Safer Internet Day: Tips on how users and businesses can stay safe in the digital world

Kaspersky research shows that during 2022, 15% of Internet user computers worldwide experienced at least one malware-class attack. Throughout last year, 32,5% of users in South Africa were affected by online threats, compared to 40% in Kenya and 35,8% in Nigeria. The Internet is a great tool, however individuals and businesses need to navigate it responsibly.

Safer Internet Day, that is celebrating its 20th anniversary tomorrow, is a campaign designed to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns. From cyberbullying to social networking and digital identity, Safer Internet Day is about people and businesses coming together for a better Internet. Kaspersky is dedicated to helping build safer Internet experiences and so to help create awareness for how people can navigate the Internet responsibly – for themselves, their families and others – the company has outlined several key tips and tricks to keep in mind.

  1. Keep the stream safe

In recent years, video and music streaming have become incredibly popular with several services available to Internet users. As with anything else online, there are some best practices to keep in mind to ensure your time watching content is as safe as possible.

For starters, you should only use trusted services, in other words those you have a subscription for. Always double-check the format of the URL and spelling of the company name before you download anything. Fake sites may look like the real thing, but there will be anomalies that will help you spot the difference. Avoid clicking on links or downloading files that promise pre-screen viewings of blockbuster movies or television shows. In all likelihood, these are scams either containing malware or are phishing attempts to get your credit card details.

  1. Develop safe online shopping habits

The convenience of online shopping has naturally resulted in increases in shopping-related malware and phishing attacks, because online criminals like to seize the opportunity to catch people out with deals that often seem too good to be true. Remember these tips and make them part of your online shopping habits:

  • Type the URL into your browser to check the deal on the website rather than clicking on links in e-mails.
  • Check for the padlock sign/HTTPS in the address bar when paying. Keep in mind, though, that this padlock means safety only if the website address is correct, so check twice!
  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card for extra payment protection.
  • Avoid saving your card details to a website.
  • Protect devices used for shopping and make sure you apply patches and updates as soon as possible.
  • Use a unique, complex password for each of your online accounts.
  1. Be careful what you share online

If you have social accounts, those networks have a lot of information about you, and you might be surprised how much of it is visible to anybody on the Internet by default. That’s why Kaspersky strongly recommend you check your privacy settings and be careful what information you share online. It is up to you to decide what info you want to share with complete strangers versus your friends.

Furthermore, parents must sit with their children and educate them on what is safe information to share online. It all begins with the sites they visit. They must be taught what suspicious Web sites are, and how to avoid them. Also, children must never enter passwords or any personal information on those sites. As part of this, they should only ever download apps from official stores. It is never advisable to share personal documents, banking information, or photos that could put them or their friends in a compromising position.

And while these tips are important for children, even adults can benefit from applying these best practices to what they do online.

  1. Helping children to manage screen time

When children spend a lot of time using technology, they can get addicted to it. This is especially the case when it comes to surfing the Web, streaming music and videos, or engaging in social networking with friends from around the world. The problem is that this can potentially result in sleeping problems, lead to mood shifts, contribute to weight gain, and cause body-image issues.

One approach to mitigate against the risk of this happening is to introduce children to the online environment by gradually increasing their screen time and removing restrictions. Some tips also apply to children of any age: The simplest and most effective include not using devices close to bedtime and silencing devices overnight. Parents must have an honest discussion with their children and agree on other times when they are not allowed to use their devices, such as during family meals or when it is time for homework or studying.

“The digital age has forced us to confront brand-new challenges and risks and so it is important to keep Internet safety in mind, as well as to invest in cybersecurity solutions, like Kaspersky Premium, to protect your devices from malicious online threats. While it may seem onerous or challenging to follow these tips shared at first, over time they will become ingrained and will help you and your family to have safe Internet experiences and really thrive in your digital life,” says Brandon Muller, technology expert and consultant for the MEA region at Kaspersky.

Over and above the cybersecurity threats consumers face, as more and more businesses are going through the digitisation process, their systems remain constantly online and also experience cyberthreats. However, 87% of South African businesses surveyed by Kaspersky in 2022 experienced cyber security skills shortage. This can further place pressure on businesses when it comes to Internet safety. Outsourcing services such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Threat Intelligence could mitigate against the risk of the skills cybersecurity gap for local businesses and should be considered as part of a business’s Internet and digital strategy.

“Our research shows an increase in persistent and sophisticated attacks targeting Africa, with South Africa labelled as a country with a higher level of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). The rise in APT techniques targeting businesses should be of great concern,” comments Muller. “MDR delivers 24/7 outsourced cybersecurity protection from cyberthreats. This is a continuous incident detection service where the focus is on cyber threat hunting especially when it comes to new malware detection, non-malware attack detection, and APT attack detection. MDR augments existing cybersecurity practices.”


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