Yesterday I brought up the issue of technology giving us more than we can handle with the case of highlighting Swine Flu, but it can also have worrying implications with our safety and how susceptible we are to giving out our personal emails.
In a recent survey commissioned by ‘Get Safe Online’ it was found that internet users in full time education were far more vulnerable to online crime and security threats than any other demographic, which may be surprising as both the people in question and the general population see them as being ‘very computer literate’.
We have all got the spam emails from our friend who is stuck in Nigeria and needs £3000 to get back, and apart from the first time where we went through our phone book to find out if any of our friends were on holiday in Africa we delete them instantly. But although this may seem like the most prominent threat, and although it is so widely publicised, young people are still falling foul to the internet.
The most obvious analogy would be with driving – although young people are quick, aware and educated they are still involved in more accidents than other age group due to the fact that they are inexperienced and often over confident.
The same applies to the internet – although 51% of those questioned in full time education claimed to be ‘very internet literate’ far too high a percentage were still making some worrying errors; 10% consider there to be no risk on the internet, 30% do not see security software as being important, 28% have admitted to entering personal details from an unsecure computer and almost one in five post valuable personal details on social networking sites.
To put this into context the national average of people who consider themselves to be very internet literate is 28%, 4% consider there to be no risk on the internet, 18% percent do not see security software as being important and only 11% have entered details from an unsecure computer and/or posted valuable details on social networking sites.
Obviously this gap is something that is quite worrying, and it raises questions about the level of education on these fairly basic issues that the young people are receiving. Of course it could just be because they are ignoring the advice given by IT teachers, deeming it to be overly cautious and considering themselves capable enough to cope with it.
This is why Get Safe Online was set up: to help raise awareness of the dangers on the internet. It offers advice about basic security measures (such as having different passwords, not giving them away, blocking spam and spotting phishing scams) is a way that it easy to read and understand.
There is even a quick quiz which tests your knowledge on the basic things to look out for (irritatingly I managed to get one wrong!) and highlight things that you can look up – in my case how easy it isn’t to identify fake websites!
Although this will by no means halt the overconfidence of people in full time education or internet crime, it is at least a start and it does its job very well. So go on, have a look around, and check you know what you’re doing and encourage others (especially those in the most vulnerable age demographic) to do the same!
We’ll now leave you with some of the main Internet safety top tips:
- Block unwanted spam email – this will also block most phishing emails.
- Use a modern web browser that will warn you against known phishing websites.
- Don’t give away your password or any other personal information.
- Choose strong passwords – using a mix of several words, letters, numbers and punctuation. Use different passwords for different sites to make it harder for identity thieves.
- Be careful about giving away too much information on blogs and social networking sites like MySpace, FaceBook or Bebo.
Via – GetSafeOnline