5 Digital World Threats and How to Stay Safe

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New threats are always the most dangerous ones since there’s no appropriate incident response, and no one really knows what to do. In the past, these threats appeared slower and spread slower, which gave people time to develop adequate responses. By the time it affected them, there was already a lot of material out there to help them cope. 

The problem comes from the fact that, in the digital world, there are so many threats that you’re not even aware of unless you’re in an online business or “terminally online.” For instance, you may understand why you don’t want online strangers to know your physical address, but you probably have no idea that this threat has a name and a lot of very negative manifestations.

To help you prepare for this, here are five examples of some digital world threats, some of which have a nasty habit of spilling into the real world.


 1. Doxxing

Doxxing is the act of publishing or revealing the location of a person online. This is an incredibly dangerous act that can backfire in so many ways. YouTubers are becoming new celebrities, which means that they have stalkers (a topic we’ll cover next) and people who actively wish them harm. Still, don’t assume that only influencers are in danger.

You could just meet the wrong person at the wrong time. You could get into a heated argument with a random stranger online, only to have your personal info published online. From that point on, no one can know what kind of danger you’re exposed to. 

The best way to protect yourself from doxxing is to keep your IP secure. The IP is how doxxers find your physical address, which usually leads to all sorts of other personal information being shared online. 

You can keep your IP safe with the use of a VPN, the same tool you’re normally using to watch movies that are otherwise not available in your region. The VPN will help you circumvent geo-restrictions, but it will also help you stay safe from people looking to do you harm online. As a tool that’s useful for more than one task, it’s definitely worth implementing in your arsenal. 

Not only is protecting your IP address crucial, but it’s also important to understand the psychological effect that doxxing can have on an individual. Anyone would be petrified and horrified at the thought of being stalked or physically harmed. Also, there’s always the chance of being taken into the legal system, one of the most effective deterrents against doxxers. Most states have stringent anti-doxxing laws that are punishable by law. Such preventive action also includes monitoring personal information leaks in an online profile. Alerts should be placed on your name and details so that you know immediately in case of leakage.

2. Stalking

    Stalking is one of many negative outcomes of doxxing, but it’s not the end, and it’s definitely not the only way bad people online find out about you. You see, them knowing where you live is not really dangerous until they start doing something about it. Perhaps they come by your house and start doing a surveillance of your property.

    They don’t even have to go there physically. They can plan it out from the safety of their own home by watching Google Maps. This way, their stalking can be more effective.

    It’s even worse if they have access to your social media. From photos there, they can deduce where you often drink your coffee or find out where your kids go to school. If you’re posting immediately or doing live videos, they can even get the timetable right. 

    A burglar could easily figure out when you’re away for the weekend or on vacation and time their break-in perfectly. 

    Let’s be real here for a moment and admit that some people are just rotten to the core, and people had stalkers even before the internet was a thing. However, by minimizing how much you share online, you could minimize their access to the information that will make stalking easy. 

    Stalking can take many forms—cyberstalking and physical stalking. While cyberstalking is achieved by using the internet to harass or intimidate somebody, physical stalking is the act of following or watching someone physically. It would be good to use the privacy settings on social media platforms to limit what strangers might see. If you feel like you are being stalked, find professional services that enforce the law right away. They can advise, assist, protect you, and provide counter-legal measures to make you safe. Remember, it’s better to overreact and be on the safe side than to underestimate the threat.

    3. Swatting

      One of the most dangerous forms of online harassment that can manifest through real-world harm is definitely swatting. This is a scenario where the police get an anonymous tip that there’s a hostage or a terrorist attack in the making on your address. 

      The police send the S.W.A.T. team to the house, and since the accusation is really serious and the party making the call makes it sound as convincing as possible, they can’t really take any chances. Sometimes, the one calling the police will add more fuel to the fire by saying that the suspect is armed, which is why they’ll go in with full gear on, locked and loaded. 

      It’s really easy to see how this kind of event could result in a fatality.

