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In the last decades the internet has evolved to the point that cybersecurity has become increasingly difficult to protect. Despite the serious evidence that shows risks of  this technological change, It has not been the center of public debate until a few years ago.

Cybersecurity has become a topic of conversation, due to the worldwide cyber-attacks that have been affected personal finances, domestic devices and  in some cases even the political world,

Experts have warned people about the dangers for several years, yet until now, they have not succeeded in getting society to understand the threat of cybercrime.

Marc Asturias, Fortinet’s Senior Director, says, “today, any entity that has a network can be hacked, we are not all aware of the growing risk we face and how this can affect us”.

It is estimated that the economic impact of cyber attacks will increase around five trillion dollars per year in the next five years. Cybercriminals capabilities will increase in others sectors, for example within the internet of things devices. For this reason it is necessary to pay attention and make safe use of this devices. States have an important role, they have to promote social awareness campaigns about the use of the internet.

When a cyber attack happens, people become aware but it is too late and their information is already stolen. Cybersecurity companies work timely and can help people before it’s too late. To prevent this issue, it is time to take advantage of the present to create awareness.

We must follow Kevin Haley’s premise, Security Director at Symantec, “We have the attention [of the public], and now we really have to go out and help them enforce the rules, It is necessary for people like us to provide simple solutions. We are not going to turn each person a security expert.”

It is important to know how to construct the proper message in a simple way so it is understandable and improves the awareness people need to understand the internet and new technologies. The objective should be to create a social awareness of internet risks and responsible usage.

Basic Premises of Cybersecurity for the Internet Responsible Use:

  • Use strong passwords. Do not share them, change them regularly and store them safely
  • Regularly update the operating system and software
  • Install an antivirus on all devices and keep it updated
  • Consciously configure the privacy of your data on social networks and do not provide personal information in these channels
  • Do not to connect to unknown public Wi-Fi networks. In the case that you need to and it’s the only option, do not access confidential data or do so by connecting to a VPN that can protect your identity
  • On devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, keep the webcam covered when not in use. Sometimes hackers use this hardware to obtain relevant information
  • Be cautious when receiving offers online or through email, SMS, Whatsapp, etc. Curiosity can lead you to be involved in a security incident
  • Use encryption for valuable information stored on your device and to send sensitive files
  • Backup your important files
  • Talk to your friends, family and coworkers about internet security and the recent known threats and risks. It is important to keep up with the tactics cybercriminals are using to scam users
  • In case you are the victim of a cyber attack, do not panic as it may worsen the situation. Seek the help of a specialist, if you are at work, the systems department is your best option

The “Cyber-Operators”: A New Figure to Support Social Awareness in Cybersecurity:

The National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE) – is promoting a program to strengthen digital trust, increase cybersecurity and contribute to raising awareness about the safe use of cyberspace in Spain.

The program has promoted a figure that was baptized as, ¨cyber-operators¨. It is a group of volunteers who dedicate part of their free time to raise awareness among children, teenagers, parents, and teachers about good practices on the internet and social networks.

The objective is to create a social conscience on the importance of cybersecurity. By contributing to improve the digital market, promoting responsible use, and taking preventive measures that can soon put an end to the threat of cybercrime.

INCIBE has managed to recruit 500 cyber-operators to be part of the project network, all with very different professional profiles, which enriches the training proposal.

The issues that are spreading are: school cyberbullying, privacy, digital identity, reputation, Netiquette and online behavior; management of information and access to inappropriate content, protection against viruses and fraud and security of the devices, excessive use of ICT, parental mediation and use of parental control tools, and safe and responsible use of ICT.

Projects like this can help create social awareness in cybersecurity, but surely there are many others that can be promoted. The joint work of the public and private sectors are the only way to address this challenge. Working together to manage risks and establish prevention protocols will make us stronger in the face of incidents, both to citizens and to companies and states.

From HushApp we humbly offer a contribution by distributing educational content through our blog and social networks and giving talks about cybersecurity issues.