Protecting our digital privacy has never been more important. Technological advancements have allowed us to achieve incredible results. But like with most good things, the internet has exposed us to new challenges. The campaign for Safer Internet Day 2022 was ‘All Fun and Games? Exploring Respect and Relationships Online’. It’s a reminder to respect others and protect ourselves while interacting online.
At FDM, we believe that technology plays a vital role in creating positive change. To celebrate Safer Internet Day UK this year, we hosted a webinar with Patrick Wake, Group Head of Information Security at FDM Group. He shared some of his top tips for staying safe online. You can watch the webinar 'All Fun and Games- Safer Internet Day 2022' here. These are the key takeaways:
1. Don’t put anything online that you may later regret
Have you ever wondered how hackers source your personal data? It’s easier than you think! Open Source Intelligence (OSI) tools and websites enable hackers to track your behaviour and personal information on social media platforms. For example, hackers can simply type a name and location into an OSI tool, find your social media profiles, and then use this information to find out more intimate details about you via an online directory, such as your address, how much your house is worth and even where your siblings live.
‘Digital dirt’ is a term used to describe information that could expose your details online, intentionally, or not. Research has shown that 25% of adult internet users confess to posting sensitive information on major social networking platforms. This includes information, such as home addresses, mobile numbers, and email addresses. It shows just how easily people forget about basic online security.
Most employers check your social media profiles, so avoid posting anything that you could later regret. If you want to restrict what employers can see on your social media profiles, change your privacy settings to private.
Remember - once it’s online, it’s there forever.
2. Understand the technology you are using
When was the last time you read the instructions before plugging something in? We’ve all been guilty of it. But did you know that hackers can access your home IP address and connect to your devices? There are search engines available that look for smart devices connected to the internet, which enable hackers to uncover IP addresses.
Most new smart devices come with a default password. Change this to something unique to prevent hackers from gaining access. The instruction manual will detail the steps you need to take to protect your privacy. More astonishing is that hackers can access your CCTV cameras and baby monitors just by using a simple Google hack.
3. Don’t tolerate cyberbullying and online harassment
As we welcome more ways to communicate, we also put ourselves at risk of cyberbullying and harassment.
- More than 40% of adults in the US have been victims of online harassment
- 42% of Instagram users are victims of cyberbullying
- 56% of under 25-year-olds have witnessed others being bullied online
It’s more important than ever to learn to protect ourselves and stay safe online. Never tolerate cyberbullying or harassment. Every social media platform allows you to block or report accounts for inappropriate behaviour. When you block an account, you will be given the option to report the person for being inappropriate.
If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of online bullying or harassment, there are dedicated charities that can provide support. At FDM, we provide a wellbeing programme that offers access to our Wellbeing Ambassadors across the FDM community, as well as access to a variety of helpful resources.
4. Don’t believe everything you read online
Fake news has become a rising concern over the years. And now, it’s increasingly difficult to avoid. Social media platforms make it easy for people to share information on a large scale. This leads to fake news spreading very quickly and makes it more difficult to identify inaccuracies in the story.
Fake news can damage your reputation or the reputation of your business, so it’s vital to fact-check before sharing news online. Fake news can lead to exaggerated truths and unfounded rumours, which create anxiety and cynicism in the workplace.
Be aware of the news you are reading online and always employ a critical mindset - is what you are reading credible? Never share anything online if you are concerned about its legitimacy.
At FDM, we believe that everyone has the right to feel safe online whether in a personal or professional capacity. We believe in promoting a safe online environment and protecting your digital privacy long after Safer Internet Day 2022. Know what you’re agreeing to online and never share your personal information.
Finally, don’t rely on anyone else to protect your privacy.