Multimedia Online, WiFi Signals and how to stay safe: It’s all up to you!

I’ve been getting a ton of security-related questions. Questions like “How to protect my computer from online threats” or “How to stay safe in this age of misinformation.” And then some people even wonder if WiFi itself is bad for your health.

Although online multimedia and WiFi are not really related, they are in our day to day. I will deal with all of this in this article. Please take note, I’ll be severe, don’t take it personally.

How to stay safe online: Your WiFi router, by itself, will not do you any harm.

It’s your fault!

Simplifying things a bit, let me tell you that if something happens to you online, it is most likely your fault. That’s how it is! You do it to yourself, you asked for it, or even worse, you asked for it.

Get it in your head. Give yourself a few minutes to deny it. Be offended if you wish, or insult me.

You have finished?

Well, that’s the bad news. The good news is that you can actually avoid all of this by staying safe online. You just need to understand how things work, or how things are.

Nothing is real: This is just how technology is

The first thing to remember is that, on the internet, nothing is real – what you see is never what you get. It’s called Cyber ​​space or virtual world for a reason.

In its most fundamental form, what you see on the screen is not reality.

Take as an example this page where you are reading this article. It is not persistent unless you decide to print it on a sheet of paper.

Currently, the page will look different if you view it from another computer, browser, or at another time. At least you will see different ads (if you have decided to allow them. Thanks!).

In fact, there is no file (such as a Word document) that supports this web page. Text, images, and other elements are stored separately in a database. When you open the page, the system collects information and places it on the screen in real time for you. In other words. If no one is viewing this article, this page does NOT exist.

The technology is pretty impressive, and it works fine most of the time. But it is not completely bug-free – it could break. This is why you can sometimes run into an error when browsing a web page.

The point is that what you are seeing right now is not real. It is only information stored being manipulated in a certain way to satisfy certain requests from users. This is the first thing you want to keep in mind when browsing the internet.

Again, from the most basic and honest point of view, what you see on this screen is not what you think.

The content is definitely not (100%) real: It’s human

Let’s forget how technology works and assume this web page is real because you can see it.

At the next level, where humanity uses technology to deal with each other, the information you consume is also not real – and not necessarily true.

Again, take this web page as an example. It is not 100% true. I know because I wrote it.

That’s how it is. I will be the first to admit that the information posted here could be wrong. As much as I want to be honest and tell the truth, my idea of ​​being honest and telling the truth is limited by my own understanding of the world, and more importantly, my intentions.

So what are my intentions?

Let’s say I made this website with the noble intention of helping people make good technology decisions or influence you correctly. And this is not a lie, it is actually my intention.

But the reality is that this website needs to generate money in order to sustain itself (and hopefully sustain me as well), and to achieve this, it needs to show advertising to its audience. The more involved and larger the audience, the better.

So the reality is that most of the content you see online exists for the purpose of making money or being popular, or both.

Money, popularity, and the boring part

Money and popularity complicate everything because, just like in the real world, being good and noble won’t necessarily make you famous or rich. At least it is not as easy or fast as you would like it to be. You may need to use tactics, or shortcuts.

Obviously, we are talking nonsense. No one is completely good or bad. (okay, some might be, but that’s another matter). We are usually in the middle at different levels.

So some web pages are more real than others. I would say that mine is in the first group, but you must draw that conclusion on your own. One thing is certain: Not everything you see online is real all the time, and even when it is, it is not 100% real.

The more an editor cares about the popularity of a piece of content, the more he should spruce up (or change) it, making it less (or not at all) real. Even when they want to report a fact, the sad reality is that they have to deviate from it a bit to be successful.

(At least, of course, that you write about WiFi, which gives some latitude to embellish and romanticize.)

This is because you, the audience, want to be entertained, and the facts are often boring. So from an editor’s point of view, it’s a matter of priority. And this is the second thing you want to keep in mind when you are online.

