When Safer Internet Day first took place in 2004, Facebook was just 2 days old, the must-have phone was the Motorola RAZR and Tweeting wouldn’t be a thing for another 2 years.
15 years later, the online world has altered dramatically. Technological innovation has created various new opportunities in communication, entertainment, education and other areas, but it has also brought a number of challenges. From trolls to fake news to data privacy breaches. For young people, in particular, the digital world can be the most incredible thing one minute and a difficult and damaging place the next.
This is where Safer Internet Day comes in. A global initiative that promotes the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology to young people. Safer Internet Day 2019 (#SID2019) takes place on Tuesday 5th February. Thousands of schools, youth groups, businesses, charities, police services and many other organisations around the world will be celebrating the theme: Together for a better internet.
In support of Safer Internet Day here are a few of our tips of being safer online.
1. 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 log in to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.
Then, 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 that ’s sent to your phone, as well as your password and passphrase.
2. Boost Your Network Security.
When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when out and about, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is generally unsecured. This means it’s fairly easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that generates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.
3. 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, and is often included with general security software. Using a firewall ensures all the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network.