not dangerous, they are typically made buy people that want only to have fun and see how they can “control” the internet. People spread a hoax or fake news and watch the visitor statistics and how the information spreads around, they enjoy this kind of entertainment, but sometimes it becomes uncontrollable and dangerous, the authors just don’t know about the danger at all. So be aware of these webs and double-check “too interesting” or “wow” information.
  3. Unprofessional, blogs and personal web sites:
    They are not dangerous at all, visitors just have to be able to evaluate the quality of the site (which is in fact not difficult). Information coming from these web sites may be a threat only for young people and teenagers that may admire some kind of fake personalities or activities.

At the end of this information overview I can only recommend that you double-check all important information. Deliberately choose trustworthy sources of information and always remember: Do not spread any information if you are not sure that it is true, you can easily become a part of unwanted chain.

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