      It’s also worth mentioning that there are certain groups of people who are most commonly a target of swatting. Streamers are a common mark just because a certain sociopathic part of their audience finds it “funny” to watch swatting on a live stream.

      Public and political figures are another common mark.

      Still, don’t assume that you’re “too small” to be a target. There’s no such thing. People online are petty, and they could do something like this even over a moderate online argument or disagreement. 

      The legal consequences of swatting, when taken to court, will entail significant jail time and possibly hefty monetary fines. Swatting is not just a prank; it is a dangerous ploy that wastes valuable police resources and puts lives at risk. Real-life swatting events, like that terrible story in Kansas where a man was killed due to a false report, illustrate how severe its consequences can be. Protect yourself by not sharing information about where you live or your personal residence publicly when you are online. Educate and inform others about the potential dangers of swatting and what they can do to report threats or suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.

      4. Account takeover

        When someone gets access to your accounts, there’s no end to all the damage and mischief they could cause. They can spend your funds, transfer them, or post tweets, stories, and posts that will effectively ruin your reputation. Also, let’s face it, we all have that one chat that, if it were to leak, we would be in a world of trouble. 

        By the time you prove that it wasn’t you, the damage is already done. Your credit card company may take it up on your word, but thanks to the increase in the rate of friendly fraud in the world, they may also assume that you’re trying to scam them.

        The easiest way for someone to take over your account is for them to figure out your password. This is why you shouldn’t make it too obvious. Make sure that it’s random and as hard to guess. Moreover, try to make it as complex as possible. Today, the trend is moving toward longer and longer passwords, seeing as how more characters make the password exponentially harder to guess. This is one of the reasons why passphrases are slowly surpassing passwords.

        Another way to protect yourself is to insist on the 2FA. 

        Phishing, in general, is a common practice for account takeovers. There may be malicious messages trying to solicit your passwords or other types of sensitive access information. Password managers help you generate and store complicated passwords, thus ruling out the possibility of them being guessed by any attacker. With periodic monitoring of accounts, signs can show there has been unauthorized access, for example, unknown locations or unrecognized devices during logins. Set alerts on suspicious activities so that you can react promptly in case your account is compromised. Protecting your accounts with solid measures is vital in preventing takeovers and, more so, in mitigating takeovers.

        5. Identity theft

          One of the ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to be very careful what you upload online. Try to avoid giving personal information whenever you can, and keep in mind that there’s always an alternative. 

          You can always find a place that will allow you to buy without registering. You don’t have to give too much information at an online casino. In fact, there are a lot of no-ID verification casinos out there where you can play without ever having to present a legal document. This means that you’re minimizing your exposure and further investing in your anonymity. 

          With deepfakes, things are even worse. Now, they can create a video with your likeness or even mimic your voice. Can you really tell an AI-generated voice from the real voice of a person it’s impersonating? Really? Even without the AI in the title? Even when you’re not aware that it’s a test and that you should pay attention to subtleties and nuances. 

          Modern chatbots can even take a sample of your correspondence and do a great job at copying your typing patterns. In other words, it will be so difficult to tell when it’s you, especially if it’s not someone who’s so close to you that they can tell the difference. 

          Just make sure you don’t overshare online. They can do so much harm with so little information; don’t give them more ammunition. 

          Identity theft can ruin your credit score or your financial condition. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact your bank and credit card companies, as well as all credit reporting agencies. They can help by freezing your accounts to stop further damage. You should think about signing up for a credit monitoring service, which will alert you if any suspicious activities are undertaken and give you additional protection. Being on the lookout and proactive reduces the chances of identity theft, and anything wrong can quickly be handled. Remember that protecting your personal information is an ongoing task and needs constant attention.

          These five threats are new and incredibly destructive for anyone not ready to face them

          Staying safe means different things in different settings. In a warzone, it means jumping from cover to cover and not playing a hero. In a high-crime area, it means not going on foot after dark and being extra careful when walking the streets. In a digital world, it means doing all you can to protect your identity and passwords.