The internet has become integral to the lives of young Aussies. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), young people (15-17 year-olds) have the highest rate of internet use among the population. They use digital technologies for everyday activities, such as schoolwork, connecting with friends and family via social media, and entertainment.
And it’s not just Australia. Worldwide, 71% of youths aged 15–24 are internet users, compared to the 48% of the general population. The internet has plenty of opportunities for young people to gain knowledge on various subjects and expand their horizons.
Online Security Concerns
The benefits of the internet for youths in Australia can’t be overstated. But along with the opportunities the digital age brings comes an extremely menacing panoply of risks. What are the most common threats facing young internet users? Familiarizing yourself with the dangers that lurk in digital spaces is the first and the most critical step towards mounting an effective defense.
Phishing is among the most common internet threats. Phishing attacks usually take the form of fraudulent emails designed to trick recipients into divulging sensitive information or installing a virus by clicking on a malicious link or attachment. The emails appear to be from someone legitimate, such as a close friend or relative. For more Check out cybersafe.com.au
Malware is a form of intrusive code that attempts to take control of your device in some way. There are many forms of malicious programs out there, including viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Malware can steal your data, destroy the operating system and other programs, or corrupt the files on your device.
Hacking is one of the biggest threats on the internet. In addition to being the most connected demographic, youths are also more likely to connect to the internet wherever they are. Young people should beware of hackers when browsing the web, especially when using public Wi-Fi hotspots in places such as the mall, coffee shop, airport, or hotel.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet
From hacking to malware, online threats can have severe, costly, and sometimes even tragic consequences for young people. Despite these risks, digital technologies will only become more indispensable and ubiquitous in the future. As the internet grows, the threat landscape will also continue to expand. That’s why young people should prioritize security in everything that they do online.
So, what can the young generations do to ensure internet safety? Here are a few ingenious tips to help you stay secure as a young, connected individual on the web.
Use a VPN
The best thing you can do to maintain a safe online presence is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN keeps your connection secure by masking your IP address and encrypting your online traffic, making it extremely difficult for online threat actors to intercept and steal your data. When going online with a VPN, you don’t have to worry about someone hacking your Wi-Fi, even when using public Wi-Fi at the mall or any other public place.
Use Antivirus Software
As we stated in the previous section, malware is one of the biggest threats facing internet users. So what’s the best approach to protecting yourself against malware? Installing antivirus software. One piece of malicious code can do a lot of damage. Antivirus software can detect and remove a malicious program before it causes harm to your device. Antivirus will also perform regular scans and provide real-time protection. These programs are designed to keep your device safe and secure at all times with minimal intervention.
Beware of Phishing Emails
Still on the subject of malware, data shows that nine out of ten threats are delivered via email. When it comes to phishing attacks, the best practice is to avoid opening email attachments from untrusted sources you don’t know. Phishing emails may also contain links to fake websites designed to steal your login credentials and other sensitive information. When you open links or attachments from unknown senders, you risk sharing sensitive information or installing malicious code into your computer.
Keep Personal Information Private
Be cautious with the information that you post online. Hackers can use the information you share online to figure out our passwords and answer the security questions on your password reset page. Your Facebook friends and potential employers don’t need to know your birthday, home address, or your mother’s maiden name. You should be careful sharing this information with people online. You wouldn’t share personal information with a total stranger on the street, so don’t hand it over to millions of online strangers.
Use Strong Unique Passwords
Create secure passwords for all your online accounts to stay safe on the internet. Use a combination of upper case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols to create strong passwords. Most importantly, don’t reuse passwords. Having the same password for multiple accounts compromises your entire online presence should your password be exposed in a data breach. A password manager can help you generate and securely store strong passwords. That way, you don’t have to memorize a dozen passwords you use for various online services.
Keep Your Devices Up To Date
Last but not least, ensure that your device is running the latest software to keep malicious actors at bay. Hackers and other online threat actors are constantly changing their tactics to exploit potential security vulnerabilities in your operating system. Software vendors release security updates regularly to patch newly discovered security holes and prevent breaches. By ensuring that your device is running the most recent software, you can thwart hacking and malware campaigns utilizing this attack vector.
While young Aussies have the most to gain from the internet and other digital technologies, they also bear the dangers associated with the digital age. You can easily download malware onto your computer or share sensitive information such as credit card details with a cybercriminal without even knowing it. Take steps to guard against online threats and maintain a secure internet presence. Use the tips above to stay safe as you explore the opportunities of the online world.