Safer Internet Day highlights the most critical issues facing people today, protecting what matters to them in a hyper-connected world.
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation.
Tips To Stay Safe Online
- Create Complex Passwords. Creating strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts really is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts.
Check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. So, to log into an account you may need to enter a code sent to your phone, as well as your password and passphrase.
- Boost Your Network Security. Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, unsecured, public Wi-Fi. It’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information.
- Use a Firewall. Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorised access to your computers and devices. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secure.
- Click Smart. Now that you’ve put smart tech measures into place, make sure that you don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information.
- Be a Selective Sharer. There are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins.
- Protect Your Mobile. Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores.
- Practice Safe Surfing and Shopping. When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so no-one can intercept it.
- Keep up to date. Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.
- Keep your guard up. Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share.
Before the rise of the internet, stranger danger referred to the dangers associated with strangers physically preying on children. While stranger danger is still a reality, it has a new dimension: threats from dangerous strangers can present themselves both in the flesh and online and is a growing problem.
When you send your child out into the world, you try to keep them safe from predators. The same is true online: just as a child can fall prey to a real-life predator, he or she can be victimised by an online stranger looking to prey on unsuspecting youths. Stranger danger – whether in real life or online – is something all parents worry about. By taking some precautions, staying aware and communicating with your children, you’ll be able to put your mind at ease and allow them the freedom they need to grow, explore, learn and have fun.
Tips to keep your child safe
- Explore together: Talk to your child – find out what they do online; ask them to show you their favourite games and websites.
- Talk to siblings: Encourage older children to think about what they share with younger siblings.
- Search safely: Aimed at young children Swiggle or Kids Search are web browsers that filter out inappropriate content.
- Check age ratings: Apps, games, films and TV shows often come with age ratings – use these to determine whether something is suitable for your child.
- Social networks: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have a minimum age requirement of 13, so your child shouldn’t be using them.
- Stay involved: Encourage your child to use laptops and tablets in places you can keep an eye on what they are doing, instead of leaving them alone in their bedroom.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to educate each other – we need to share knowledge and collaborate to protect ourselves against the current threats we face as people living in a connected world.
“The outcomes are set to worsen, as criminals become more sophisticated and target every aspect of our lives from the connected home, to our children’s toys, right through to our medical records and fitness trackers.
“Therefore, we all need to take action before it is too late” said Raj Samani, Chief Scientist at McAfee.