news & views ● editorial
By Ashley Burns
Staying Safe in the Information Era
O nce upon a time, way, way back in an ancient era
known as the 1990s, when the Internet was still
a raw landscape of information sharing that only
a small fraction of the public was utilizing, the
term “hacker” had a very dangerous and evil
connotation. Movies and TV shows were made that de-
clared hackers the new villain of the cyber age, as Holly-
wood and news stories made these dark, shadowy
characters out to be diabolical geniuses that could steal our
lives with the stroke of a key. And while that identity still
exists today, the act of hacking has been watered down and
diluted to an almost jovial deﬁnition because of how vast
and readily accessible the Internet has become.
For example, we probably all know someone who has left
their Facebook account open on their phones or laptops or
home computers, which has allowed a friend or family
member to post a harmless-yet-hilarious status update at
that person’s expense. What’s the typical response to that?
“I was hacked.” Or maybe we’ve seen an instance when a
celebrity or notable personality has Tweeted something of-
fensive that he or she almost instantly regretted and delet-
ed. The standard excuse for that? “Someone hacked me.”
Because of minor instances like these, “hacking” has be-
come something that anyone can seemingly do as long as
someone has left a social media page open or account
logged in, when, in reality, the act is now far more danger-
ous than it has ever been before. With more social media
sites and more companies relying on online interaction and
commerce, your information is now more valuable to
thieves and even unscrupulous companies, and there are
people who will do whatever it takes to steal it. That’s why
we and so many others preach the safeties of creating and
maintaining your online presence.
In this winter edition of Pageantry magazine, we have
two great examples of the dangers of modern online inter-
action and personal branding. For starters, when Nina
Davuluri was crowned the new Miss America, she was the
immediate target of some horrible, bigoted remarks on
Twitter. Open-ended outlets for unlimited social interac-
tion and the ability to freely discuss news events as they un-
fold is a double-edged sword that, more often than not,
displays the truly ugliest side of the Internet, now in a mat-
ter of mere seconds.
As she explains in her interview within this issue, Nina
was able to take the derogatory and racist remarks with a
grain of salt. After all, the Internet’s dark side is no secret.
What’s key to overcoming the instantaneous hatred and
ﬁlth is being able to look past it and continue working to-
ward the betterment of those who truly appreciate what it
is that you do. That’s what Nina will strive for, not only in
her upcoming reign as Miss America, but also in the future
when she fulﬁlls her dream of becoming a physician.
For Cassidy Wolf, though, the term “hacker” is far more
heinous than someone simply playing a Facebook prank.
Cassidy’s story is a terrifying one to most people, because it
reveals that invasion of privacy can not only happen to all
of us, but it can happen in ways that we’ve never expected.
Through an unused web cam, a smart TV, a home’s securi-
ty camera—any of these devices can help make our lives
more convenient, but they can also provide an incredible
danger to our personal lives and well-being.
A former classmate of Cassidy’s discovered how to ac-
cess her computer’s web cam—as well as many others, the
FBI would eventually discover—and attempt to use it to
blackmail her. To her credit, Cassidy handled this situation
with bravery and admirable aplomb, working with the fed-
eral and local authorities to bring the terrible person behind
it to justice recently, and she did this all while maintaining
the poise and maturity that we’d expect from someone with
such a prestigious national title. But crowns aside, she set
an example for any other teens or adults out there who may
ﬁnd themselves in a similar, unexpected situation. As she
explained, a person cannot cave to such threats, and they
need to let the authorities do their jobs.
Two different stories, one common theme—the dangers
of the Internet and the lack of online security. As more and
more people move toward establishing online presences
and social media branding—and this especially goes for all
of you aspiring models, actors and pageant queens out
there—the dangers grow, and the necessity for education
and awareness doubles with each new story of bullying, ha-
rassment or personal violation.
More insidious is the challenge of our own making. The
funny links or cute puppy images that many love to “Like”
are now, at an increasingly large percentage, subject to the
dreaded trojan, the imbedded virus that sends out more
viruses in addition to the plea-for-money-help stating you’ve
been mugged in some distant country whilst on vacation.
Between Pageantry’s digital edition and our ever-ex-
panding social media presence and all of our wonderful
fans, we are constantly trying to provide not only the best
content from the Glamour Lifestyle for our readers, but we
also want to maintain a safe environment for our readers
and Pageantry family to share their stories without having
to fear clicking a bad link or receiving rude or malicious
feedback from strangers.
Let’s create a safer and better online experience. Safety
comes with strong and positive decision-making. Pageantry
and you... Celebrating the Glamour Lifestyle, one positive
post and comment
at a time. Ⅺ