Everyone uses the internet in some way. At home we're Facebooking or looking up recipes; on the job we're working on the business CRM; when we're on the go, we're answering emails on a tablet or smartphone. From toddlers to senior citizens, we all interact with this communication device called the Internet.
In the course of that interaction, we have developed a blasé attitude to personal security and safety. We all trust too much in our interactions with other people on the internet. Why is that? Maybe we should ask a psychiatrist that question, because I have no idea why we are all so trusting.
In normal everyday life we take precautions. We lock our doors, we set alarms, we don't go to places we are not supposed to go to, we don't drink drinks purchased by strangers, we don't drink and drive and we definitely don't walk down a dark alley in the worst part of town. So why do we endanger our virtual life with a total disregard for our safety?
A large part of the problem is the role that social media plays in our lives. For the last several years, we have been told by Facebook and Twitter that everyone needs to see who we are so that our friends can interact with us. So we share our names and day-to-day activities, secure in a mindset that dictates that our protection is someone else’s problem. We do not expect that in our normal lives. So why do we expect it in cyberspace?
Do you think you are safe in cyberspace?
Take this simple ten-question test to see how secure you really are on the internet.
- Do you use complicated passwords on all internet sites and electronic systems?
- Do you use the same password on all of your internet sites?
- Are all of your passwords more than eight characters long?
- Do you answer the security questions with information that anyone can learn from your social media profiles?
- Do you send confidential personal or business information via email?
- Have you ever clicked on a link in an email that you thought (but weren't 100 percent sure) was from someone you knew?
- Do you post your location, where you are or where you are going on social media?
- Have you ever purchased something on a site that was not secured through encryption?
- Have you ever used Peer to Peer (P2P) software to download free information from the internet?
- Have you ever clicked “yes” on a popup from a web site without reading the warning?
If you answered “no” to questions 1 or 3 above, or “yes” to any of the other questions, then you are in danger of exposing personal information to cyber criminals on the internet. Getting even one of these questions wrong could put you at risk—increase your cyber security knowledge, and protect yourself.