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Cybersecurity is a very important factor in safeguarding digital devices of organizations and individuals. The year 2020 has seen many people adapting to working remotely from home through the internet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has exposed many people to some of the most common cyber threats online and made cybersecurity more important than ever.
The Cybersecurity Awareness Month - observed every October - was created as a collaborative effort to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. The overall theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” The theme empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace.
On 28th October 2020, in commemoration of the Cybersecurity Awareness Month, with support from the Digital Human Rights Lab, Encrypt Uganda partnered with Internet Society Uganda Chapter and Digital Literacy Initiative to host a 1-hour Tweet Chat under the theme: "Let’s Put The WE in Cybersecurity". The Twitter Chat was aimed at virtually bringing together over 1000 people to have a meaningful conversation around cybersecurity and online safety to empower the online community with basic online safety tips especially during this time when many people are relying on the internet to work remotely.
To kick-off the chat, we discussed what cybersecurity is and how it ensures that computer systems, data, and software are protected from unauthorized use or harm by cybercriminals. This led to a discussion on some of the biggest cybersecurity threats faced by organizations.
During the Twitter Chat, we discussed some of the following cyber threats that individuals and organizations are at a risk of facing online
A malicious attempt of pretending oneself as an authorized entity in electronic communication for obtaining sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, etc. through fraudulent messages and emails - and discussed some of the signs of a phishing attack and how to safeguards oneself from falling for them.
A cyber threat that comes in many forms like credit card fraud - when a cybercriminal steals and uses a victim’s credit or debit card, or similar payment tools to fraudulently obtain goods or funds from their account. Tips on how to prevent credit card fraud were shared like guarding one’s credit card details dearly and immediately reporting any suspicious activity on your card to the bank.
An act of stealing your personal information like pictures, addresses, etc. by cybercriminals to take over or open new accounts and communicate in your names. We discussed how malicious and dangerous identity theft can be to individuals and organizations and shared basic precautions to adopt to protect oneself from identity theft.
During the Twitter chat, we shared some of the most common steps organizations and individuals can take to ensure that they improve their safety and security online. These are;
Practicing good password hygiene is one of the most important security measures to mitigate cyber threats like phishing. We shared password tips like; making them long, using a combination of letters, numbers, and characters, not reusing passwords on different accounts, not sharing passwords with other people, not writing them down and above all using password managers to effectively store multiple passwords securely.
Because of the constant need to stay connected on the go, many people use smartphones to communicate instantly online as opposed to using computers. It is for this reason that we discussed mobile phone security and shared a few important tips on how to safely use mobile devices for sharing data and communication online.
To crown the tweet chat, we shared the following cybersecurity tips that organizations and individuals can adopt to safeguard against cyber threats;
During the Tweet Chat, over 200 people directly participated in the conversations indirectly reaching over 50,000 people, generating over 2000 tweets and making the #BeOnlineBeSmart hashtag trend number one in Uganda. Below is a summary of the statistics.
During the Twitter chat, we learnt that many people are starting to take their online safety and security very seriously and this is a sign that people are learning lessons from cyber threats and challenges they have faced in the past. Also, this means cybersecurity awareness campaigns are creating a positive impact on the lives of many people.
To improve one’s safety and security online, one needs to do their part, which among others includes changing one’s habit and behavior online. Also, people need to embrace cybersecurity as a lifelong commitment since the online environment is very dynamic each day, different threats and challenges come up in different forms. People need to be alert and prepared for these new threats and challenges.
We hope through the tweet chat, people were able to pick a few cybersecurity tips and best practices needed to effectively protect themselves and their data from some of the common cyber threats. We would like to thank the Internet Society - Uganda Chapter and Digital Literacy Initiative who partnered with us to make the tweet chat happen and finally not forgetting the generous financial support from the Digital Human Rights Lab which made the tweet chat a very successful one.