ICDL Guide to Staying Safe Online | IT Security | Cybersecurity


October is the European Cybersecurity month, ICDL has been focusing on IT security and ways that you can stay safe online. This time last year we celebrated Cybersecurity month with the release of version 2 of ICDL IT Security. Already thousands of people around Ireland have used it to build their knowledge and skills to protect themselves online. While every day there is more benefits of being online, the risk of your private information being leaked is ever present.

Nearly anyone can be a victim of these cyber attacks. We take journalist Mat Honan from Wired Magazine as an example, he was hacked in 2012. Mat’s computer was wiped, his Twitter profile hijacked and his data completely deleted. This lead to lost photos of his first year of his daughter’s life and other precious memories. Only for Mat’s vast knowledge of IT security and a long recovery process he got his data back and restored his digital world.

Attacks such as the one Mat Honan was hit by are rare but there is plenty of smaller attacks that you could be affected by. Thankfully, this can be avoided with awareness and knowledge. We can learn to recognise fake emails or websites that can not be trusted and may harbour malware. This can go a long way to protecting you online.

According to studies in the UK, data breaches in the at SMEs can cost, on average between €104,500 to €433,160. Like even some of the smallest of mistakes like clicking on a link has resulted in major disasters. In one case a car rental company was nearly bankrupt because of ‘ransomware’. This is a type of malware that infected their system, blocking all access to their files. Holding the files at ransom while demanding a payment to unlock them. This was because an employee clicked on a link in an email he received from an unknown sender.

ICDL Foundation covered this topic in their latest position paper on IT Security, which they launched earlier this month. The paper examines how IT security has a role in every aspect of our digital life, from school, to home or the office. It covers everything from dealing with data, evading viruses and even how to handle bullying online. The paper highlights how important digital skills are.

“Ultimately, it is the actions of the human user that increase the level of exposure to IT security breaches. Installing the most heightened automated security measures and prescriptive policies is only a partial solution. Most of the cyber security breaches could be prevented and high costs avoided if people followed simple IT security principles like using secure passwords, installing antivirus and malware software, and not clicking on suspicious links.”

There are many different programs that can help you with your IT security. But the best way to protect against these dangers is to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect against theses dangers.

We would highly recommend you check out ICDL Foundation’s position paper on IT Security Skills: Protecting your children, your private life, and your business