Dr Jason Nurse’s top tips on staying safe online for Safer Internet Day

On Tuesday 11 February, people all over the world are marking Safer Internet Day 2020. Why? Because anyone using the internet should be able to feel safe online, whether they are browsing, banking, sharing information about themselves, giving an opinion or posting photos. And this year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’.

Dr Jason Nurse, Assistant Professor in Cyber Security and Director of Public Engagement at the Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security, knows all too well about the dangers lurking on the internet. He works with a team of cyber security researchers, based at the University of Kent, who is helping the UK government, businesses and the public stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

Click on this link and you can read about their important work in this easy-to-read article, and use it as an education resource in your classrooms: https://futurumcareers.com/how-to-beat-the-cybercriminals-and-stay-safe-online

In the meantime, here are Jason’s top tips for staying safe online:

“Here are a few quick things you can do to ensure that your use of online services and connected, smart devices is fun and private!

1. Default passwords are no friend – It’s always a good idea to change the default passwords that come with new gadgets. Why? Default passwords are sometimes openly available online to assist with product support. Changing these to your own password will ensure that what you do on the device remains private and only accessible to you!

2. Criminals love a weak password – Strong passwords don’t have to be complex, the trick is to find a password that is difficult for someone else to guess, yet easy for you to remember. A tip is to use three random words and with sprinkles of numbers and symbols (!,.,£). Unique passwords for different devices and systems can also help, and password managers offer the perfect support for this.

3. Check your privacy settings – New smart devices (e.g., smart toys, fitness gadgets or smart home tech) have a variety of settings which determine which data about you is collected. To protect your privacy, it’s always best to have a look through these settings to ensure you’re not sharing too much! In particular, check for apps and devices that constantly want to know your location, and disable any features that you don’t need or use!

4. The value of software updates – Cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to break into your new, shiny gadgets. The purpose of software updates is to protect against these attacks by fixing security holes and other software problems. Simply put, updates keep you secure and can keep your use of devices private. Installing them is a no-brainer: good for you, bad for the criminals!

5. Smart devices can be a double-edged sword – Smart toys, fitness trackers, voice assistants and drones are all pretty awesome gadgets. Do remember, though, that they all come with some risk. Smart toys may expose your children’s data to cyber criminals, unchecked webcams may be used to spy on you as you undress, or voice assistants may listen in on your private conversations. Always be careful with what you share with these devices and the activities you engage with in front of them.”

Read more about this:

Safer Internet: Safer Internet Day 2020

Connect Safely: Safer Internet Day USA