The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Internet
Anyone that has spent any time online recently is sure to have come across something they’ve perceived as deplorable. For all the good that it does, some of the most divisive of human interaction happens on the web. Since it really depends on your perspective just how much negativity you take from the Internet, we’ll go through the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Internet to put into perspective just how it affects our lives.
Let’s start with the resoundingly positive attributes of the Internet. Firstly, it makes life extraordinarily easier. Banking, shopping, and direct communication with other individuals and businesses are all simpler and faster. People can get more done in a shorter amount of time. It makes people smarter by providing them access to a knowledge base unprecedented in human history. It provides the opportunity to connect with like-minded people from anywhere in the world at minimal cost, giving people the ability to do wonderful things for others whom they may have never met. It provides businesses and individuals, alike, the access to better opportunities, more knowledge, and interactions with people that matter to them.
Speaking of business, it has changed things for entrepreneurs precipitously. Data storage and retrieval is faster. Cloud platforms of all types offer software, hardware, security, and development platforms that reduces the enormous capital costs many organizations were spending on their IT. It gives organizations access to a glut of resources, no more important than a growing mobile workforce that is available around the clock, promoting better productivity. It provides the opportunity to streamline all types of work, whether it be reducing face-to-face interactions with your vendors, or utilizing tracking software that helps administrators build more efficient business practices.
The Internet has provided a social outlet to people who didn’t have one. The use of social media has revolutionized the way people share and communicate. Each person has the freedom to do whatever they choose online, and often this results in positive action. Many important groups that have been marginalized for one reason or another are now able to promote their platforms thoroughly.
There are some things about the Internet that many people can give or take. In fact, for every benefit listed above, there is a drawback. The easier access to information opens the door for more misinformation. For all the ease of banking, shopping, and communication there are threat actors looking to steal resources and personal information for profit. For every like-minded person that you meet, you meet all manners of Internet trolls and other unattractive people.
Social media has had an amazing amount of influence, but for all the good that it does, it also promotes individual freedom from convention, sure, but also creates what is known as a “toxic mirror” effect. This is the concept of making people feel bad about themselves by constantly being exposed to information that would make them create negative opinions about themselves. The toxic mirror makes anything that isn’t physical, emotional, and mental perfection, ugly and bad.
Beyond the toxic mirror, many people use social media in ways that hurt the people around them. The manifestation of a social persona can often present the opportunity for a user to put out very public misinformation. This break from reality, further muddies people’s ability to properly identify risk, putting them in harmful situations. The Internet is filled with trolls, stalkers, and bullies. These groups are allowed to run rampant, as people don’t have a lot of resources to ward against them. These individuals hide behind their Internet persona, making civil action against them extremely difficult. Cyberbullying, specifically, can cause great harm to people of all ages.
For the business, the Internet is a true double-edged sword. On one hand if you don’t utilize its features, you could be hindering the manner in which you conduct business, since more people are exposed to your business on the Internet than in any other place. A problem with this is that you then have to spend a lot of advertising capital to try and get your business exposed to potential customers. For some businesses this may be advantageous, but for the lion’s share of businesses, it increases the capital that is required without any assurance that it will provide additional sales.
The Internet is actually a pretty dangerous place; and, it’s a lot bigger than people think. While the usable part of the Internet is catalogued by most of the major search engines, there is a massive part of the Internet that is filled to the brim with risky behaviors. The deep web, and more specifically, the dark web, is filled with problematic content. While users can’t just access this part of the Internet, the people that do are often the hackers and dissidents of the world. Some are evil, some just unfortunate, but most of the dark web is filled with a black market that makes available goods and services that the average person has no use for. Murder for hire? Check. Drug catalogues? Check. Hacking resources? Check. It’s essentially an anti-social person’s playground filled with hate, and illegal material. Think of the dark web as a city. It just so happens that some places in that city (like many other cities) are very dangerous, and while you may just find something you can’t find anywhere else, staying far away is a good way to avoid the negatives altogether.
For the business, the ugliest part of the Internet are the countless hacking collectives and individual hackers that are almost constantly trying to gain access to their network. Computer viruses and other malware, including ransomware are such a big threat that businesses spend billions and billions of dollars a year trying to protect themselves and their clients from people looking to steal their data and sell it off.
The Internet is a lot of good to a lot of people, but as more derision, more hate, more criminal behavior, and more strategic subversion happen on the Internet, the more it becomes something it was never intended to be. The saving grace is the hundreds of millions of users that still use the Internet to make their lives, and the lives of people around them, better.
The IT professionals at Network Management, Inc. are serious about making others’ lives better. If your business wants to utilize the good and secure itself against the bad and the ugly, contact us today at (703) 848-9000. We can help your organization protect your data and scan the dark web to see if any of your accounts (or your employees’ accounts) were already stolen and leaked on the dark web.