Microsoft asks people to "Do1Thing" for Safer Internet Day 2014

In order to mark Safer Internet Day 2014, taking place today (11th February), Microsoft is urging everybody to "Do1Thing" to stay safer and protect themselves online. They would then like people to incorporate that thing into their daily digital lives to protect themselves against a specific digital threat for life.

The company has launched a new interactive website called Safer Online where people can share their 'Do1Thing' promise, learning what others are doing to protect themselves online and getting tips on better protecting their digital lifestyles along the way.

Microsoft says that to maintain personal digital security effectively you should always lock your devices and online accounts with strong passwords and secure PINs. They also say that you should only save passwords for shopping or banking sites on secure Wi-Fi networks. You should 'take charge of your own online reputation' at all times by protecting your social circles and using privacy settings on social networks correctly to hide revealing information from prying eyes.

Since last year Microsoft has had a way of rating people's online security precautions called the Microsoft Computing Safety Index. It ranks people aged 18 and older in 20 countries worldwide so that the company can analyze how security-wise the world's population is. However, the average index value for an individual is just 34.6, indicating that many people could do much more to protect themselves online. Only 21% of the people surveyed said they took advantage of web filters to help prevent phishing attacks whilst only 31% actively educated themselves on how to protect their online reputations. Finally just 36% said that they think about who to post to when writing on social networks.

However, people do seem to be aware of security features built into or pre-installed on personal computing devices, as 95% of the surveyed people had antimalware or antivirus software installed, 84% had firewalls enabled and 82% have critical and important Windows updates installing automatically.

The consequences of not protecting your digital life can be costly, as Microsoft reports that a damaged professional reputation online typically costs an individual $535. This is often joined with an additional $218 charge to repair the damage. Phishing attacks against home users reportedly result in financial losses of around $158 per person. Microsoft now estimates the worldwide cost of phishing to be as high as $2.6billion with a cost of nearly $4.5billion for repairing damage to peoples' professional reputations online.

Microsoft hopes to use today's Safer Internet Day to continue educating people on how to protect themselves online as an additional step in its worldwide effort to fight cybercrime and cyber-criminals.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Safer Internet Day

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However, people do seem to be aware of security features built into or pre-installed on personal computing devices, as 95% of the surveyed people had antimalware or antivirus software installed, 84% had firewalls enabled and 82% have critical and important Windows updates installing automatically.

By computing devices, you really mean Windows based devices. Because, no other platform really needs antivirus / antirootkit / antimalware except for Windows. And before you mention Android or OS X, they don't have anywhere near the problem that Windows has.

simplezz said,
And before you mention Android or OS X, they don't have anywhere near the problem that Windows has.

They're better because you don't want to mention them? OSX has had it's malware issues, sure, not a lot but they definitely exist. Android much more so, with malware sample counts running in the millions. Sorry, sounds like a pretty significant problem there, and it doesn't look like being Linux based helped it much either. Sounds worth mentioning to me. Malware aside, the bigger damages are done by trickery/phishing, which is in the billions. No OS in the world will protect you from yourself.

Max Norris said,

They're better because you don't want to mention them? OSX has had it's malware issues, sure, not a lot but they definitely exist.

Again it's not even in the same league as Windows.

Max Norris said,

Android much more so, with malware sample counts running in the millions.

Those figures are grossly overestimated; often including advertising. And all of them are from third party app stores or side loading. The main app stores like Google Play and Amazon don't contain malware. That's the reality of it.

Occasionally something slips through, even on Apple's app store, but it's pretty rare these days.

Max Norris said,

Sorry, sounds like a pretty significant problem there, and it doesn't look like being Linux based helped it much either.

It's not Linux per se that prevents the dire situation that Windows has, but the peer reviewed repositories / app stores, which is why if you don't sideload on Android you'll never have malware problems.

Max Norris said,

Sounds worth mentioning to me. Malware aside, the bigger damages are done by trickery/phishing, which is in the billions. No OS in the world will protect you from yourself.

That much is true. Although a lot of trickery often involves getting the end user to download/run a piece of malware so the machine can be controlled.

Installing adblock plus and noscript does help, as well as built-in browser anti-phishing features.

simplezz said,
Again it's not even in the same league as Windows.

Doesn't make it any less serious, especially with such a large number of identified malware versus a large number of users. Millions is millions, that is exactly the same league, and the numbers going up and not down, who knows, it may even surpass Windows.

simplezz said,
And all of them are from third party app stores. The main app stores like Google Play and Amazon don't contain malware. That's the reality of it.

Weird, news reports say otherwise. A quick Google search will show you that... but even in a perfect world it's a good thing that every device uses Google's or Amazon's store right?

simplezz said,
It's not Linux per se that prevents the dire situation that Windows has, but the peer reviewed repositories / app stores, which is why if you don't sideload on Android you'll never have malware problems.

See above, and that's again assuming every single person uses the software with 100% safe computing habits. Somewhat unrealistic expectation, there's always people who will want something that's not available in their store. Silly very recent example, ask anyone with the Flappy Bird malware how that worked out.

simplezz said,
Installing adblock plus and noscript does help, as well as built-in browser anti-phishing features.

Which sometimes helps sure, not 100%, and it doesn't mean jack for which OS you're on, not does it help with phishing attacks from other sources... SMS, mail, etc etc. That's just one attack vector.

