“Our lives have been greatly advanced by the internet and our shared participation in the digital world. The pandemic accelerated digital first behaviours, forcing millions more to take to online for everything from practical shopping to personal chatting. For individuals, businesses, families and friends, the internet was our means of working, shopping, and communicating. However, COVID-19 gave rise to a new digital pandemic, with cyber criminals taking advantage of the pandemic’s disruption, causing attacks to surge. And with the world tentatively taking steps into a post COVID future, the attacks show no signs of slowing down.
“Safer Internet Day is a chance for us all to remember that strong cybersecurity habits are essential to keep our digital identities out of the wrong hands. It’s especially true when we know that most data breaches – a staggering 85% – involve human error.
“But what can we do to be cyber smart? It starts by using strong passwords, which is your first and most essential line of defence against a cyber-attack. A strong password is at least 16 characters long and includes a mix of capital and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. It can be hard to keep track of these, but a password management solution can help create and store strong passwords, and it can automatically enter credentials when you return to a website to log in. Some can also help you keep an eye out for suspicious activity involving your personal information so you can act accordingly.
“Cyber attackers love it when their intended victims are uninformed and unaware about cyber security – it makes their task easier, after all. It’s therefore imperative you keep up to date on security best practices. While no one can ever be 100% protected, if you take the appropriate steps to keep yourself safe you can rest easy knowing you’ve done your part to be safer online.”
Child online safety needs to evolve, and we all have a role to play: parents, teachers and certainly the social media networks that our children love. Children under 13 are not thinking about their identities being stolen. Rather, their focus is on the identities they can create through these social mediums. Kids will persist in asking their parents if they can join social media apps because it’s a social currency and a digital enabler of popularity (theoretically). As a parent, when to allow digital access is a conundrum. On the one hand, you want to enable your children with suitable social skills, and community access, and on the other hand, you want to protect them from predators.
As children spend more time online and unaware of their vulnerability, helping to protect your child’s online identity can start with simple education just as you teach them good table manners and not to take candy from strangers. Starting early helps you stay ahead of fraudsters and building good identity protection practices into your child’s daily life when they are young helps prepare them to safely navigate more sophisticated environments in the years ahead.
The best way to protect yourself from cyber threats and secure sensitive data is to always keep data security best practices in mind. The most common entry point for cyber criminals is through obtaining passwords to a central account, such as an email inbox, and then taking over all associated access. Often, this is done inconspicuously, allowing the attacker to settle in for a long period of time to generate maximum profit.
Passwords will remain central to login verifications online for years to come, so this Safer Internet Day, it’s important to make sure we’re taking the right steps to keep these secure and robust.
That means perfecting the basics – using a unique combination of letters, symbols and numbers so that passwords aren’t easy to guess, and refraining from using the same password across multiple accounts.
It’s certainly difficult to remember multiple passwords, especially if they consist of disjointed cryptic special characters. But you should resist the urge to write these down on a scrap of paper which could easily get lost – it’s a data protection taboo. The best and most secure way to keep track of these is to use a password manager that requires two-factor authentication.
Another year, another Safer Internet Day, and you’ll forgive me for saying it all feels a little repetitive. The threats haven’t evolved in the last twelve months, but their frequency and ferocity has increased with organisations falling under the onslaught.
In the last few weeks, we have seen ransomware attacks that have crippled organisations across the globe. Data breaches continue to be reported with increased frequency and the scale of data exposed rises. According to the Threat Landscape Retrospective report, in 2021 over 40,417,167,937 records were exposed worldwide, but that’s just a tiny percentage of the actual number given only 13% of breach disclosures analyzed by the research team included information on the number of records exposed.
If we think back to where we started, with the “network of networks” assembled by ARPANET and various researchers in 1983, who could have believed that the internet would be essential for organisations to function today. Yet that’s where we are – and we’re paying the price given that security was not baked in at the outset. Looking to the future, companies are investing billions in building the Metaverse, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact, but at what cost? We’re struggling to secure data, what happens when it’s our very selves that we’re putting online?
This Safer Internet Day I want everyone – organisations and individuals – to take a moment and think where we’re heading. I want it to be safe, and that means it needs to be secure.
Safer Internet Day has never been more important than this year. The initial cybersecurity scramble caused by the pandemic is now a thing of the past, and businesses and employees everywhere have successfully adapted to the changes it brought. However, in 2022, we face a new problem: remaining secure while hybrid working becomes increasingly more prevalent in our professional lives.
Employees will continue to connect to corporate networks from a wide variety of devices, via various internet connections ranging from home networks, café Wi-Fi and offices. And so far, cybercriminals have been taking full advantage: with a triple digit increase in cyberattacks seen in the first half of last year alone. The threat of ransomware, impact of mis-information, and phishing scams should be top of mind of information security professionals, employees, and consumers alike.
Awareness and a basic understanding of the threats is the basis for the importance of Safer Internet Day in 2022. An increased focus on ensuring that security is front-and-centre of both consumers and employees\’ minds. Putting cybersecurity at the top of their list of priorities – keeping themselves and the businesses they work for safe.
Information Security Buzz (aka ISBuzz News) is an independent resource that provides the experts comments, analysis and opinion on the latest Information Security news and topics