Safety First: It’s Safer Internet Day!
Each February, more than 100 countries around the world take note of the massive power of the internet and more importantly, the urgency surrounding how to be safer and better users of the internet, especially those younger users. In the U.S., Safer Internet Day is recognized on Feb. 9.
Why Was Safer Internet Day Started?
The initiative began in 2004 as part of the EU’s SafeBorders project. Since then, it’s grown to the global reach it has today – in schools, communities, and in organizations around the world.
Its stated goal is to not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.
Globally, it’s coordinated by the Brussels-based Insafe/INHOPE Network, with the support of the European Commission. ConnectSafely, a nonprofit dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy, and security, has been the official U.S. host since 2013.This year’s theme is “Together for a better internet.”
Why Worry About Internet Safety?
The more we rely on the internet as a source of both a wealth of valuable information and endless entertainment, the more risks we potentially face. Whether we find ourselves falling for a phishing scam, Googling information only to be led down a rabbit hole of unreliable sources, or as a parent, discover that the wrong search words sent your child to sites you’d rather they didn’t see (use those parental controls, folks!), we’re all vulnerable – personally and at work.
Safer internet use also encompasses addressing cyberbullying, how we manage social networking, digital identity, and more.
As great a resource as the internet is, it’s also a resource to not take lightly. Mismanagement of internet use, particularly at your organization, can lead to data leaks, corporate spearphishing scams, cybertheft, reputational damage, and more.
Enhance Your Organization’s Internet Safety
With more organizations now working with a substantial percent of employees off-site, protecting data rises ever higher on the list of concerns for IT staffs. The risk of information landing in the wrong hands increases when transferring data between employees who need to collaborate between partners and third parties. Some collaboration tools are safer to use than others. Look for a collaboration platform that is flexible and allows for secure files, secure forms and secure emails; one that’s easy to use helps centralize your applications; and one that offers automation features to reduce the risks of human error.
Related Reading: 3 Things to Look for in a Remote Collaboration Tool
- Keep all your software up to date, including that Web browser with auto updates.
- Pause before sharing sensitive information and ensure any sensitive data is protected with strong encryption protocols.
- Be sure Web addresses you visit include HTTPS and a closed padlock icon.
- Suspect a message might not be real or contain a link to a real web site? Confirm it by typing the address yourself, versus just clicking the link or button in a pop-up window.
Related Reading: 10 Tips to Protect Your Company’s Data in 2021
Refresh Your Family’s Internet Safety Knowledge
Some of the tips provided by the sponsors of Safer Internet Day include taking time to chat with your family about how they are currently using the internet and what precautions they may already be aware of and use. You can jumpstart this talk with these recommended conversation starters:
- You see a post or fact online that just doesn’t seem right. How do you check if it’s true? Do you share it, correct it or just ignore it?
- An ad pops up while you’re doing a search—you click on the ad—it takes you away from your original search. What do you do?
- You’re using an app that you have permission to use, but while using the app you get a message from someone you don’t know. What do you do?
- You post a picture of a friend or classmate and they ask you to take it down. What do you do?
Due to the pandemic, the day’s usual in-person activities at many schools have been curtailed in favor of online content. An asynchronous program with home activities, including lesson-plans and videos that can be accessed anytime at SID-USA.org, beginning Feb. 8. The videos cover a range of urgent issues, including online toxicity, racial justice, free speech, misinformation, the very real pressure to be “perfect” and how to manage screen time while staying connected during the pandemic.
Stay Safer Online. Think Like a Hacker.
Regularly reviewing internet safety protocols goes without saying. But if you want to dig into the minds of a cybercriminal even further, check out our guide to Thinking Like a Hacker.
Get the e-Book: Think Like a Hacker