1. Stop using IE.
2. Switch to Linux.
3. Install adblock plus + noscript.

Those certainly help a lot, in order of importance. If you do all three you'll be much safer

simplezz said,
1. Stop using IE.
2. Switch to Linux.
3. Install adblock plus + noscript.

I'll simplify that for you: (1) Install Adblock Plus for IE.

Auditor said,
I guess the only one thing to do for safer internet day is completely ditch MS and embrace Linux.

Why, because making users immune to phishing attacks and imbuing the knowledge of safe browsing habits is an OS feature?

Max Norris said,
imbuing the knowledge of safe browsing habits is an OS feature?

Say what you will about the *reason* for this, but with the same amount of knowledge and effort I think you're pretty clearly safer browsing the internet on a device running an OS other than Windows...

Having said that, using another OS is clearly not and should not be the *only* approach to safer browsing, and is not necessarily the best action to take, either. As you say, it certainly can't protect you from attacks that use social engineering techniques, which are (to my knowledge) the most widespread of all the attacks nowadays.

Auditor said,
I guess the only one thing to do for safer internet day is completely ditch MS and embrace Linux.

QFT. MS really walked right into this one lol.

Auditor said,
I guess the only one thing to do for safer internet day is completely ditch MS and embrace Linux.

well, users and people in large voted 'no' for that, moving on

morden said,

well, users and people in large voted 'no' for that, moving on

People get a vote on what OS is preinstalled on their PC? I can't ever remember being asked.

no, people get a vote on what gets installed on their pcs and no f**ks have been given to linux on that count

and while you might say installing an os is a semi-poweruser thing (it is so you would be right) even here in hungary you can BUY oem pcs (not whatsname-branded crap) with linux nobody gives a rats ass about these machines; even when somebody orders one you know for sure its because a previous licence or warez windows will take its place

so no, NOBODY cares about linux in the consumer market, not consumers and not even oems

while i dont care for linux dont misinterpret my comment as a hatespeech against it - i would sincerely happy if all the warez "pro-gamer" idiots who dwell forums arguing about windows stability with their extreme edition xps and such go and install something else

More than three decades of monopoly on consumer computing space takes time to fall off. You are right that people are more inclined to get computer which just works. Finding a right driver about your devices is just plain pain and it is not everyone's cup of tea to start fiddling with programs.

Don't be delusional about Linux though. With the shift in consumer habits to tablets and smartphones, Linux is the king. People use it because it works and they don't have to mess around. Linux is to Smartphones and tablets as Windows was used to be for PC many decades ago.

I just had my friend buy a new laptop which came with win 8.1. I reinstalled win 7 and I couldn't find suitable driver for USB 3 port. The only reason Windows has major market share is mainly due to two reasons. First, most of the programs are made keeping windows in mind. There are so many programs which are not available for Mac and Linux. Second, all PC comes preinstalled with windows.

The same thing is true for Linux on Tablet and smartphones.

i'm not arguing with that, but "classic" linux dristros will never have any consumer succes - or maybe the thing ubuntu has can be called a "success" in a way, but that is all that will be

granted, there is a chance the crap called android or some fork of it creeps onto some pc and that way a "linux marketshare" can be built up but to be honest if i were a hardcore linux fan the only thing i'd call android is a disgrace to linux, not the savior of it

this of course is just a personal opinion

morden said,
i'm not arguing with that, but "classic" linux dristros will never have any consumer succes - or maybe the thing ubuntu has can be called a "success" in a way, but that is all that will be

Well, ChromeOS, while perhaps not a traditional distro, is GNU/Linux. And Microsoft deems it threat enough to make adverts attacking it. To me that signals an existential threat to them.

SteamOS is also a possible threat to Xbox, and Ubuntu is sold by select OEM's.

morden said,

granted, there is a chance the crap called android

That's subjective. I view Windows as crap, but someone else might feel differently.

morden said,

or some fork of it creeps onto some pc and that way a "linux marketshare" can be built up but to be honest if i were a hardcore linux fan the only thing i'd call android is a disgrace to linux, not the savior of it

In all honesty, I don't believe Android should be on the PC either. It's really not designed for it. Ubuntu, ChromeOS, SteamOS, etc are designed for PC's / laptops.

Right on!

The ONLY way to be safe!

"However, people do seem to be aware of security features built into or pre-installed on personal computing devices, as 95% of the surveyed people had antimalware or antivirus software installed, 84% had firewalls enabled and 82% have critical and important Windows updates installing automatically"

Those last 2 things there SHOULD be WAY higher as those are installed and enabled by default! What OEM computer doesn't have Norton or McAfee or maybe some other AV installed on it also?

In the developing world, many people pirate Windows and disable automatic updates and all that to prevent the detection of software counterfeiting.

My Dad is an enigma when it comes to online security. He has different passwords for secure websites he visits, and uses Dashlane (I don't know if that's a good thing) yet every time I turn around, some toolbar or addon has been installed to his browser. And he never knows how it happened.

devHead said,
My Dad is an enigma when it comes to online security. He has different passwords for secure websites he visits, and uses Dashlane (I don't know if that's a good thing) yet every time I turn around, some toolbar or addon has been installed to his browser. And he never knows how it happened.

My dad do the same.

thekim said,
I did: I Dont use any Microsoft onlineservices anymore.
I guess this wasn't Microsofts purpose.

I did almost the same without using any scroogle service, producet, os anymore