Today is Safer Internet Day: during this 21st edition the theme is ‘Together for a better internet’. We do indeed have to do it together, but at the same time a better internet starts with you. Particular emphasis is placed on young people, for whom the Internet may often seem to hold no secrets, but who at the same time have difficulty assessing the consequences of their behavior.
It used to be said that you should choose a very difficult password and that is absolutely still true. It is still best to go for passwords of 12 characters, with different types of characters in them and not whole words. At the same time, we also see an innovation in the field of passwords, namely Passkeys. These should eventually replace the password and have been developed by a consortium that includes the largest tech companies in the world. Passkeys are a kind of key pairs, one part of which is on the site you log in to, and the other part is in your smartphone. If they come together, you get access. This means you don’t have to remember passwords and, because you unlock your phone with biometric data, an extra security check is immediately performed.
Don’t accept everyone on social media
It is of course very funny to start a conversation on Instagram with someone who asks if he can be your sugar daddy, but be careful. You really don’t know who is behind that account and what he or she is capable of. If you meet someone online, it’s even better to assume that they can’t be trusted: then things can only turn out better later on. Also, do not share personal information via social media, and certainly not with someone you do not know personally.
Make an appointment with your parents
What is common now are scams where people send your parents a message as if you need money. It has even reached the point where AI can imitate your voice. Therefore, agree with your parents what you will do in emergency situations and ensure that it does not resemble what malicious people do. For example, agree that you would never text them about money, or even agree on a code word that you will say when there is a real need. This way, your parents will know better what to expect from you, and therefore also if you turn out not to be that at all. Especially if they are concerned because the message is disturbing, then you are more likely to agree: so make good agreements.
Online is not optional
Some people think that behavior they exhibit online on the ‘worldwide web’ doesn’t really count. However, the opposite may be true, because what is online is immediately seen by many people and often remains findable. Are you about to tweet out of frustration that your manager is a jerk, or that your company is not as sustainable as it pretends to be? Think before you start: first count to 20 and think about what would happen if your manager, your mother, your grandfather or your partner were to read this. Are you still posting it?
Cybersecurity is not just your computer
Because we are used to cyber security training, for example from work, often involving computers, you would almost think that cybercrime only takes place on the PC. Nothing could be further from the truth: cybersecurity also concerns your phone. Text messages with phishing sites, scammers on social media, Microsoft supposedly calling you: these are all examples of cybercrime that takes place on your smartphone. So always stay alert there too.