This morning I was invited to a very insightful panel discussion run by TalkTalk in partnership with Freud Communications about cybercrime. Cybercrime and issues around internet security have been on the rise recently; from Sony to TalkTalk themselves. Google and McAfee estimate there are 2000 cyberattacks every day around the world, costing the global economy about £300bn a year. A journal which I picked up today at the event (The Brewery Journal – well worth a read) reflects these figures: according to the 2015 UK Crime Survey there were an estimated 5.1 million cybercrimes and frauds last year in the UK alone, costing the UK economy £27 billion a year. It all seems very scary, but significantly lowering these figures is not impossible; we just need to educate.
“97% of cybercrimes happen due to human frailty”
This is what Matt Hancock MP, the government minister who is responsible for cybersecurity, said this morning and he’s not wrong. Digital is something that isn’t going away and it’s really important for people to be smart and informed on the approaches they need to take when using the internet.
I regularly meet vulnerable and socially excluded people when I visit our community partners, and they have concerns about internet security.
Our very popular resources on Learn My Way are great for educating learners about cybersecurity. In our beginners section we have Using the Internet Safely to introduce newbies to the dangers surrounding the internet and tell them the right steps to take to avoid these dangers. For those who are ready to move on to the more advanced stuff we’ve got Staying Safe Online and Keeping Your Information Safe, which show learners how to keep their tech safe from viruses. It’s also really important that we’ve backed hints and tips on keeping safe inside our other relevant online courses – we don’t expect people to know they need to do the explicit safety courses – we support them to keep their data safe on Facebook (in the Facebook course), to be clever when online shopping (in the online shopping course), and to set up good passwords and avoid phishing in the email course. If you’re internet safety savvy it’s easy to surf the web every day with no problems.
Today Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said that it’s important not to hide away and that we should be talking openly about this important issue. I firmly agree and I was thrilled to hear that the government is building a new cybersecurity centre and that the Cyber First scheme will be recruiting 1000 graduates – a good move in the fight against cybercrime.
Raising awareness is also at the forefront of the fight. Campaigns like Safer Internet Day and European Get Online Week are two causes which we support and promote here at Tinder Foundation, the latter of which is taking place next week. ‘Trust and confidence’ is one of the key themes surrounding this year’s campaign, aiming to raise awareness around online identities and cybersecurity to help people become more confident internet users.
Of course, we can’t wipe out cybercrime and hackers completely. As much as we’d like to, that’s just impossible. But what we can do is raise awareness and educate people. I felt inspired by something that Dido said today and thought I’d use it to finish this blog (apologies to Dido if I haven’t remembered this exactly): “I’m hopeful that the virtual world can be every bit as safe as the physical world (which isn’t completely safe, as it never can be).”
We’ve helped 1.8 million vulnerable and socially excluded people make positive changes to their lives through learning how to use the internet. We help them to keep safe, but I think we can do more. So, what’s next? We’ll get out to our community partners and talk to some of our users and work out what ‘more’ might be.