What you need to know about online safety

In today’s digital age, the internet has become an essential part of our lives. We use it to communicate, entertain, learn, and work. However, there are potential risks associated with increased internet use. This blog provides an overview of online safety, including its definition and importance for you, children and students. In addition, it highlights the most common cyber threats and offers five practical tips to minimise them.

What is online safety?

Online safety (or internet safety) refers to the practices and measures taken to protect individuals from potential harm while using the internet. It circles various issues, including protecting personal data and avoiding cyberbullying, harassment, online scams and fraud. 

The importance of online safety

The convenience of the internet comes with the risk of cyber threats such as identity theft, cyberbullying, online scams, and exposure to harmful content. Online safety measures promote safe and responsible internet use while reducing the risk of negative consequences from cyber threats. By practising online safety, individuals can enjoy the benefits of the internet without compromising their security and privacy. 

Online safety for children and students  

Nowadays, children and students are glued to their smart devices, and the internet poses many potential dangers. Children and students can encounter inappropriate or harmful content, such as violent or sexually explicit material. Online predators use the internet to target children and students, engaging in inappropriate conversations or attempting to meet up, putting them in danger.  

In addition, cyberbullying can cause emotional distress and even physical harm to the victim. Excessive internet use may lead to addiction, negatively affecting mental health, social skills, and academic performance. Parents, teachers, and caregivers must educate children and students about online safety and monitor their internet use to protect them from potential dangers. 

The various cyber threats 

We understand that there are many variants regarding the type of cyber threats. These are examples of ways they can harm individuals and businesses:   

  • Malware
    A software that includes various types of malicious programs designed to damage, disrupt, or take control of computer systems and networks
  • Phishing
    Using fraudulent emails, websites, or messages to obtain sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account details
  • Identity Theft
    The act of stealing personal information, such as name, address, and social security number, to gain access to financial accounts or other data
  • Denial of Service (DoS) Attack:
    An attempt to make a computer system or network unavailable by flooding it with traffic or requests, causing it to crash or slow down
  • Ransomware
    A malware that encrypts files or data on a computer system, making it inaccessible, and then demands payment to restore access
  • Cyber Espionage
    The act of stealing confidential information from a computer system or network, typically for political or economic gain. 

5 tips to minimise cyber threats

Cyber threats are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, putting individuals and businesses at risk. To minimise your risk of falling victim to cyber attacks, we have compiled 5 practical tips to help you take proactive measures: 

  1. Keep your software up to date
    Cyber attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. So, install software updates as soon as they become available. This includes operating systems, browsers, plugins, and applications.
  2. Use strong passwords
    Weak passwords are an easy target for cybercriminals. Therefore, you must use strong, unique passwords for each account. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid using common words or phrases.
  3. Be cautious of suspicious emails and attachments
    Many cyber attacks come in the form of phishing emails or malicious attachments. Therefore, stay cautious when opening emails from unknown senders, and don’t download attachments or click on links unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe.
  4. Use antivirus and antimalware software
    Antivirus or antimalware can detect and block malicious software before it can harm your computer. Make sure to install reputable programs and keep them up to date. Three of the most prominent antiviruses are Norton 360, Bitdefender and Kaspersky.
  5. Use a VPN
    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help protect your online privacy and security by encrypting your internet traffic. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi or accessing sensitive information online. 

Stay safe

Now you know the cyber threats you must look out for when surfing the internet. Think about your online safety and those around you. Check if you’re already taking the right measures and deep scan your device with an antivirus while you’re at it!

Wondering how you can protect your data?
Read our blog: How do you protect your data from cyber threats.