Cybersecurity and safety on the internet: best practices

Cybersecurity and safety on the internet: best practices

With the increased interconnection in the digital world, the issue of security acquires an ever greater weight. In this case, we talk about cybersecurity. In fact, on the Internet there are always new dangers that represent a threat to companies and individuals. The topic is therefore urgent as never before and does not only concern Internet security, but also other aspects and sectors of Information Technology (IT). ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) used Maslow’s famous pyramid of needs, conceived in the psychological field as a motivational model of human development based on a hierarchy of needs, to conceptualize cyberspace protection needs in a hierarchical way.

Source: ENISA


In fact, at the base of the pyramid we find the basic security protection of individual users, which is connected to the urgency to create structures that aim at civic education with respect to the risks of the internet and in particular the sharing of sensitive data. Going up, we find critical infrastructure protection in sectors like energy, transport, banking. These sectors provide the basis for society to function and have to be taken into account when discussing cybersecurity.

After that, we have to ensure the protection for businesses, especially online ones which are more vulnerable to the risk of cyber attacks. Moreover, the pyramid considers the need for global political stability and the prevention of online espionage for political purposes (cyber war and cyber espionage). At the top of the pyramid, we find the need for the protection of democracy and human rights, as the implementation of new technologies requires discussions on ethical aspects. In this article, we will deal with the basic level of the pyramid, the protection of which is essential to focus on those at the top.

Basic Security Protection for Cyber Crimes

The concept of cyber crime is very broad and refers to online crime. It is often associated with all those security measures implemented on the Internet. Cyber ​​crime also includes the improper use of private and personal as well as sensitive information stolen via the Internet from a corporate network or, with the help of specific tools, such as a person’s credit card. Phishing, ghost travel and identity theft via social networks are among the cybercrimes. More generally, all criminal actions aimed at improper use of user data are part of the acts committed by cyber criminals.

Below is a list of best practices to protect yourself and increase the protection of your network security:

Restrict and maintain the sharing of personal information on a professional level

Potential employers or clients are interested in knowing the range of skills and previous experiences and how to get in touch with a particular person, rather than the romantic situation or other information of a personal nature. Restricting the sharing of this type of sensitive information online is helpful in preventing possible cyber attacks.

 Use the privacy settings

Web browsers and operating systems have settings to protect the user’s online privacy. There are also platforms, such as Facebook, which provide useful tools to even increase one’s privacy. While the latter are sometimes inconspicuous because they have commercial value, making sure to set the highest level of privacy security helps prevent data or identity theft.

Always keep the operating system up to date

One of the first golden rules is to always have both the operating system and all applications updated to the latest version. In fact, older operating systems represent a vulnerability that can be exploited by cybercriminals. It is good to set up automatic updating or to be sure to conduct this operation regularly.

Make sure your internet connection is secure, especially in public spaces

When the user connects to a public Wi-Fi network, they do not have direct control over the security of the network they are relying on. It is important to make sure that your network is secure before sharing sensitive information, such as the details of your bank account.

Only shop online from trusted sites

Similarly to the previous recommendation, users should enter information related to their bank account only in sites that provide secure and encrypted connections. It is possible to identify safe sites by looking for addresses that begin with https:, where the final “s” stands for “safe”. Such protected sites may also be identified by the padlock icon next to the address bar.

Pay attention to what you download

One of the main objectives of cybercriminals is to lead the victim to download malware or attempt to steal information. Malware can also come in the form of an app. It is therefore a good practice to not download apps that are ambiguous or that come from an unreliable site.

 Pay attention to who you meet online

 The possibility to play with identities online makes it easy to meet people on the web who are not who they claim to be, or who have purposely built fake profiles. The latter, especially within social media, are a common way for hackers to approach unsuspecting users and rob them. Before sharing sensitive information with another user met online, it is recommended to make sure the identity provided by the counterparty is reliable.

 Use long and secure passwords

A truly secure password is usually long, unintuitive and difficult to remember because it is made up of a wide range of characters that are as mixed as possible. This practice is very useful in terms of basic security because it prevents a person from illegally obtaining access to a computer or an online account.

 Use a firewall

The firewall is a network security device that allows you to monitor or block incoming and outgoing traffic using a predefined set of security rules. From the settings you can configure who or what can access from the network to the Internet and vice versa. A firewall is particularly effective when combined with an antivirus program.

Carlotta Sofia Grassi

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