What are VPNs? A First Guide to Home Cybersecurity | Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen Australians suffer the highest number of online scams ever recorded nationwide. Many households have fallen victim to SMS and email scams designed to look like shipping updates and notifications, as scammers have taken full advantage of the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry over the past pandemic.
Cybersecurity analysts have outlined two key approaches Australians can take to ensure they stay safe when shopping online: building their own digital literacy and taking a proactive approach to home cybersecurity that includes using a VPN. But what is a VPN? And how can ordinary Australians with minimal knowledge of cybersecurity implement their own highly effective home security strategy?
We will explore the answers to these questions below.
Understanding “Virtual Private Networks”
Above all, it is imperative that all Australian consumers who shop online regularly invest in a VPN as a fundamental part of their cybersecurity strategy. A VPN (or “virtual private network”) is actually a way to encrypt your internet connection when browsing online. VPNs work by providing your local wireless network with an encrypted “tunnel” through which you can browse the web without third-party users being able to see your IP address (learn more).
Without your IP address in sight, any potentially malicious third party will not be able to assess who your network provider is, where you are in the world and other vital information that could expose you to cyberattacks such as attacks. digital. fraud and identity theft.
VPN usage has increased dramatically in recent years for a variety of reasons, including the fact that masking your online location allows internet users to access area-locked content, such as YouTube videos or TV shows. television available on Netflix US instead of Netflix Australia. VPNs, however, are just as good at keeping you safe online as they are for streaming and other forms of entertainment.
There are also dozens of VPN services consumers can choose from, ranging from free VPNs to subscription VPN services. You can choose the VPN service that’s right for you by simply reading the fine print of each pre-selected service to find the package that meets your personal security needs.
The benefits of home cybersecurity
So why do cybersecurity experts say that every Australian home should have its own VPN service alongside other cybersecurity measures? Well, the short answer here is that the rest of the world is already practice cybersecurity at home.
The long answer is that as technology evolves, so does malware. With each new generation of software updates for all of our personal technology devices, there come times of uncharted territory, where hackers and scammers can produce and post links to malware that can appear virtually anywhere online. or even in your mobile applications.
Using cybersecurity measures such as VPNs, internet security packages, and promptly updating all your personal devices whenever updates are available can do wonders when it comes to protecting your online hearth.
It should be noted, however, that investing in the right hardware and software is only part of the equation here too. Education reform and the introduction of workplace cybersecurity seminars can also play a very important role in keeping Australian households and businesses safe as we go deeper into this digital age.
Educational materials on digital literacy and cybersecurity
Sure, learn to spot online scams is much easier for digital natives than for older generations. Young people who grew up alongside the internet and the invention of the smartphone are more likely to be able to spot dishonest content online, and knowing what to look for can play a major role in ensuring your safety. when browsing the web.
But can individuals be taught to recognize warning signs in digital spheres? In fact, they can. Teachers across Australia have advocated for the inclusion of digital literacy skills into existing ICT curricula, ensuring that children leave primary and secondary education with the ability to understand and disseminate the information presented to them online.
Increasing digital literacy rates will ensure that young Australians as well as older generations will be able to think critically about the information they find online, and will therefore be less likely to fall victim to scams because they appear in various forms, from malicious emails to fake news articles.
As well as increasing digital literacy rates, cybersecurity experts also say that basic knowledge of coding and web development can also help keep Australians safe online, as even a working understanding of the modern web can further support digital literacy teaching materials.
Other cybersecurity measures to practice at home
The introduction of hybrid work schedules that allow professionals to alternate between working from home and in the office leads to the simultaneous introduction of more dynamic threats online, including the risk that business information becomes vulnerable when it is viewed on personal computers. Many professionals use their personal technology devices while working from home, which can lead to malware being found on online shopping platforms and other sites visited during leisure time to access sensitive organizational information.
In addition to practicing the methods we’ve outlined above, working Australians can protect their sensitive personal and professional information simply by separating their work and personal devices, and using a variety of complicated passwords for all of their accounts. personal and professional online.
Cybersecurity professionals also advise Internet users to regularly update their personal and work passwords while using multi-factor authentication to limit the ability of third parties to access highly sensitive areas online such as mailboxes. email receipt, banking applications and other digital channels for online purchases or financial services.
To stay safe online, individuals need to take firm control of their cybersecurity and have a solid understanding of the risks they are taking when interacting with questionable profiles, sites, and other content online. Surfing the web mindfully and with digital literacy skills in mind is likely to prevent many Australians from falling victim to text and email scams in 2022, but that’s just an investment in software and cybersecurity tools like VPNs that will greatly reduce your risk of getting you more nasty scams, insidious malware along the way.