Internet Safety
Internet Safety

Internet Safety across platforms

Internet safety across platforms is something that everyone worries about (that’s right parents, it’s not just you who fears the damage which can be done). The art of scamming has been around for centuries, the first recorded case is from 300 B.C. (Damn!)

In this case, two brothers had taken out a loan against a cargo of corn on a ship, one brother tried to sink the ship whilst the other brother distracted the captain, in order to keep the money from the loan, unfortunately when their plan was foiled, Hegestratos was caught hiding an axe behind his back then as he tried to escape the ship he drowned at sea – The irony. His brother Zenosthemis was held on trial in Athens for his attempts to distract the captain.

Scams are nothing new and Internet fraud is a lot more common than you think. It’s not just the vulnerable and the elderly who are victims of fraudsters tactics, oh no, these guys have almost perfected the art of scamming. Dr Jonathan Leakey who holds a PhD in computer-assisted language learning found this out the hard way; even though he is an “Educated man”. It started when he received a text from his bank advising him of fraudulent activity on his debit card (bet the scammers chuckled when they came up with this one), as most people would he rang the number on the text to speak with “his banks” fraud team. It was at this point he gave over his security details and the scammers had everything they needed to withdraw £25,000.00 from his account. Thankfully, his bank was able to return his money within the year of the event happening, although Dr Leakey is certainly a lot more cautious now.

Prevention before cure

There are different ways of protecting yourself and your data, some of the most important and easiest features are the ones that we laugh at.

Password protection “Your password must contain 8 characters, 2 special symbols, at least 1 capital letter, at least 1 number, and the blood of your 2nd uncles firstborn goat … anything else!? As frustrating as this can be we keep all our deepest darkest secrets locked in our internet vaults, using the same password for everything is just plain dumb, and no, don’t use your birthday, hometown, or anything to do with family. It’s time to get creative with those passwords! For example, say your favourite place is the forest, and your favourite forest-dwelling mythological animal is a unicorn.

Combine the words F O R E S T + u n i c o r n and you’ll get FuOnRiEcSoTrn or uFnOiRcEoSrTn

When adding in numbers think about facts that relate to your clues (happy place & mythological creature), for example, the first age you got your teddy, age 6 and the first time you rode a horse, age 3.

Now add in the numbers: 6uFnOiRcEoSrTn3

Some people like to turn letters they’ve already typed into special characters (s=5, o=0, 8=b…), others like to break passwords up with them, like so: !6uFnOi%RcEoSrTn3*. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but there you have it, one super strong personalised password for you to forget within a day.

Security settings

THESE THINGS EXIST FOR A REASON! Use parental controls directly from your broadband provider, even if you don’t have kids. These settings are literally created so that you have Internet safety across platforms, make sure you go in and customize these to suit your needs. There are some basic ones to set up like secure browsing which makes sure you can’t access websites without certificates, this is really easy to see – in the browser search bar you’ll see a padlock next to the domain name. Websites that have been verified will have HTTPS also on the left-hand side of the domain name. (Both the padlock and HTTPS don’t need to be shown at the same time.)

PayPal If you’re purchasing from a website you’ve not used before and have no feedback from, then use PayPal to pay for your transaction. You’ll be able to spot pretty quickly if the website doesn’t take you through to PayPal’s app or platform.

Social media apps

Social media apps come with their own unique set of issues, personal profiles can be cloned, your account can be hacked, and you can even be catfished. Catfishing is no joke, pretending to be someone else is a super creepy thing to do. People do this for a variety of reasons; money, power, jealousy, the list goes on. But, more common than it’s about money, pretending to be in love with a person through their computer screen so that they’ll send “them” money. So, how do you catch a catfish? These are predatory creatures, as with most predators they’re sneaky and know how to ambush, but so do we Dear Reader! Video call them, ask them for weird pictures like with an apple on their heads, and never ever send them money unless you’ve met them in person.

Apps and accounts need to be secure, and keep your children on age-appropriate apps. TikTok for example has had a multitude of runnings with the law. TikTok does not have enough security in place to keep your child safe whilst on the App. From killer trends to flashers, TikTok takes the slow route to remove content. Now, can it be a fun app to use? Of course, just do your job as a parent and watch your kids, not just on TikTok, but across every social media.

Internet safety across platforms isn’t complicated, but it’s definitely necessary – Stay safe.