Happy Belated Safer Internet Day to You!

How do you feel when you miss out on an important information? I know I felt terrible when I missed out on the fact that Safer Internet Day was celebrated two days ago. I mean being in the industry, we are meant to be first to know right? Absolutely! But here’s how I compensated myself – Everyday should be a safe internet day, and there’s no such thing as missing out. I do agree timeliness is important, but what’s that saying again? Aha! “Better late than never” Agree?

To cut to the chase, February last year, Nigeria recorded 98.3 million internet users, and as of July the same year, the number of internet users in Nigeria grew to 103 million (Source: Nigeria Communications Commission). This means there was an increase of over 4 million in internet usage within the space of four months. You may be wondering how come, but we know kids, tween, and teens have access to the internet now and make up part of these numbers. The increased growth of internet users calls for an even greater concern being our online security. Therefore, in honour of Safer Internet Day that was celebrated two days ago, here are internet safety tips for you and your family to ensure you are always protected while using the internet.

PS: We have a bonus tip you don’t want to miss.

Nigeria recorded 98.3 million internet users, and as of July the same year, the number of internet users in Nigeria grew to 103 million. This means there was an increase of over 4 million in internet usage within the space of four months.

Source: Nigerian Communications Week

10 Tips You Need to Be Internet Safe

Create Complex Passwords

You are probably used to this one, but trust me, it can’t be overemphasised. Creating strong and unique passwords for all your accounts helps keep your personal and financial information safe. This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Enhance your Network Security

When we say network security, please note that this does not apply to corporate networks alone. After making your logins more secure, you need to ensure that your connections are secure as well. If you’re ever tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi, please don’t. This is an actual plea, and this video shows why. Hackers are way smarter now, and free Wi-Fi is one of the devious means at which they penetrate their victims.

Use a Firewall

If you can afford a firewall for your home, please do not hesitate to purchase one. As Nigerians, we tend to have an ignorant attitude when it comes to online security, spending on it almost feels like a waste of money. Perhaps it’s because hacking hasn’t become rampant yet. Your online security is almost equivalent, if not equivalent to your physical security. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Using a firewall helps keep us internet safe.

Click Smart

If you’ve taken the three steps above, then congratulations you’ve put smart tech measures in place, and can now move to these next steps. Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information. Don’t forget, the popular Nigerian saying “Awoof dey run belle” sometimes.

Don’t forget, the popular Nigerian saying “Awoof dey run belle” sometimes.

Share Information Selectively

In recent times, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Always be cautious when you are asked to share information that is identity related. It can be used to impersonate you, and further guess your passwords and login details.

Have a Protected Mobile Life

Our mobile phones can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. Mobile phones face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.

Surf & Shop Safe

Visiting websites and online shopping can sometimes be overwhelming. Many of us are probably so guilty of being so engrossed in it that we do not take notice of some security pointers that we normally should take notice of. But with the increase in security threats, we need to be more careful while chopping and surfing the internet. Always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. They could be copycats of legitimate websites.

Always Be Up-to-Date

Updating your applications are just as important as getting them. Updates are sent on a regular basis because the developers are keen on ensuring there are no bugs or patches missing that can be detrimental to the users. Therefore, there is a need to take advantage of these updates as they come. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.

Be on the Lookout & Stay Informed

Online threats are evolving all the time, so make sure you know what to look out for. Currently, “ransomware” is on the rise. This is when a hacker threatens to lock you out of all of your files unless you agree to pay a ransom. Stay on top of this and other threats by staying informed.

Always be Guarded

Be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. Use comprehensive security software, and make sure to back up your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on.

Ensure your Family is Internet Safe

As I stated earlier in this article, our younger ones make up part of the number of internet users. Although, giving them access to the internet is important, teaching them how to be safe online is twice as important. Therefore, we have an important role to play in ensuring their online safety. The infographic below gotten from Pumpic educates us on how best to ensure the younger ones are safe while using the internet. Kindly save the image to view properly.

infographic of internet safety tips
Don't forget to share; someone else needs to see this. And, remember to be #internetsafe.

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