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Nasty People on the Internet

Your Guide to Knowing Your Digital Enemies


April, 2014

Yes, unsavory people are everywhere on the Web. These people will convince you to trust them with 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. Here is the Warning List of the Top Internet Bad Guys, 2014.

1. Haters: Racists, Bigots, Intolerant Users

Man confused while using laptop on couch
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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. About.com explains more about haters here...

2. Internet Trolls: the Mosquitoes of Online Culture

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Trolls are arguably the most common form of online bad guys. These individuals take pleasure in sowing conflict and bringing out the worst in others. If you use Facebook, participate in forums, or read Reddit and news comments, you're bound to find trolls. About.com explains internet trolls, and the psychology of dealing with them...

3. Cyberstalkers: Now More Common Than Physical Stalkers

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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 by all modern users of the Internet. About.com explains cyberstalkers, and how to defend against them...

4. Cyberbullies: Digital Harassment and Cruelty

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Cyberbullying is now as commplace 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. Cyberbullies 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.

5. Phishermen: Modern Con Artists With Fake Emails and Fake Websites

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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'. About.com explains email spoofs and phishing here...

6. Clickjackers: They Will Nab Your Mouse Clicks to Launch Nasties

(Photo by Nick Koudis / Getty Images)
Clickjckers 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 you, 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 clickjackers play dirty, and their modern scams are a nasty force to be reckoned with.

7. Zombie Masters: Programmers Who Take Over Your Computer

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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.

8. Hackers, and Their Different Motivations

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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. About.com explains the four kinds of hackers here...

9. Spammers, and How They Attack You With Ratware

(photo by Photographers Choice / Getty Images)
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...

10. Hoaxers: They Will Fool You With Their Outlandish Emails

bad day at the helicopter office
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 emailbox!

11. Sexting: Don't Play This Game

(photo by Photographers Choice / Getty Images)
'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 embarass themselves in the eyes of thousands of people. About.com tells us more about sexting here...

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