From Big Brother security myths to the fabrication of what the Internet actually is, cyberspace is full of fictions of its own. Can you call a myth's bluff? Test your knowledge on what's real and what's not in the globe's largest electronic world.
The Internet is the same as:
the World Wide Web
a single server
Though the Internet is commonly confused with the World Wide Web, the two are not the same. The Internet is a large series of networks whereas the Web is a popular system -- one of many, actually -- used to connect with this system of networks. The letters "HTTP" are telltale signs you're using the World Wide Web.
We all remember the days of slow dial-up, but the '80s and '90s aren't responsible for the Internet's first developments. Instead, the technological steps to support this worldwide phenomenon took place in the '60s.
True or false: The emoticon, or the idea to use text to create facial expressions, was devised first by Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon.
True. He's the only one who used emoticons in the 1980s.
False. He had nothing to do with emoticons.
False -- but he definitely popularized emoticons on the Internet.
The smileys :-) and sad faces :-( rampant on the Internet today were promoted by Fahlman in 1982, but the first use of emoticons was in a 1967 Reader's Digest issue in the form of a tongue-and-cheek expression with dashes and parentheses --)
Can your Internet Service Provider (ISP) track which Web sites you see on the Internet?
Yes. ISPs do it every day -- and probably at this very moment.
Yes, ISPs are capable of tracking their customers, but they choose not to. In special cases, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may ask ISPs to track the online activities of criminals.
If you're staying out of trouble, chances are your ISP isn't tracking you. The myth that your ISP is tracking you may become a reality, though, as government officials are pushing legislation that would require ISPs to track their customers' activities for certain periods of time.
too many people accessing one Web site at the same time
We're not exactly sure, but we know that many components (rather than a few) would have to be damaged since the Internet is an enormous, global series of networks.
It's a myth that the Internet is housed in a few large places. Plus, since the Internet is so widespread physically, it would take a lot to completely shut it down -- at that point you'd have a lot more on your mind than the Internet.
The beauty of the Internet is that anyone can contribute to its content, but that also means some information may not be true. Fear not, there are plenty of credible Web sites still out there -- like HowStuffWorks.com.
A common myth states that Internet companies like Google, Inc. can keep track of your individual searches using which of the following?
an Internet Protocol (IP) address
Sure, your searches can be tracked with an IP address, but you should also realize that IP addresses consist of a loose description of your geographic location. IP addresses are difficult to trace back to individuals.