Originally published by the Cyber Resilience Centre for London here.
Tuesday 7 February 2023 marks Safer Internet Day, an initiative celebrated around the globe focused on uniting web users in the hopes of a better internet for everyone. This year’s theme is “Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online”, which is mainly focused on helping young people navigate the internet safely, but internet safety is important to all of us, especially if you are running a business partially or completely digitally.
We’re proud to be part of an initiative building a safer online environment and economy. With our knowledge and experience, we thought we could add to the conversation by examining 3 of the many online issues that this day seeks to tackle:
- Social Media
With the rise of so-called “fake news” in recent times, it’s become more difficult for everyone to discern the veracity of online information. While the skills to make these judgements tend to be taught at A-level or university, not everyone will have had the chance to learn them.
We think it’s important to teach all online users how to critically assess information sources, which in turn helps with security as awareness of potential hazards is boosted at the same time.
When judging whether an online source should be trusted, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:
- Who has written this? – are they a recognised authority on the subject, or have they consulted those who are? Are they capable of being objective?
- When was it written? – is it up-to-date? Have there been significant changes in the area since this was published?
- Why are they sharing this information? – is it something they normally talk about in the course of their work? Do they have an agenda they’re trying to push with this information as evidence?
- How accurate is the information? – is it correct and truthful? Can you check other sources to determine if this one is aligned on known facts?
By examining an information source through the lens of these questions, you should gain a deeper understanding on the trustworthiness of the information they’re providing.
For many people, social media platforms are an opportunity to socialise, read the news, and share your thoughts. However, it is important to be careful and have the right security measures in place to protect your personal information. The same applies if you have accounts for your business, and you will additionally want to make sure your accounts are secure so that you don’t run the risk of losing your audience or damage your brand due to a hacked account.
We recommend the following measures:
- Enable Two-Step Verification on all online accounts
- Use a Password Manager to ensure each account has a unique login, and if one account is compromised then the others will remain safe
- Be mindful of what you’re posting online, especially when it relates to your location or other information that could be used to harm you
You can find more information on Two-Step Verification in our Community Member’s Hub here (P.S. it’s free to register as a community member!)
In tandem with the effort to hammer home the real-world consequences of online activity, we also need to impress that cybercrime is just as serious and impactful as crime that takes place offline, and as such should be reported to authorities with equal diligence.
Most people wouldn’t hesitate to report crimes such as mugging, harassment, or fraud to the police, yet every day the online equivalents of these crimes go unreported and unpunished.
When a cybercrime occurs, we recommend reporting it to the following bodies (where appropriate):
- Action Fraud
- Online platform where the crime took place
Police now have specialist cybercrime divisions and are actively encouraging greater cybercrime reporting, as it helps them to stay ahead of the latest crime trends and techniques, and helps to prevent the same scams being perpetrated on others.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. You can access their online reporting portal here.
Platforms themselves have a responsibility around the activity taking place under their watch, and they are answerable to higher authorities when they get it wrong. It’s in their interests to keep harmful content off their platforms, and they can ensure the malicious actors have their behaviour monitored and moderated.
We’ve got a library of fantastic resources, all written and designed with user friendliness in mind, to help you navigate the world of cyber safety and resilience so that you can share these best practices with your workplace, friends and family.
We’re also now able to provide a range of accessible resources developed by Lead Scotland, covering a variety of abilities and languages, so that nobody is left behind in our push towards a safer internet. Check them out here.
And don’t forget to sign up to our FREE Community Membership, so that you can gain access to our library of resources and stay informed of the latest scams and threats.
About Safer Internet Day
Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in approximately 170 countries worldwide.
From cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns.
You can find out more about Safer Internet Day here.
About the Cyber Resilience Centre for London
The Cyber Resilience Centre for London is part of a network of 9 Regional Centres across the country whose role is to support small and medium-sized businesses and third sector organisations reduce their vulnerability to cyber-crime.
We’re a not-for-profit organisation working in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, The City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police. We offer a range of services to London’s small business community to help demystify the cyber security landscape and provide access to national intelligence data, free guidance and affordable help to protect your business online. Find out more about us, and sign up to our free Community Membership here.
*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.