The global digital population was an estimated 4.2 billion people last year and it’s only growing. But so are safety concerns. 52% of Internet users are more concerned with online privacy than they were a year ago. Think about your social media accounts – 3.4 billion people use social media to document their lives and keep up with loved ones. Yet 6 in ten people feel that social media has too much power. Our team has put together some awesome advice on how to stay secure online in time for Safer Internet Day.
Coordinated from the UK, Safer Internet Day is a global campaign run in over 100 countries to work “together for a better Internet.” The event launches February 5th and is geared towards youth, but feel free to take part in what’s happening near you or take advantage of their live stream here if you’re in the US.
What threats are out there that you need to be aware of?
The average American spends 24 hours online per week. That is a lot of time to get into trouble. The pointers below are meant to help empower you. The Internet is a fascinating place, and we want to help you get the most out of it while remaining secure.
Cyberbullying is when someone bullies you through an online medium, like chat, social media, or email. It is especially pervasive online because the brutish people behind these attacks often claim to have data or digital evidence compromising the victim.
These people hide behind fake identities but, if they target you, their actions, like posting media of you without your consent or sending out your home or email address, can have real consequences.
Combat cyberbullies by blocking their accounts on your email, reporting them to platform authorities like Facebook, and changing the passwords on the accounts they contact you through. Encourage your kids to speak up if they or a friend is experiencing cyberbullying.
Sextortion is when an online entity claims to have compromising images or media of you and uses it to blackmail you into sending money or committing acts. A common one is an email claiming they have compromising material of the recipient watching porn. This is a typical sextortion phishing scam. Delete these messages, block the sender address, and change your password.
There’s also potential, especially with young and curious teens, to get manipulated into sending compromising media they might regret later. As part of Safer Internet Day teach your children about the downside of sharing such personal things online.
Viruses and Malware
Viruses are any type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself on your computer by modifying other computer programs and adding it’s own code. Here at FixMeStick we’re very familiar with this type of internet threat.
Unfortunately, viruses are a fact of life. Almost 1 million new malware threats are released everyday. To ensure your online safety while you’re using the internet make sure to have an antivirus, like McAfee Total Protection. It’s good for up to 5 devices so you can make sure your children’s smartphone and iPads are protected. Also remember to run monthly FixMeStick scans for an added layer of security.
What greater efforts are being made to make the Internet safer?
We are all making individual efforts to combat online threats but what else can be done?
Many countries are promoting digital literacy programs. After the General Data Protection Regulation passed, European countries created an online age of consent policy. This will prevent kids from giving out too much personal data online.
Teaching your young ones about the Internet and how to stay safe online should be as common sense as warning them to be wary of strangers on the street. As part of the Safer Internet Day resources, they have a children’s site, Zoe & Molly, to help kids learn about cyber protection. We’ve even put together some tips for adults when it comes to playing free games online.
Safer Internet Day has also posted some free and powerful resources to keep everyone safe online.
Like our Facebook page for regular updates on Safer Internet Day and other campaigns to keep your computer and online browsing safe.