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Safer Internet Day 2021: Experts Weigh-In

Safer Internet Day is an occasion to encourage the online community to use technology responsibly, respectfully and carefully. While the internet has become a valuable resource for many, it is still a commonplace for identity theft, cyberattacks and data breaches.

Experts believe this day is a great time for organizations to recognize the continued importance of bolstering cybersecurity and data privacy measures. At the same time, consumers must also continue to educate themselves on how they can better safeguard their sensitive information.

We sat down with cybersecurity experts to get their insights.

James Carder, CSO of LogRhythm:

“Safer Internet Day is an important reminder that the rapidly expanding digital world needs to be protected and preserved for everyone. With over 4.5 billion internet users across the globe, the internet has become a daily necessity that many are reliant upon to work, learn and communicate. While it is important to recognize the growing value that the online community provides, it’s equally imperative to acknowledge that organizations and consumers alike can continue to make the internet safer and more secure.

As remote work continues amid the pandemic, online activity has increased substantially for most consumers. This means more data is shared across the web and sensitive information is exchanging hands at an all-time high. The substantial increase in online and mobile consumption puts more pressure on organizations to ensure consumers’ information is protected against data breaches and cyberattacks as hackers are preying on this heightened activity. We saw some record breaches in 2020 that serve as a reminder for companies to ensure they are employing zero-trust paradigms and strong detection and response capabilities to address vulnerabilities and incidents when their impacts can be minimized. Malicious actors continue to target government, manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors via phishing attacks and other social engineering tactics, and it remains critical for organizations in these industries to ramp up investments in cybersecurity measures.

Consumers also need to be aware of how companies are using their information. Only one-in-five consumers regularly read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it, and many entrust or lend information without proper understanding of how it will be used. To start, internet users can read frequented retailers privacy policies to determine what information is being recorded. Knowing that free platforms are constantly collecting data as a method of payment must be top of mind for internet users. Aspects of personal information such as location, contact information and search history can all be accessed and leveraged.

Lawmakers are beginning to take more notice as well and recent legislation ranging from GDPR to the California Data Privacy Act are making sure that consumers have a better understanding and control of their sensitive information. Future regulations and statutes will continue to build consumer trust and make it harder for malicious actors to obtain sensitive information. By staying diligent and informed, consumers, organizations and lawmakers can make the internet a safer place for everyone.”

Ashish Gupta, Bugcrowd CEO & President:

“The internet has long been an important means for most of the globe to operate on a day-to-day basis, and the recent pandemic has elevated it to an even more essential component of our daily lives. Safer Internet Day is a significant observance and serves as a call to action for organizations and consumers alike to make the global online network a more valuable and protected resource.

In light of recent data breaches and hacks, organizations have even more of an obligation to protect customer information. Consumer trust is drastically low regarding data privacy, with 79% of adults expressing concerns over how companies are using and collecting data. To truly make the internet a better place, enterprises must adopt crowdsourced cybersecurity as an integral component of security posture. By making strategic investments in a layered cybersecurity approach to protect consumers, who are ultimately the biggest victims when cyberattacks and data breaches occur, organizations can meet the challenges of a distributed workforce and protect sensitive data from evolving threats.

From a consumer standpoint, identity theft and data breaches have been rising at a rapid pace—but there are numerous ways to ensure online browsing and interactions are safeguarded. Parental controls can be installed to ensure young children aren’t viewing explicit content, and users can opt out of data collection wherever possible to keep sensitive information confidential. Additionally, using multiple strong passwords, implementing two-factor authentication across accounts, sending encrypted files and installing spyware and anti-virus software on devices can provide protection against viruses and malicious threat actors. It takes a community of defenders to combat a community of adversaries, and when we all come together, we can collectively make the internet a safer environment for everyone.”



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