[******NOTE******  The information in these pages has become somewhat outdated and is best viewed  for historical interest only.  However, security and privacy have continued to be major issues and many solutions are now available to users. An excellent up-to-date discussion of the concepts of Privacy, Security, and "Virtual Private Network" services (VPNs) are offered by IVPN , and by Anonymster.  See PCMagazine's comparison of a number of VPN paid services and their discussion of free VPN's, and Andrey Doichev's analysis of current top free VPN's .  Encrypted storage of information has become a major concern as well, particularly with the proliferation of cloud-based storage (see discussion by PCMagazine for an analysis and comparisons).  Finally, well-informed and articulate presentations of a number of timely security topics can be found in the Information Security Blog published by Comparitech. ************]

The Internet is a pervasive force which is working its way into all aspects of our civilization - of this fact there is no doubt.  One could spend countless hours, days, and months debating and studying the implications and connotations of this fact and its influence on education, business, etc.  However, in studying this medium, it is important to remain cautious and realize the security issues surrounding the Internet.  Being overly cautious and conservative in this exploration is detrimental and foolish - others, leaving the paranoid in the dust, will expand the resources left undiscovered by frightened people.  It is ultimately more careless to assume that all is legitimate and nothing will harm you.  It's that old principle of "that'll never happen to me" that can make one vulnerable.  Educated medium should be achieved between these extremes. 

This project focuses on 4 major areas of security issues on the Internet.  Personal Computer Security relates useful information to the average web surfer at home.  There are tips on safeguarding ones security/privacy over a network connection plus some definitions of typical security problems individuals will come into contact with.  The second focus of this project includes organizations that support or oppose Internet security measures.  Many organizations offer web sites that provide useful information and services that is relevant to security and its current issues.  Hacking Into Cyberspace is the third topic of this project and focuses the definition of hacking, its impact on the Internet, and the legal measures that have taken place regarding those issues. Finally, the fourth topic deals with a more psychological approach to Internet security.  A survey was passed out amongst ~30 students of Miami University and ~30 employees (men and women) from American Electric power asking them a series of questions regarding the frequency of their computer use, and their comfort for sharing personal information on the Internet.  The fourth section also reflects on Ecommerce and the impact that deviations in Internet securities have made on businesses and consumers.

For the most part, people are becoming aware of Internet security as online activities continue to skyrocket.  As the technology becomes more available and easy to use, people seem to accept security risks in exchange for the convenience.  In truth, computer insecurity will become exponentially more important as online industries continue to grow.  In another year, maybe even six months, people might report completely new answers to the questions posed in our survey.  Judging by the results and the research we have compiled, our conclusions remain in the present.  What can be said about a technology that has the ability to change overnight?  Well see.  And we will do just that.

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This project was produced for PSY 380, Social Psychology of Cyberspace, Spring 2000, at Miami University.  All graphics in these pages are used with permission or under fair use guidelines, are in the public domain, or were created by the authors. Last revised: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 12:35: %3  This document has been accessed 1  times since 1 May 2000.
Comments and Questions to R. Sherman