The Nasty People of the World Wide Web

Yes, there are negative influences online

Yes, mean and unsavory people are everywhere on the Web. These people will con you for your passwords, sucker you into embarrassing yourself, infect your machine with remote-control software viruses, cause you emotional grief, and even make you feel personally attacked and threatened. Be warned:  not everyone is nice online, and it's a good idea to be prepared.

Hands typing on computer in the dark
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Trolls are arguably the most common form of online bad guys. These individuals love to get a rise out of people; they take pleasure in sowing conflict and bringing out anger in others. Everywhere on the Web, you're bound to find trolls.  More »

Haters are similar to trolls but are usually much more extreme in their emotions. You see, haters distinguish themselves online because they purposely broadcast hate and intolerance as they attack other people's ideas and beliefs. While some milder haters are just role-playing for the fun of trolling, other 'five-star haters' are sincerely full of bigotry, racism, and other extreme anti-social beliefs.  More »

Cyberstalking is now more common than physical harassment. Disturbed individuals express their pathological obsessions by using email, sexting, instant messaging, Facebook comments, and even smartphone GPS tracking. While cyberstalkers are still a very small minority of society, they are a sad reality that must be acknowledged.  More »

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Cyberbullies: Digital Harassment and Cruelty

Cyberbullying is now as commonplace as physical bullying. A direct relative of cyberstalking, cyberbullying is about demonstrating dominance over another person through online harassment. Unlike cyberstalking, however, cyberbullying often resorts to including others in the harassment. Cyber bullies will publicly humiliate their targets by posting Facebook or blog posts that poison other people's opinions against the target. This is not a trivial teenage fad. Cyberbullying causes deep emotional trauma, and in some cases, has contributed to suicides.

Click jackers are antisocial programmers who place invisible buttons on web pages. Their clickjack buttons will cover legitimate buttons, and we victims unwittingly activate their commands. Before you know it, your Facebook privacy settings have been changed. You're following a Twitter feed of some stranger. Perhaps your webcam has just been secretly enabled. Or even worse: a remote-control program has now been installed on your computer. Yikes! These click jackers play dirty, and their modern scams are a nasty force to be reckoned with. More »

Modern con men are called online 'phishermen'. Named for a combination of 'phony' and 'fishing', these phishermen commonly lure their prey with fraudulent emails. These doctored emails are called 'spoofs'. Lifewire.com explains email spoofs and phishing here. More »

Being 'zombied' (also known as being 'botted'), is a particularly nasty violation of privacy. In this case, smart-but-misguided programmers will install remote-control programs onto your computer, and take over your machine so that it will do their bidding. Oftentimes, a zombie computer is used to send thousands of spam emails. In other cases, a zombie computer will perform hacker attacks on other websites. Don't become zombie food. Read how your computer might get zombied, and how you can protect it. More »

We've all heard of "hackers", and seen sensationalized versions of them in movies. But what exactly is a modern-day computer hacker? And are they the same as "haxors"? Well, friends, there are actually four different kinds of hackers/haxors in the universe, and they are not all evil. In fact, if you tinker with your computer, you might be a low-level "hacker" yourself.  More »

Have you received offers for pharmaceuticals by email? Have you been invited to transfer 20 million dollars into your account from Nigeria? If you've been spammed by emails like this, then you have been attacked by ratware. You see, ratware is the customized software that spammers use to burst-send millions of illegal messages. And this is how spammers attack you with ratware. More »

Did a giant shark really munch a British navy diver? Do rich Nigerians really want to transfer $4.5 million to my bank account? Do Snakehead fish really walk on land, and did Mel Gibson really get mutilated as a teenager?

Don't embarrass yourself by falling for these hoaxes... if you forward these on to your friends, you will shame yourself with your gullibility. Here is the true scoop on hoax photos, email chain letters, and outlandish stories in your e-mailbox! More »

'Sexters' are not technically bad guys, but their indiscreet motivations will get you into a world of humiliation by either embarrassing you with their personal photos, or they will lure you into embarrassing yourself with your own photos. 39% of all American teens have practiced some kind of 'sexting'. 46% of young people have reported that they see explicit personal photos being forwarded to strangers. These are not the statistics of a fad, this is the viral risk of how young people can unwittingly embarrass themselves in the eyes of thousands of people.  More »