Week Eight

A Smart, Safe and Secure Digital World

Safety is just as important in the physical world as it is in the digital world. It seems like a lot of digital security practices are common sense…just as obvious as knowing to “look both ways” when crossing the street. When I was in grade school, learning how to be safe on the then-new technology of the world wide web was becoming part of our standard curriculum. It was an entirely new set of safety rules that I had to become familiar with. These rules surely didn’t seem as obvious as they do today. Here is a fun educational “internet safety” video for kids produced in 1999 (I was 8 years old) that teaches these rules just as I learned them growing up.

I have since built upon the foundations of safety and security I learned back then. Of course, I also now have much more vital information to protect, such as financial and health information. I have always seen myself as a careful and private media user, and I think my security measures reflect that. All of my social media accounts are set to “private” and I only add and accept people I know to Facebook, for instance. Also, this may sound a bit old school, but I handwrite all of my passwords in a notebook that I keep in a drawer in my room. I always found this to be a safer approach than keeping them in a Word document or password manager, though I will probably change my mind about this in the near future.

I think my best “security habit” though is just being skeptical of everything sent to me, and not sending my personal information to anyone or anyplace that seems suspicious. For example, last week I was almost a victim of social engineering (which is interesting because I had just finished an updated training module at work all about social engineering).

I received a fake email from an address posing as Apple, similar to the one featured on this site, that read “your account has been suspended.” Below, it told me to follow the link below and re-enter my information. I knew that if it was blatantly asking for my information that it couldn’t be legitimate, and I signed into my Apple account via their normal web site to be sure. I was correct, and I immediately deleted the email.

What I have learned the most from this course is to always be on your game in not just consuming media, but more importantly knowing which information sources and companies to trust, how to safely create my own media and how to preserve my online identity. I will make a few changes to my internet security behaviors, such as using a password manager and encrypting my computer, which I have been taking practically everywhere ever since starting at ASU online.

This class also inspired me to become a more active and more open creator of media, which may get me out of my own “privacy” shell. I found that I really enjoy posting on blogs, and I may start my own someday. Though we must be careful and aware of the dangers in today’s digital world, we should not let that make us paranoid or afraid of publishing, contributing, and sharing our thoughts, ideas, information and creativity with the world.