Don‘t allow yourselves to be easy targets online
As cyberspace communication becomes more commonplace, privacy issues and cyber crime are slowly cropping up. To combat cyber crime, CyberSecurity Malaysia was set up under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The Chief Executive Officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia, Lt Col Prof Dato’ Husin Jazri, (Retired) spoke to us on issues about cyber safety.
Q: Basically, what has been the new trend in the communications industry in Malaysia?
A: Malaysia is experiencing rapid growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry. The Internet‘s explosive growth has changed the entire communications industry.
Q: With the establishment of social networks, we have seen more users, mainly teens going online and interacting. Do you think this trend is avoidable? If yes, how?
A: This trend is unavoidable. Youths have always been the earliest adapters to new cultural trends, hence it is no surprise that social media has resonated with teens. In a “fast food” environment where teenagers are used to instant gratification, the internet and social networking fit nicely into their communication ecosystems. What we can do is educate them on how to use new technology, like social networks, safely.
Q: How safe are teens, especially when there is no monitoring done by parents or adults?
A: Teens face a very high risk of being exposed to negative content and online threats.
Cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and cybergrooming are as dangerous as their real world counterparts. Parents and teachers have to educate their kids about recognizing dangers online. In fact, parents and teachers, themselves, must make the effort to educate and equip themselves on the proper use of social networking.
Q: How can parents/guardians help their children to be safe?
A: Parents should educate their children on the importance of privacy and securing one’s online identity. For example, they shouldn’t disclose personal details and post pictures of themselves, family members or their homes. If teens insist on sharing photos online, ensure the photos posted are not easily manipulated by others with bad intensions. Teens need to be aware of the dangers of posting their updated whereabouts online, and know how to react when online dangers appear.
Q: Terms such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying and cybercrime are now synonymous with teens. Why is that so? Why is it easier to target teens?
A: These terms are similar to their real world counterparts. The only differences are the tools and methods being used, with the advent of the internet and social networks. With cell phones, it becomes much easier to spread good or bad content, hence the speed of spreading negative remarks and rumors is ridiculous. Besides that, gullible and attention seeking teens can be easily manipulated and persuaded.
Q: How do teens make sure they do not become victims of cyber crime? What steps should they take?
A: Teenagers should know and understand the cyber threats they will face online. They need to protect their privacy and identity and refrain from contacting strangers. Be skeptical of strangers.
Q: If they do become victims, to whom should they report it and what should they do?
A: Cyber999 Help Centre is one of the best ways teens can report an online crime they have been a victim of. They can report by calling 1-300-88-2999 or 019-2665850, email firstname.lastname@example.org, texting
Q: What role does CyberSecurity Malaysia play in ensuring the safety of Internet users?
A: Since its inception, CyberSecurity Malaysia has made various efforts to provide services and create programs related to cyber security and safety. Among the services offered by CyberSecurity Malaysia are: Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT), Cyber999 Help Centre, Digital Forensic (CyberCSI), and CyberSAFE - Outreach Program. Please visit www.cybersecurity.my for details.
Q: Does CyberSecurity Malaysia provide courses for the public?
A: Yes, almost 90% of the course modules are meant for the public, ranging from Digital Forensics, Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert), Incident Handling and Network Analysis, Cyber Defenders. You can visit www.cyberguru.my for details.
Q: What is your advice to our readers on internet usage and protecting their privacy?
A: Remember that though sharing is caring, over-sharing is careless. Never let your guard down when using the internet and be sure of what you are sharing and with whom you’re sharing it. Protect your password. Never share it with anyone, and change it every six months. Always understand security and privacy settings on the social networking site you are using. For more info, you can contact www.cybersafe.my.
So readers, beware of the perils of frequently using the internet, and always remember to pay heed to your COMMON SENSES:-
Cautious Engagement – be careful with what you “post” and “click”
Objective Perceptions – know the reason behind your using social networking sites
Match Intentions – stick to your reasons for using such sites
Mark Policies – read the terms and conditions and privacy policies of social networking sites
Organise comrades – profile your online “friends” into various categories
Never Assume – do not expect your privacy to be preserved
Strong Passwords – create a password with a good combination of characters
Extreme Fortification – equip your computer and servers with anti-malware software
Nurture Secrecy – never, ever reveal anything personal.
Secure your Password - keep your password in a “safe place” – try to memorize it without writing it down
Excellent Safeguards – equip yourself with relevant filtering tools / technology
Self-Restraint – prevent yourself from becoming addicted (from Best Practices on Social Networking Sites.pdf by CyberSecurity Malaysia)
For more information about keeping safe on the internet, go to http://www.cybersafe.my/2011/guidelines.html and download the pdf files available on the site.