Modern age cyber security

Alec Lippman, Staff Writer

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There is an online attack from a hacker on someone’s personal information every 39 seconds, according to a Clark school study. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently fell victim of one of these attacks when the National Enquirer allegedly tried to extort and blackmail him.

Amazon is an online shopping company that has a net worth exceeding one trillion dollars. National Enquirer is an American tabloid magazine that is willing to pay its sources for information in contradiction to journalistic standards. The Bezos scandal began in early January following the announcement that Bezos and his wife would be getting a divorce. Hours after this announcement, the tabloid published details of Bezos’ apparent affair with Lauren Sanchez. What has followed over the most recent months has been claims that National Enquirer has illicit photos of Bezos documenting his affair amid claims of extortion and blackmail. National Enquirer having these photos and extensive documentation of the affair is an overstep of privacy, made especially worse by their threats to publish them.

Bezos made a statement claiming that American Media, the parent company of National Enquirer, threatened to publish illicit photos of him unless he made a statement saying National Enquirer was reporting his affair without political influence. National Enquirer’s threat of having texts with other illicit blackmail raised heads at how they acquired this information. Bezos was reportedly investigating how National Enquirer acquired this information while American Media claims that they had reported this story and acted lawfully. In late February, Bezos made the accusation that National Enquirer and its parent company American Media committed extortion and blackmail in their reporting on him and his affair.

Cyber Security is a critical issue in the age of high-speed internet. Educating people about safe online habits is crucial. With more and more young children accessing the world of technology, teaching them how to act responsibly online is more important than ever. Internet use by children ages three to 17 is six times higher than it was in 1997. While the internet provides many benefits for children and society in general, this all must be done responsibly online with a safe online footprint.

Schools need to teach more about cybersecurity and being safe online before something happens. In my high school, there has been no assembly about cyber security for the sophomore class. At my middle school, there had been one assembly only because of an incident that occurred. It is important for students to be safe online. This would be done best with more awareness of online safety and learning about your digital footprint in school.

A common method used by parents to give their kids a safe online environment is through a restriction. This involves using some type of program installed on a device that can essentially block and manage the online footprint of the device. This may be an effective method for a younger child that has no specific reason to access the internet while it may cause problems for older kids. Using restrictions for promoting safe online activity can end up creating tension and a feeling of distrust between a kid and their parents. The child will feel as if their parents do not trust them to make good decisions while the parents implementing this restriction of the internet showcases their distrust. This sense of distrust can only get larger and hurt more than its intended purpose.

To make matters worse, many parents are removed from a teen’s online life giving them full online independence to do as they please. This leaves the teen more susceptible to leaving a bad digital footprint. However, online freedom may be the best way to learn about being safe online. Like empiricism, experimentation and gaining knowledge about being safe online should come from experience. There may be sometimes when this experimentation process ends badly, but it is important for teens to navigate the online world freely.

As the internet and online world has become such an integral part of society over the last few years, teens should have the opportunity to be a part of this new world. Sometimes things will go wrong with this style of giving teens online freedom to discover firsthand how to be safe online. The recent events between Jeff Bezos and National Enquirer illustrate how the internet can be used in negative ways. This scandal calls for everyone to learn how to use the internet safely because the internet can and should be used for good.