[Blog by Technocamps Delivery Officer, Olga Petrovska]
Do you remember a time when hearing “You’ve got mail” caused elation? For today’s internet user that feels rather surreal, and yet it was a reality some 20 years ago.
With the development of technology, our notion of online is being continuously redefined. Just think about how much time you spend connected these days answering emails, conference calling, or scrolling through your favourite social media feed. These activities are only the tip of the iceberg that is the modern-day Internet.
According to Datareportal, the number of Internet users reached an astonishing 4.66 billion people worldwide as of January 2021. At the same time, the range of devices that can connect to the Internet is growing by the day. The border between the real world and the online world of computer networks begins to blur, and the inevitable security concerns come into to the foreground.
Whether you are an individual concerned over the privacy of your data, or a business that wants to avoid security breaches, here are 3 questions that you may want to ask:
- How does this affect me?
Our lives have become characterised by a seismic shift towards the digital realm: we communicate via messaging apps, we post updates on social media, we even fill in tax forms online. This activity results in a digital footprint. A lot of our private information is stored online in one way or another, whether we’ve actively shared it, or whether it was collected without our explicit knowledge.
While the speed at which we embrace and adapt to new technologies may be commendable, it does not necessarily reflect in our cyber security awareness. According to Online Nation 2020 Report, only 62% of UK adults are aware that social media websites are collecting their information, while only 59% are aware that information is also collected through registrations, and furthermore only 55% are aware that information can be collected through smartphone apps. The latter figure is alarming, considering the steadily increasing trend in mobile devices usage.
From a business perspective, the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly has impacted our engagement in online-based activities. The number of employees working remotely has risen tremendously over this period. Remote workers may access sensitive company data using their personal devices, or connect to networks that are not secure. Security breaches may lead to substantial financial loses and damaged to reputation.
2. Why is it important to protect myself?
Information is an asset. Data that you share online or keep on a server could potentially be used against you. Seemingly harmless details like your friend list or your last check-in location on social media allow fraudsters to collect details about you, your connections, and your whereabouts. Such details can then be used to target you, be it a spear phishing attack or a usual burglary. Hence, you should always be mindful of what you share, and make sure that any information that you keep online is secured properly.
3. What can I do to protect myself?
There are a range of techniques to help you protect your sensitive information. We all know about the importance of strong passwords. It is good practice to use password managers to access your various online accounts. To increase security further you should also consider setting MFA (multi-factor authentication) for logging into online systems, servers, and devices.
Keeping all your systems up to date is extremely important, as is the use of a reliable antivirus software. It is also vital to stay abreast of the latest security techniques as human error can often lead to serious data breaches.
While protecting yourself online is important, you may be interested in going even further and may want help to protect others. There are a wide range of roles available in cyber security. You may consider becoming a Security Analyst; who analyses vulnerabilities in a company’s digital infrastructure, or a Security Engineer; who monitors the performance of security systems and puts measures in place to mitigate security incidents. In case your passion lies in designing security systems or software, you may consider becoming a Security Architect or a Security Software Developer. This list is not exhaustive. There are many more roles available in this field, so you will surely be able to find something that presses your buttons.