Why the Internet is a dangerous place

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Here’s another sad fact: Most online content providers prioritize money over facts. If you work for a large company, you will notice. During meetings, the main topic is always how to make (more) money.

I worked for a large news corporation for almost two decades, where my career goals for each quarter were always focused on getting more views and clicks.

So, again, let’s clarify one thing: Everything on the web is about generating money at the expense of users like you, in some way or another, in a small or large measure, and all that this implies. You would be fooling yourself if you believe otherwise.

A web page works like a modem. Turn your attention into money. And this is fair because we all have to give something to receive something.

The problem arises when someone cheats to take advantage of how the technology works, or the naivete of the audience, or both.

I would call this practice “technological and emotional hoaxes.” In other words, they make you pay a lot with money, time, or happiness, getting little or nothing in return. Alternatively, they may make fun of you.

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The technological tricks

These are when someone benefits from manipulating technology so that their audience does more or different things than they really want to.

Below you will see a screenshot of the page where you can download and install the Acrobat Reader program, one of the most popular applications for viewing PDF files, for free.

How to stay safe online: Make sure you pay attention to details. What you see is almost never what you get.

If you click the button that says “Download Acrobat Reader”, which is what most people would do right away because it is highlighted and invites this, you will inadvertently install three other things on your computer.

This is because Adobe, the creator of Adobe Acrobat, surely has a deal with McAfee to trick people into installing “security” software (how ironic) on their computers inadvertently. It is true that there are “terms and conditions texts” that you can read, but they are purposely designed so that people will ignore them.

An additional comment: Once Acrobat Reader is installed, McAfee will have integrated its software in several places and configured it to run automatically every time your computer starts, without your knowledge or acceptance.

No one knows exactly what background software does, but I can tell you for sure that they want to take your money. By the way, Follow the Life of the Software’s Founder – my opinion is that it probably won’t end well – and you can determine how much you can trust this “security software”.

So yes, all the free applications that you download from the internet include some unwanted extras.

However, this kind of trick is rather benign. Many others can be far more evil. Some even have you install malware or ransomware on your computer. There is no limit to bad intentions, and the internet is a minefield.

And all of this will get even worse next.

(In case you’re worried now, you’ll see a section below on how to avoid online gimmicks and stay safe.)

Threats based on the emotional

It is much more difficult to deal with this type of cheating online. They play with our human psyche. To understand how they work, we must be aware of a couple of things about ourselves.

We generally want to be accepted, admired, or validated.

It’s hard to admit when we are wrong, we don’t want to be wrong in the first place.

We look for things online and many times to prove that we are right, to validate what we already believe. Technology facilitates this.

Content providers know all of this. How? Well, first of all, they are also human. Also, they understand how search engines work. And, again, its purpose is simply to generate money at the expense of your attention.

Search engine manipulation

Every time you type a word, the search engine collects it to form a database, called “search volume.” Among other things, it determines how many people are searching for the same thing online.

Based on this, stakeholders can create compelling ads and relevant content.It’s just a case of supply and demand. The goal is to grab the most attention to turn it into money.

This is the reason why when there is a big event, like the launch of a new iPhone, you will see a lot of content on this topic. Or, you’ll notice more car ads suddenly appear after you’ve searched for “Honda Odyssey.”

And content providers know all of this. How? Well, to begin with, they are also human. Also, they understand how search engines work. And, again, their goal is to make money off your attention.

So here’s an interesting question: What if, for whatever reason, a bunch of people search for something that doesn’t exist? Well, thanks to this you will find fake content. This is how all kinds of conspiracy theories arise and spread.

Many times the fact that you search for something on Google is the same reason that something begins to exist. As long as you are willing to offer your attention, that something will be created to satisfy your desires.

Here’s a fact: There is no word that does not return results. Just type even the weirdest word into the search engine, and you will find something on the Internet. Try it!

To put it more simply, If you ask for nonsense, they will serve you nonsense on a platter. Be careful what you wish for.

