Search

Be responsible when browsing the internet

5 Feb 2018 - 15:00

Accessing the internet has become such an intrinsic part of our lives, that barely a day goes by when we’re not using it to access information, a service, or simply to connect with others. It has made the world a smaller place, by ensuring that people can connect no matter where they are.

There is, however, a dark side to using this useful resource, in that it is a playground for cyber criminals to access personal and confidential information which they can use to access your bank and online accounts. It has also become a place for people to pry on others, and in some cases, lead to cyberbullying.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the youth committing suicide due to cyberbullying. A 12-year old girl in the USA took her own life last month, allegedly due to being cyberbullied by fellow students at her school. Two learners were arrested with the one admitting that she intentionally spread rumours about the deceased. The situation is no different in South Africa, with many school goers having to endure the wrath of the classmates’ scathing attacks.  

In addition, identity theft incidents are on the rise. In 2017, the Statistics from the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) indicated that identity theft has increased by 200% over the past six years. Most people are unaware that their identity has been stolen, until they get contacted by credit providers to pay their debt.

Such is the case with a KwaZulu-Natal lady who has been struggling to prove her innocence since 2009, after a new identity document was issued without her knowing about it. While she suffers the brunt of the law and creditors looking for their money, the criminal gets to rack up thousands of dollars in debt.

So, while there are pros and cons to using the internet, it is essentially up to each one of us to use it responsibly, and to also be aware of dangers out there. Let’s help make the internet a safer and better place for all by following these useful tips:

  • Respect and be kind to fellow internet users.
  • Protect your online accounts and reputation.
  • Use the internet responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.
  • Take caution in what information you share online.
  • Stick to trusted websites.
  • Turn on security features on your devices.
  • Ensure there are no prying eyes around when accessing your financial details.
  • Be wary of public WiFi hotspots.
  • Use an anti-virus.

Above all, if you’re in doubt about an email, a website, or system or service in use at UCT, contact the UCT Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) at UCTcsirt@uct.ac.za. They will be able to investigate and determine if there is an issue.

Browse safely!