Safer Internet? Our future and freedom at stake

As technology continues to pick up speed like a runaway truck, society’s distrust of the use of applications, devices and internet as a whole grows apace. What consequences do my online actions have? How can the rampant spread of fake news be thwarted? How can access to inappropriate content be prevented? What can we do to make sure new technologies are beneficial and secure for one and all?… Many doubts and worries crop up about today’s human scene of hyperconnectivity, especially the nagging challenges of cybersecurity and privacy as bedrocks of a proper use of internet and all the tools it brings within our reach. Today, 5 February, Safer Internet Day, represents a good chance to take stock of the current situation and put out a call to action for all stakeholders to work together towards responsible and preventive behavior that wards off any threats.

 

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Internet has become a keystone of today’s society and business world, but there is still obviously a long way to go in terms of perceived trustworthiness and applied security measures. Some argue that lack of education is to blame for internet negligence, pointing out how little is done to bring the many and proliferating threats to wider notice. Some there are, indeed, who write this off as a lost cause already, but the fact is we are learning by the day and it is vital to continue to do so across the board, shrugging off the Cassandra voices of doom and opting for responsibility instead.

Let’s cast an eye over 2018, an especially controversial year in terms of security and privacy due to the many cases of company data leaks, the filching of personal information and the spread of false news. The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica cases hit and hogged the headlines, with the accusation that both organizations used information for political interests and false news without the data subjects’ consent. Data has undoubtedly become the Gold of the 21st century, lurking in our medical records, credit cards, access credentials and disclosing information on our buying and living habits and opinions, enough to build up a huge database that could be exploited for vested interests of an economic, social or electoral nature or even to wreak random havoc.

What’s the solution? Shall I stow my data under the mattress? Shun dodgy links, keep away from websites of dubious reputation, use only known Wi-Fi networks, keep the operating system and applications updated, download only from official websites, use complex passwords, use cybersecurity technologies… these are only some of the shibboleths to reduce risks and exposure to threats. At business level, cybersecurity has to be taken on board right from the start of any digital transformation initiative and kept at the very center of it afterwards. It’s crucial to look ahead and preempt any unauthorized access to sensitive data, guarantee the recording and traceability of all personal data and comply with all current legislation such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In force since May 2018, the GDPR’s privacy-protection effects will really start to be felt in 2019, affecting all innovation from the word go. This poses many challenges.

More sophisticated cyberthreats and rampant cyberespionage

Year after year the same warning cry goes out: increasingly complex worldwide cyberthreats are on the rise. In 2019 cyberattacks will be using more sophisticated algorithms and techniques to wage more intelligent attacks that can circumvent any cybersecurity measures. Cybercriminals will be on the lookout for any damage they can do, indiscriminately. No one will be safe from cyberattacks, and consideration therefore has to be given to resilience investments to overcome real situations of the recent past. Cyber-resilient firms will hence be able to bring in innovations and new business models securely, winning client confidence and continuing to grow safely.

In sum: encouraging safe and prudent internet use is the responsibility of one and all. We need to work together towards a safer future and encourage collaboration for the common good.

Author: Eric Polvorosa

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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