The Internet is hailed as a revolutionary twentieth-century invention. However, like any other invention, the Internet has its share of misusers as well. The world today, is experiencing a new range of difficulties due to the Internet.
Of these growing challenges, cybercrime is the most serious. One of the greatest virtues of the Internet - accessibility of knowledge - has become one of its most notorious vices as well. This open sea of knowledge has malicious fishermen lurking around every shore. From high-profile hackers to your average tech-savvy teenagers, anyone can use the data on the Internet for criminal intentions. This data is susceptible to copyright infringement, and the original author risks losing a significant portion of his/her income due to pirates on the Internet. It is estimated that the businesses all over the world lose about $160 billion every year to theft of intellectual property.
More diabolical of these criminals target larger companies and agencies for more serious crimes. Large corporations depend heavily on computer software programs to store and manage their data. This makes them easy targets to cyber-criminals. Companies in the financial sector are one example. According to PwC 39 percent of financial services companies were victimized by cyber-criminals in 2012.
However, even these criminals are dwarfed by the more atrocious cyber-terrorists. We have the 2007 attacks on Estonian computer networks, and the Sony scandal of 2014 to remind us of cyber-terrorism. These instances reveal to us the vulnerability of the Internet. Terrorist groups can frame governments for cyber crimes against their political rivals, and this can aggravate the tension between these countries. Cyber warfare can make actual conflict all the more likely in future.
Apart from these security concerns, the Internet is also culpable for a range of psychological and social disorders. According to child psychologists children who spend a disproportionate amount of their time on the Internet have lower confidence levels, and find it difficult to establish real-world relationships. Moreover, excessive Internet use can inflict physical damage as well. Web-surfing is an inherently sedentary activity, and Internet addicts usually trade outdoor physical activities like sports for their time spent on the Internet.
However, no matter how daunting these problems may sound, they are not entirely unsolvable. If the regulatory authorities play their part in tightening their grip around cyber-criminals, and the Internet users play theirs in adopting self-safety measures, these problems can be successfully curbed.