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