Sharing excessively

This is where the fault is completely ours. Nobody forces you to share everything online, but people can’t help but keep their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or countless other social networks saturated with what they believe (or want to believe) to be true.

Ask yourself when did you last check if something is (close to) 100% true before sharing?

And we have not even mentioned that there are many excessive sharers, or influencers, with thousands or even millions of followers, who have ulterior motives or intentions. They can start a conspiracy theory with a single gesture if they wish.

In many different ways, social networks place us in an echo chamber that amplifies our own version of the world derived from Int

ernet, which, as we already mentioned, is not even real.

So depending on how much time you spend online, over time, your “real world” might not be as real as you think. For the most part, social media is like the communal garbage dump or incineration camps for people’s emotional garbage.

No responsibility

The more visits a content has, the more money the owner or related parties will generate. And this is the sad reality: In cyberspace, having many visits and little else is the key to generating money and having great influence.

Specifically, a website can post misleading or even intentionally false information and still make money as long as people consume it. And the more people do it, the more “legitimate” the website becomes. People tend to believe in popularity.

Even when a website needs to give up on a story, chances are, it won’t have to return money you’ve already earned from it. In other words, having more views pays more immediately than offering genuine and truthful content.

And all of this is thanks to you. You want to entertain yourself, or see things that match your world. We tend to see only what we want to see.

How to stay safe online

Now that we are on the same page as how dangerous the internet is, let me explain what I would do to stay safe.

How to stay safe from malware and tech tricks

This category is quite easy to deal with. Traditional protection software and hardware help.

How to stay safe online: Windows 10’s built-in security is a great free protection tool.

Use some kind of protection.

For example, if you use Windows 10, the built-in Windows security app, which is free, is great, so use it (If you use a Mac, there are some free tools for it too, or you can put Windows 10 on it as well).

On top of this, consider buying yourself a router with built-in protection that can reduce, if not stop, bad things from happening to your home network.

Here are some examples of router-based online protection:

Network protection included for free on all Asus routers.

The antivirus feature that is freely available on some TP-Link routers.

Shielded protection, available for subscription on most Netgear routers

I’ve tried them all, and they work properly.

But keep in mind that no computer or software can protect you from yourself. To stay safe, remember that you are the last line of defense. This brings us to the main thing that will protect you from online threats.

How to stay safe online: Don’t be a user who clicks everything!

That’s how it is. This is by far the most effective way to stay safe.

Clicking (or tapping) unconsciously on the screen will bring you big trouble. It literally takes less than a minute to click, and the consequences can take hours or days to fix, if it’s even possible.

With every click (or touch on a touch screen), we give an order – the computer or computers will do something. In most cases we think we know what will happen because a link or button generally behaves consistently. And in most cases we are correct. And that’s the problem, we become confident.

Sometimes, as I already explained, things are not what they seem – a button or link may be programmed to do more, or something different, than it is supposed to do. And the person behind it all is counting on the fact that you will click!

This is the key: Don’t give them that!

So the bottom line is: treat the mouse click the same way you would treat a loaded AK47.There’s no turning back once you’ve turned it on.

Next time, before you click to affirm an action – like “OK”, “Continue”, “Yes”, among others – make sure you know in advance what your goal is, or don’t!

If you follow this simple rule, I can almost promise you that you will be safe. OK I promise.

How to stay safe from fake content and misinformation on the web

This part is much more difficult because it is personal. The key is to let go of your ego.

The first thing to do is have an open mind. Don’t go online to validate what you already believe or want to believe. In fact, look for the opposite to find out what those who have a different opinion say.

It’s a good idea to question yourself sometimes. Instead of trying to prove something to be true, make an effort to prove it to be false – if you can’t, then it is actually true. The most important thing to keep in mind is that life is not always black and white.

Don’t believe everything you see online. If you are on a website that is not very well established, check if it is easy to read, comprehensive and consistent. Anyone can build a website, but making good content other than click bait takes a lot of effort. It cannot be faked.

