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Safer Internet Day: Together for a better internet

Safer Internet Day is designed to encourage people to start the conversation around protecting ourselves, our families and our colleagues on the web, and this year’s message is ‘together for a better internet’.

Protect your internet ‘home’

In my house, every day is safer internet day, but I can understand why this dry topic might not be everyone’s first priority.

Presumably though, you would say you do everything you can to protect your home (and thus your family): door and window locks, alarms, garden fences, teaching your kids to close the front door, shutting your garage etc. Using the internet safely is just as important.

There are increasing numbers of reports which demonstrate the threat to us all of not using the web in a mindful and informed way.

One in three of us are affected by some sort of cyber security incident each year. In some cases, cybercrime is more of an issue than offline crime.

Isn’t it time we all took better responsibility for our online safety?

 

Five online safety tips

There are a range of things we can each do to reduce our chances of being the victim of an online crime. These are the virtual equivalents of protecting your home, keeping you, your family, and your colleagues safe.

1) Internet connection

Make sure it’s secure (ideally by using a VPN) and change the wifi router’s password from the one it came with. VPN’s sound complicated, but all they really do is give you added protection which can stop someone else snooping on your internet activity. In most cases, organising a VPN is a set and forget activity, so do it once, do it today, and help keep your online activity protected.

2) Anti-virus and security software

This is a small investment which can pay for itself over and over. Think of it as a cheap insurance to reduce the chance of your computer or network being compromised.

3) Password protection

Don’t send passwords by email. Have a different password for each account. Use a password management system to track each one. Think how much of our lives are reliant on online accounts. Once they are compromised, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Being rigorous with your passwords can offer significant protection.

4) Multi-factor authentication

Having a secondary security loop to jump through to logon on to your services significantly reduces the chance that someone else can access them. When it’s offered, switch it on. The additional few seconds it will take to logon to an account is time well spent if it protects your accounts.

5) Be mindful of your sharing

This is more behavioural than technical, but it’s a huge problem in the social media era. There are many issues with publicly sharing private moments on social networks; everything from alerting people to when you are not at home, to making it clear where your home is in the first place. Some people have had their images (or their homes or family) used on stock image sites. I would recommend switching off your geotagging settings, removing any identifying clues about where you are, and to limit the audience who will see the images to friends and family. Bear in mind that even after you switch your privacy settings, some apps will return to the default settings after an update.

 

I don’t expect you to be celebrating Safer Internet Day with a cake, but doing these five things is a good start to ensuring you, your family and business are safe online.

 

Cannings Purple’s  Director of  Design  and  Digital,  Jamie Wilkinson,  is an expert in proactively preparing communications strategies to respond to data breaches and managing communications during a data breach crisis. 

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