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February 6, 2018updated 11 Jul 2022 6:30am

Safer Internet Day 2018: Why it cannot be ignored

Parents are a vital audience that thos pushing the Safer Internet Day 2018 message are hoping to reach, with technology education proving vital from a young age.

By Tom Ball

The 6th of February is upon us and that means Safer Internet Day 2018 is here, driving forwards the mission to encourage responsible use of technology globally.

Young people are at the heart of mission, a section of society that derives immense value from the use of technology while also being the most vulnerable to its dangers.

Technology is already providing never before seen acceleration and support to the learning process for example, but children today are growing up in a truly connected world that brings with it a raft of risks that mirror those in the real world.

In the engine room of the project is the UK Safer Internet Centre, co-ordinating the involvement of over a thousand organisations on Safer Internet Day 2018. Activities are set to take place today across the United Kingdom, aiming to elevate the Safer Internet Day conversation to a national and global level.

To put the need for increased awareness into perspective, research from Nominet found that parents have a vital role to play. The study found that 2.7 million parents share family photos with complete strangers, while 25 per cent of parents allow their pre-teen children to have their own Facebook account.

Herein CBR has compiled some of the reactions from professionals from across the tech industry to Safer Internet Day 2018, gaining an insight into what the experts believe are the most important elements.

Bad habits cause risks at work

Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow, McAfee, said: “Safer Internet Day plays an important role. The reality is that we need to continue raising awareness for codes of best practice online. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for slip ups and mistakes which allow them to access lucrative private data – from bank account details to medical history. Consumers must be aware of the threats online – not least because the blurring of work life boundaries today means bad habits online can quickly slip into the office.

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“Businesses should offer staff training to build up a strong security culture across their entire organisation. Implementing the right technology is vital but, at the end of the day, it’s about looking for a blended approach which suits your specific organisation. This means finding the right combination of people, process and technology to effectively protect the organisation’s data, detect any threats and, when targeted, rapidly correct systems. A business’ defences are only as strong as its weakest link. Safer Internet Day acts as a timely reminder for organisations to ensure the correct training is in place so staff can remain cyber-savvy online.”

GDPR and Safer Internet Day

Joe Garber, Global Head of product marketing: information management & governance, Micro Focus:“As the GDPR fast approaches and organisations start to figure out how best to comply to the new rules, initiatives like ‘Safer Internet Day’ are more important than ever. When it comes to the GDPR, the risk of hefty fines and loss of credibility with customers are the bottom-line consequences of non-compliance for businesses. However, today we should be thinking about the benefits the GDPR will bring to privacy and security – something organisations will see if they approach the new regulations methodically and carefully, with the right technology processes in place.

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“Thinking about the safety of the web more broadly, the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices in our homes and offices – and even on ourselves through smart watches, medical sensors and more –  poses a huge threat to privacy and security. The immense volumes of information gathered by these devices means that even legitimate use could quickly pinpoint the identity of an individual using many different fragments of data.”

Youngsters are not aware of the risks

Andy Kays, Chief Technical Officer at UK-based threat detection and response specialist, Redscan: “There’s no mistaking the fact that young people live more of their lives online, and it’s why they can often run rings around their elders when it comes to most digital tasks. Sadly, many youngers aren’t fully aware of the risks, or pay little attention to the dangers of using digital technologies. Some websites and apps do encourage privacy and security by default, but many young people share their data freely online without a second thought to what they are sharing and who could ultimately see it. It’s why we desperately need initiatives like this, which promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

“Part of this means promoting cyber education and training from an early age and it’s no exaggeration to say that teaching young people about safe internet use is as important as other progressive areas of the curriculum such as sex education.”

Understanding the importance of social media

Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, says: “Social media changes all the time, and to some extent we are all still learning about its pros and cons as it evolves. As the debate over the societal impact of social media grows, it’s reassuring to see that parents have started to heed warnings and reduce the number of pictures of their children that they post online. But we can still do much better, especially when it comes to understanding privacy settings and making sure that the posts we share are only seen by those we really want to. After all, you wouldn’t share family photos with strangers you bump into on the street, so why do it online?”

The dawn of biometrics and authentication

James Romer, EMEA chief security architect at SecureAuth, said: “Safer Internet Day seeks to educate children on how to keep safe online. With this in mind it’s interesting to consider the idea that younger generations may grow up never having to remember a password. As biometrics and adaptive authentication become ever more mainstream, usernames and passwords increasingly seem like a relic of a bygone age.

Safer Internet Day 2018: Why it cannot be ignored

“And rightly so! Passwords are an old-fashioned, out-dated method of security The number of data breaches arising from weak or stolen passwords has jumped in the last three years from 63% to 81%. The security industry as a whole has a responsibility to look past establish protocols and push users into a safer, passwordless future.”

Use a password manager

Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab explains, “If people have strong passwords that they can remember, they will not only be able to access everything they need, whenever they need it, but the information held in their accounts will also be secure from hackers. This is important to consumers that just want to get on with their day-to-day lives in safety – allowing them to, for example, find someone’s contact information, recall a specific meeting place, win the war in their favorite game, check their emails, or order something they need when they want, without revealing their information to any hackers or criminals.”

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