News & Analysis

World Wide Web Day

At a time when the cost of data breaches has risen to the highest ever, let’s celebrate the Internet by being safe and ensuring a safer world

Did you know that the Internet keeps more than two-thirds of our planet connected? Are you also aware that the cost for every data breach is at its highest levels ever? You may also have read somewhere that global revenues from digital commerce is slated to touch $3.64 trillion by the end of 2023? 

As the world celebrates World Wide Web day (on August 1) each year, now is the time to commit ourselves to making the internet safe for the 5.16 billion connected users that are using this digital medium to connect, share and find information that can change their lives. So, take a moment and find out how to be safe on this primary platform of communication of the world. 

The Digital 2023: Global Overview Report published by WeAreSocial suggests that 64% of all humanity is on the Internet, accounting for more than 5.16 billion users. Of course, this number is skewed heavily in favor of the developed world, though countries like India and parts of Africa are catching up and doing so at a frenetic pace.

Take a look at some salient factors before we delve into the safety aspects of the Internet and how daily use can result in data protection and safeguards. 

  • There are 5.44 billion mobile phone users in the world as of early 2023, which works out to about 68% of the global population. Unique users grew by 3% over the past year that works out to 168 million users in just 12 months. 
  • A total of 5.16 billion users are on the Internet, which translates to 64.4% of the world’s total population. This number grew by 1.9% over the past 12 months but could be higher as data getting reported is often delayed. 
  • Total social media users stand at 4.76 billion now, which means just under 60% of all of us are on some platform or the other. Annual growth stood at 3% which translated into roughly 137 million new users. 

Given that most of these users are on the global network seeking information and sharing it, the propensity for sharing data has also grown. And this is where cybercriminals are active, always seeking to take advantage of these opportunities. The result has been a whopping 38% spike in global cyberattacks in 2022 compared to the previous year, says the report. 

Cybercriminals are using every trick in the book to make use of the anonymity that telecom networks allow in order to carry out phishing attacks more easily. They distribute malware by impersonating individuals or organizations, and do so both on work devices as well as personal ones that we carry around, especially our smartphones. 

The report also noted that on an average users spend six hours and 37 minutes daily on the Internet, which means there is a possibility of repeating bad practices and errors. This is where Check Point’s list of quick fixes comes into play. Here’s what the software company specializing in cyber security shares to remain safe and secure on the WWW: 

  • Avoid unknown links: Whatever be the level of trust you have in the sender, always be wary of unknown links that come with such emails. Whether they come via email, text messages or even Whatsapp, never trust them as cybercriminals find this the easiest way to steal personal data via phishing. Better visit the website of the sender from your browser instead of clicking on the link directly. 
  • Keep passwords strong: Using the same set of letters and numbers for every platform is fraught with danger as the correct combination can be figured out by criminals. Google says 65% of participants on its network reuse passwords. So, try and use unique ones or go for two-factor authentication. 
  • Avoid downloads: Attachments are easy means to crack into your system. So, never download any file, especially from unknown sources. 
  • Public networks: As much as possible, avoid these as cybercriminals usually find them to be easy prey to hack. If they are present on the same network, your data on your device becomes easy to access. 
  • Only visit trustworthy websites: The easiest way to do so is check whether the site has an SSL certificate to ensure that the net connection is encrypted and protects confidential information being passed to and flow. Any URL that has https:// at the beginning does carry the certificate. 
  • Continuous knowledge sharing: This is a best practice for enterprises as cybercriminals are always one step ahead of cybersecurity. Therefore, it is better that users are educated with basic digital hygiene on a regular and continuous basis. 

All of the above inputs are basic hygiene factors that every user can apply while browsing the Internet. That these would guarantee the safety of your data is not a given, but suffice to say that by sticking with these steps, the safety aspect for population scale cybercrime can be avoided. Happy Browsing! And Happy World Wide Web Day!! 

Leave a Response