Don’t skimp on content to find what you want to see, learn the context.

How to stay safe: Things to keep in mind

Here’s the list of things to watch out for when you’re online. These are:

Strong emotions, such as fear, anger, anxiety, or disgust.

Make you feel good about yourself – when we do, we tend to ignore details.

Scandalous things, hard to believe or full of superlatives. Again, life is not usually black and white – it is in the middle, so extreme things do not usually exist.

Good practices to stay safe online

Keep in mind that photos, videos and audios can be edited or distorted to alter or change reality in one way or another.

Sometimes even the most reputable websites can make mistakes or even intentionally post controversial content out of greed or hidden intentions.

With that said, make sure to:

check the information. Personally, I use Factcheck.org or Snopes.com. Note: Just because the website has the word “fact” in its name does not mean that it is actually a website for reviewing actual facts.

Verify the information by checking its source whenever possible.

Review the original content without cuts or edits.

And finally, keep in mind that the facts do not depend on what you want, how you feel, or how popular a content is.

Don’t share content alone

because you agree with this. First make sure it contains (for the most part) truthful information. It is true that this is not easy, but there is no rush or pressure to share something you found online.

Why bother if nothing is real anyway?

This is because your actions are real.

The money you spend, the time you can lose, the products you take home, the vaccine you get or don’t get, the fights you have with your loved ones or close friends, and very importantly, your vote.

This is all real, so you should do it knowing for sure what you are doing. Real actions matter.

Plus, your WiFi is real too, and this brings us to a less contentious question.

Is WiFi (or any form of wireless communication) harmful to health?

Well, nobody knows for sure

But one thing is certain: If radio frequencies were really bad for us, we wouldn’t be here. This is because phenomena like WiFi are not unique to humans.

WiFi signals are a type of waves, which are part of the electromagnetic spectrum which is basically invisible but covers virtually everything we can see and hear.

In the graphic, created by NASA, the WiFi is at the same level as the microwaves.

The electromagnetic spectrum ranging from lower energy / longer wavelength (top) to higher energy / shorter wavelength (bottom)

So if WiFi – like other forms of radio-based communications like 5G, 4G, or Walkie Talkies – can actually cause cancer, affect reproductive health, or be seriously harmful to health in any way. Humanity would have suffered enough since the first microwave oven arrived in 1946.

Instead, we have nearly quadrupled since then, despite numerous wars.

Among these, I proudly contributed a small part to all of this over the past few years. Considering my line of work – I started messing around with routers in the early 2000s – I can safely say that I’ve been exposed to WiFi more than most people.

So when I say that WiFi signals are no more harmful than, say, sunlight, rain, or wind, I speak from my own experience. The reality is that you can stop worrying about this.

But turning off your router from time to time is probably a good idea. Among other things, to offers a break from all the crazy cyber world mentioned above.

WiFi conspiracy theories

Because the health effects of WiFi radio frequencies are not conclusive, there is a lot of misinformation in this regard. Nonsensical things like they can spread a virus over long distances or implant information in your head.

Don’t worry: This is all completely false. It is simply impossible.

Consequently, devices designed to keep your WiFi signal “clean” and “safe” (blocking 5G or EMF signals), or anything similar, are scams of varying magnitudes. Don’t waste your money or time on these.

The conclusion

There you have it. Before you click those share buttons below – you know what to do! – here you have the conclusion.

WiFi is probably not harmful to health. But using it can get you into all sorts of social, psychological and even financial problems that you might not find out about until it’s too late.

So, please use it carefully. At least keep your clicks under control. This is the key to staying safe in the cyber world. And every now and then, take a break and disconnect from the internet.

Our attention is valuable. Pay the parties they deserve it. This is true in the real world and also in cyberspace. Living your life while you are uninformed or manipulated is in my opinion worse than having cancer, even more so having an infected computer.

And the best thing is that you are free of all this. Stay safe!

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