Safer Internet Day 2023: Building a better and more secure online environment for all

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Safer Internet Day 2023: Building a better and more secure online environment for all

  • Safer Internet Day 2023 aims to enhance internet security by educating digital citizens and raising awareness about cybersecurity.
  • Consider building a safer Internet for all – including the silver generation.

Safer Internet Day 2023 holds immense significance in today’s digital age. With technology playing an increasingly central role in people’s daily lives, raising awareness about the responsible and safe use of the internet is crucial. This year’s Safer Internet Day theme, “together for a better internet,” emphasizes the collective responsibility of all stakeholders – governments, industry, civil society, and individuals – in creating a safer online environment.

The number of smartphone users in Southeast Asia, primarily driven by Indonesia and Vietnam, is expected to reach 326.3 million in 2022, representing 88.0% of all internet users in the region. The prevalence of smartphones is driving internet access, leading to the growth of the on-demand economy and presenting a wealth of opportunities for service providers, retailers, and digital platforms.

The internet offers tremendous learning, communication, and innovation opportunities, but it also presents various challenges, including cyberbullying, exposure to harmful content, and privacy issues. Furthermore, there has been a rise in cyberthreats from cybercriminals. These threats can take many forms, such as phishing scams, identity theft and ransomware attacks, and can devastate individuals and organizations.

Proactive steps must be taken to keep the internet a safe and secure place. Ensuring that the internet remains a space where individuals can express themselves freely, learn, grow, and connect with others is the responsibility of everyone. Safer Internet Day serves as a call to action for all individuals to play a part in creating a better internet. By educating oneself and others, reporting inappropriate content, or promoting safer online practices, each person can contribute towards building a safer and more responsible online community.

Andrew Shikiar, the Executive Director of the FIDO Alliance, highlights the pressing need for seniors to improve online security through the adoption of simpler and more secure authentication methods. He outlines the steps necessary for creating a safer and better internet for everyone, including the elderly population.

Andrew Shikiar, Executive Director, FIDO Alliance

Andrew Shikiar, Executive Director, FIDO Alliance

Bridging the digital divide for senior citizens has long been a key concern for countries across the Asia Pacific region. After all, the internet has permeated almost every aspect of our lives, and seniors often feel left behind in today’s digital push.

However, in recent years, increasing cyberthreats and e-scams have highlighted the urgent need to better protect our seniors online. As one of the least technologically savvy groups, the elderly are also one of the most vulnerable – and targeted – demographics by online scammers. This concern was highlighted in the recent high-profile cases involving two seniors in Malaysia, where one elderly person lost 1.34 million ringgit to a Macau phishing scam and another over 4.3 million ringgit to an online love scam.

Cybercriminals often impersonate government or bank officials to gain the trust of unsuspecting seniors and deceive them into divulging their personal credentials. As master manipulators, they leverage advanced social engineering techniques – exploiting people’s intrinsic, emotional reactions and causing them to overlook red flags until it is too late. Digital transformation has forced seniors to transact more and more of their lives online – forcing them to rely on faceless websites and apps rather than in-store agents or salespeople. The rapid propagation of online accounts has made the challenge of keeping each one secure increasingly difficult.

How to stay safe for Safer Internet Day 2023?

Hence, as we commemorate Safer Internet Day on February 7, 2023, it is important to consider how we can build a safer Internet for all – including the older generation. Ditching passwords for cryptographically secure, device-based authentication can help eliminate the threat of remote attacks, such as using stolen credentials or SMS OTPs to take over accounts. It can also simplify login experiences. With just a touch of the finger or a quick facial scan, seniors can now log into their accounts seamlessly without needing to remember lengthy or complex passwords.

Ultimately, to achieve a more secure Internet for everyone, we must ensure that the elderly’s needs and preferences are considered. Fortunately, there are readily available standards and best practices to help service providers guide users in adopting passwordless authentication. These guidelines can be tweaked for senior citizens, such as simplifying the user experience, offering multiple language options, and more. Hopefully, by making the internet a safer space, we can help seniors feel more comfortable and confident in embracing digitalization and reap its benefits.

In conclusion, Safer Internet Day is an important reminder of the need for continuous efforts to create a safer online environment. Let’s work together to make the internet a place where everyone can benefit from its endless possibilities while staying protected from its potential dangers.