Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. From cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns. Here are some examples of what to watch out for and how to stay safe online.

Phishing -

Phishing, no not the kind where you use a pole! Online Phishing is when attackers attempt to trick users into doing 'the wrong thing', such as clicking a bad link that will download malware or direct them to a dodgy website. Attacks can install malware (such as ransomware), sabotage systems, or steal intellectual property and money.

Protect your Individual Liberty and learn more about how to protect yourself from Phishing.

Misinformation -

We all know which person famously coined the term ‘Fake News’, but it can happen! Misinformation or ‘Fake news’ is online content that can mislead or provide false information towards a particular topic. Stories can often be fabricated to cause panic or concern and heavily rely on users to critically determine what is trustworthy or not. When it comes to big decisions, such as voting, it is important to base your opinion on trustworthy sources of information. 

Protect Democracy by practicing critical thinking. You can learn more about this at UK Safer Internet Centre.

Cyberflashing - 

Cyberflashing’ is where somebody digitally sends sexual images or pornography to an unsuspecting person. Due to the nature of channels used to send these images, the victim will not know they have been cyberflashed until they have actively opened the notification or gone into the app. AirDrop is a file and image sharing app, bespoke for Apple devices, which enables users to drop content for nearby devices to accept or reject. Surprisingly 76% of girls aged 12-18 have been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men. 

‘Cyberflashing’ will become a new criminal offence with perpetrators facing up to two years behind bars under new laws to be introduced by the Government. So, respect the Rule of Law and keep your peach in the fruit bowl! You can learn more about this at UK Safer Internet Centre.

Scamming - 

A fairy-tale prince should be found in story books, not in your inbox. The types of scams that we see today have become a lot more sophisticated throughout the last decade. Perpetrators can often present increasingly believable and complex approaches. Scams can arrive on our devices in several ways. Some of the most common approaches include emails, texts, phone calls, impersonation websites and accounts on social media. 

Protect your Individual Liberty and learn more about how to protect yourself from Scams.

Online sexual harassment -

Whilst having an online presence to stay in touch with your friends can be great, it is important to keep messaging appropriate. Online sexual harassment is never okay, and the penalties for this ranges from fines to jail time. Whilst you might consider what you’re saying to be ‘banter’ this can have extreme negative consequence on the receivers individual mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re questioning the appropriateness of what you’ve typed before sending a message, likely hood is that it isn’t, and you shouldn’t send it.  

Show Mutual Respect for one another online! You can find more information on how to report online harassment through the MET Police website.