Internet safety or online safety is trying to be safe on the internet and is the knowledge of maximizing the user's personal safety and security risks to private information and property associated with using the internet, and the self-protection from computer crime in general.
As the number of internet users continues to grow worldwide, internets, governments and organizations have expressed concerns about the safety of children using the Internet. Safer Internet Day is celebrated worldwide in February to raise awareness about internet safety. In the UK the Get Safe Online campaign has received sponsorship from government agency Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and major Internet companies such as Microsoft and eBay.
Sensitive information such as personal information and identity, passwords are often associated with personal property (for example, bank accounts) and privacy and may present security concerns if leaked. Unauthorized access and usage of private information may result in consequence such as identity theft, as well as theft of property. Common causes of information security breaches include:
Phishing is a type of scam where the scammers disguise as a trustworthy source in attempt to obtain private information such as passwords, and credit card information, etc. through the internet. Phishing often occurs through emails and instant messaging and may contain links to websites that direct the user to enter their private information. These fake websites are often designed to look identical to their legitimate counterparts to avoid suspicion from the user.
Internet scams are schemes that deceive the user in various ways in attempt to take advantage of them. Internet scams often aim to cheat the victim of personal property directly rather than personal information through false promises, confidence tricks and more.
Malware, particularly spyware, is malicious software disguised as software designed to collect and transmit private information, such as passwords, without the user's consent or knowledge. They are often distributed through e-mail, software and files from unofficial locations. Malware is one of the most prevalent security concerns as often it is impossible to determine whether a file is infected, despite the source of the file.
The growth of the internet gave rise to many important services accessible to anyone with a connection. One of these important services is digital communication. While this service allowed communication with others through the internet, this also allowed the communication with malicious users. While malicious users often use the internet for personal gain, this may not be limited to financial/material gain. This is especially a concern to parents and children, as children are often targets of these malicious users. Common threats to personal safety include: phishing, internet scams, malware, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online preditions and sextortion.
[Cyberstalking] is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include the making of false accusations or statements of fact (as in defamation), monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information that may be used to harass. According to a study conducted by Baum et al. (2009), the rate of assault through electronic means such as e-mail or instant messaging was over one in four out of all stalking victims in the study.
Cyberbullying is the attack upon an individual or group through the use of electronic means such as instant messaging, social media, e-mail and other forms of online communication with the intent to abuse, intimidate, or overpower. In a 2012 study of over 11,925 students in the United States, it was indicated that 23% of adolescents reported being a victim of cyber bullying, 30% of which reported experiencing suicidal behavior.
Online predation is the act of engaging an underage minor into inappropriate sexual relationships through the internet. Online predators may attempt to initiate and seduce minors into relationships through the use of chat rooms or internet forums. In a sample of 216 incarcerated sexual offenders, the behavior characteristics that emerged were categorized into three groups: A) manipulative - typically a child molester; B) Opportunist - typically a rapist and C) Coercive being a mixture of both rapists and child molesters. 
Various websites on the internet contain material that some deem offensive, distasteful or explicit, which may often be not of the user's liking. Such websites may include internet, shock sites, hate speech or otherwise inflammatory content. Such content may manifest in many ways, such as pop-up ads and unsuspecting links.
Sextortion, especially via the use of webcams, is a concern, especially for those who use webcams for flirting and cybersex. Often this involves a cybercriminal posing as someone else - such as an attractive person - initiating communication of a sexual nature with the victim. The victim is then persuaded to undress in front of a webcam, and may also be persuaded to engage in sexual behaviour, such as masturbation. The video is recorded by the cybercriminal, who then reveals their true intent and demands money or other services (such as more explicit images of the victim, in cases of online predation), threatening to publicly release the video and send it to family members and friends of the victim if they do not comply. A video highlighting the dangers of sextortion has been released by the National Crime Agency in the UK to educate people, especially given the fact that blackmail of a sexual nature may cause humiliation to a sufficient extent to cause the victim to take their own life, in addition to other efforts to educate the public on the risks of sextortion.
- Control software:
Groups and individuals working on the topic
- AHTCC – Australian High Tech Crime Centre
- Incredible Internet
- Sonia Livingstone
- Tween summit
- Youth Internet Safety Survey
- "Statistics". ITU.
- "SAFER INTERNET DAY". Commonwealth of Australia 2013.
- "Get Safe Online".
- "Internet Phishing Alert".
- Stawhun, Jenna; Adams, Natasha; Huss, Matthew. "The Assessment of Cyberstalking: An Expanded Examination Including Social Networking, Attachment, Jealous, and Anger in Relation to Violence and Abuse". ProQuest. Violence and victims. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
- Litwiller, Brett; Brausch, Amy. "Cyber Bullying and Physical Bullying in Adolescent Suicide: The Role of Violent Behavior and Substance Use". ProQuest. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
- Bonanno, Rina; Hymel, Shelley. "Cyber Bullying and Internalizing Difficulties: Above and Beyond the Impact of Traditional Forms of Bullying". ProQuest. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
- Rebocho, Maria; Gonçalves, Rui. "Sexual Predators and Prey: A Comparative Study of the Hunting Behavior of Rapists and Child Molesters". ProQuest. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
- "Sextortion (webcam blackmail)". Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- "Webcam blackmail cases have doubled, police say". BBC News. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- "The Skype sex scam - a fortune built on shame". 27 October 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- "'Sextortion': NCA releases awareness video". BBC News. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.