As of April 2022, there were more than five billion internet users worldwide, which is 63.1 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.7 billion or 59 percent of the world’s population were social media users. (Statistica, 2022).
The Internet is clearly the new frontier. Much like the earlier pioneer days, regulation, safety, and rules of engagement can be nonexistent. In this age of the Internet and high technology the threats and predators have no faces, they are virtual, making it very hard to stay cyber safe. Even with the myriad offerings of information, people, and services at our fingertips, the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
So how does one safely enjoy the internet with confidence? There are many ways. On this National Safer Internet Day, I will share a couple of tips. The number one tip that encapsulates all others…Never stop learning, forever be a student that searches for a greater understanding. I suggest you take a moment each day to learn something new about the common Internet threats that we face and the various ways of safe navigation. Start your educational journey by navigating to the CISA website that is a culmination of data from many sources by U.S. cyber threat experts, and presented in a structure designed to keep you informed and safe. (CISA, 2023).
The second tip is guidance on dealing with the greatest likely threat that we will all face. Phishing is a form of social engineering in which a cyber threat actor poses as a trustworthy colleague, acquaintance, or organization to lure a victim into providing sensitive information or network access. (CISA, 2023). Phishing is also the easiest cybercriminal gateway to greater and more impactful crime. The best way to avoid becoming a victim after educating yourself is question and verify. Questions like, “Is this normal? Is this behavior consistent? Is the request reasonable? Did I initiate the request?” If any of these or other questions have even the slightest bit of uncertainty, reach out to the person, company, or organization through a separate means, phone call, separate email, or a walk down the hall for a face-to-face, and ask them, verify. Better safe than sorry.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
Education is also the most powerful weapon which you can use to surf the net as well. Happy Safer Internet Day!
Retrieved from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, January, 2023 Homepage | CISA
Retrieved from Statista Research Department, September, 2022 Internet and social media users in the world 2022 | Statista