I invite your participation on my new blog about how we can all stay safe on the Internet because I believe no one person can know everything and that all knowledge that is not shared, is wasted. I will offer information we believe is of value on this vital topic that affects every single person who accesses the Internet. We then encourage you to interact and comment on this information. Add your experiences and views or ask questions, make suppositions based on what you feel might be the answer and in short, get involved.
As we build up a bank of information and experience, the value of the site will grow and start to help people to stay safe online, so the sooner we start to chip in, the sooner we will all get far more from this site than any single person can contribute. That, after all, is what the Internet is supposed to be about and not spamming, phishing or scamming people online.
The simplest way to stay safe on the Internet is to not go online. Become a Cyber Social Leper and simply avoid the danger zone. It is a bit like worrying about being bitten by a shark. If you don’t go swimming in the sea or a river estuary, then the odds of a shark being able to bite you diminish to virtually zero. You can still swim, just do it in a swimming pool. So how do we equate that to the Internet?
The problem is there is no alternative to the Internet but the Internet, right?
Technically speaking there is only the one Internet. There are ‘intra-nets’ but we are talking about the world wide web, the big guy. There is only one but if you are really worried for your safety then you need to assess your need to go online.
By minimizing your exposure online you minimize your risk. Simple but effective.
If you must have email, then you could get a secure email service that includes built in spam protection and anti-virus software. You could then go online, download your mail and then read it offline. Compose your replies and go back online just long enough to send them, then switch off again. A lot of messing around but it will reduce the risk.
You can avoid using public or shared computers and rely on your own where you know how up to date and thorough the anti-viral software is. If you must use a public or shared computer then use only for passive browsing and never input personal details or connect yourself with anything you view in any way.
You can avoid using the internet for your banking or any other transactions that expose your finances to risk. Go to the bank instead or use phone banking, but keep in mind that is hackable, too. The least you use the Internet the least chance it can harm you, providing you are competent in using it when you are online.
You would also need to totally avoid participating in Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
There is an alternative to living as a Cyber Social Leper
The abstinence approach of avoiding online risk is very much like promoting abstinence as a way of avoiding teenage pregnancy. It will work for a few but statistically we know this does not work for the majority of young people. The best solution is education and taking precautions against the risk and the same is true for Internet Safety.