Mobile phones that can recognize our faces, self-driving cars, augmented reality. Whilst all this advancement is certainly beneficial, the speed at which it has developed leads us to a dilemma. With our generation growing up with parents that did not have the internet, many of us were thrown in at the deep end and fail to see the dark side of the web.
We auto-fill our names, dates of birth, and addresses into dozens of websites, we allow apps to track our every move, record our every search, and buy the merchandise “cookies” suggest for us. But how safe is it really? How much information are we really giving complete strangers?
What is e-safety?
Internet safety has become an increasing area of concern. The campaign, Safer Internet Day, is campaigned annually on the 6th of February, and last year over 1,600 organizations rallied behind the cause. Below, I have compiled some key advice that they have outlined:
- Your password should be unique (i.e. not your name, name of your pet, or birthday). I always find it helpful to use a phrase that is meaningful to me. It is also advisable to include capital letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Always ensure that your firewalls are updated. A good firewall is not something to skimp one, so invest in a good quality one such as Norton. This will massively reduce your risk of getting malware, and allowing viruses to infect your computer.
- Never send your bank details if you get an email requesting them. Even if the mail appears to be from your bank, they will never ask you for your details in this manner. If unsure, it is always safer to give your provider a ring, and confirm.
- If you use social media, be aware of your privacy settings. Do you want everyone in the world to see your posts? Perhaps consider narrowing it down to friends, or even friends of friends. Also, be conscious of the fact that future employers, or universities will be able to see everything you publically post – so only post things you wouldn’t mind your grandma or mom stumbling upon!
- The site you are using to online shop should be secured. The url should have an “https” before it as opposed to an “http”.
- Do not open or reply to any emails or messages you get from people you don’t recognize. Even clicking on some emails can infect your computer with a virus.
Written by Sophie Z.