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You don’t have to be security expert to stay safe online – Google

Activities of cyber criminals have continued to cause more harm than good. For 12 years on, Google has been celebrating Safer Internet Day to raise awareness for organisations, groups and individuals on the need to stem the tide of cyber-crime and insecurity on the Internet.

Taiwo-Kola-Ogunlade_0Just recently, Google, a principal facilitator of SID in Africa and rest of the world, in conjunction with some of its key partners, organized an event for Nigerian school children in Lagos to commemorate the day.

Google’s Communication and Public Affairs Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, at the event spoke with Emeka Aginam on a number of security issues in the internet. Explaining why internet security should be of concern to individuals, corporates and governments, he said that one does not have to be a security expert to stay safe online.

Excerpts:

 

What is Safer Internet Day all about?

Safer Internet Day is part of a global drive to promote cyber-wellness and digital literacy skills. This year is the 12th annual Safer Internet Day, and it is being celebrated in more than 100 countries in 6 of the world’s 7 continents. This includes the US and all 27 countries of the European Union.

What is Google’s approach to Internet Safety?

Protecting our users is one of our top priorities at Google. Whether it’s creating easy-to-use tools to help you manage your information online or fighting the bad guys behinds the scenes, we are constantly investing to make Google the best service you can rely on with security and privacy features that are on 24-7 and working for you.

We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to help keep our users safe online and have hundreds of security experts who work to keep you safe and make the web a safer place for everyone.

Our 2-step verification system provides a stronger layer of sign-in security on your account; even if your password gets stolen, it’s not enough to access your account. We offer this protection, for free, to any account holder.

You use Gmail to communicate with the people you care about. That’s why we built encryption to protect your messages from snooping by others, like when you use your laptop at a coffee shop.

Even if you don’t use Google, we work hard to make the web safer for anyone online. Every day we identify more than 10,000 unsafe sites on the web and and we tell users and other web companies what we have found.

We show warnings on up to 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link, and we share that data with other online companies so they can warn their users.

This week, as part of our support for the Safer Internet week, we refreshed our Security Checkup. This is a quick and easy way to manage security settings for your Google account. There you can: Provide backup information like a phone number so we can get in touch in case you’re locked out of your account, set up 2 step authentication to add an extra layer of security to your account. We also regularly release findings from research studies to help people understand online threats.

What is online fraud and identity theft? How could this affect users?

There are many different kinds of cybercrime. A criminal might try to gain access to your information like your email password, banking details or social security number. They might do this by installing malware on your computer, trying to hack into your account, or tricking you into giving them the information. Then they could steal from you, impersonate you or even sell your details to the highest bidder.

Criminals might also try to use the Internet to scam you, sell fake goods to you or make you do things that cost you money. Across many different types of cybercrime, one thing remains the same: People are after your information for their gain and your loss.Protecting our users is one of our top priorities at Google. Whether it’s creating easy-to-use tools to help you manage your information online or fighting the bad guys behinds the scenes, we’re constantly investing to make Google the best service you can rely on, with security and privacy features that are on 24-7 and working for you.

Are there particular settings I can use to protect myself and my family from cyber criminals?

You shouldn’t have to be a computer scientist or a security expert to stay safe online though. No matter whether you’re an internet whiz or just starting out, there are some simple things that you can do to stay safe and secure online.

Use a long, unique password made up of numbers, letters and symbols for each of your important accounts like email and online banking. One of the largest threats to Google users is password reuse. Another tip is you do not have to send your password via email and do not have to share it with others. Setting up your password recovery options and keep them up-to-date are also other tips to stay safe online. The best way to avoid scam is ignoring suspicious email, instant message or webpage asking for your personal or financial information. Report and flag content that is abusive or illegal. And finally, we worked hard to create tools and resources that can help you stay safe and in control online.

What are warning signs that cyber criminals are after my information?

Maybe your device is running a bit slower than usual. Random screens are popping up on your computer or does your bank account have unknown charges on it? Maybe you get a messages or land on a site that asks for your personal information, or messages that refer you to an unfamiliar web page asking for your user name and password, credit card number, or your birthday and mother’s maiden name.

A message is probably up to no good if it congratulates you for being a website’s millionth visitor, offers a tablet computer or other prize in exchange for completing a survey or promotes quick and easy ways to make money or get a job . Get rich quick working from your home in just two hours a day are all ways criminals get you involved.. If someone tells you you’re a winner and asks you to fill out a form with your personal information don’t be tempted to start filling it out.

 


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