Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#SECURITY: "Security Training for Social Media"

Best practices for protecting personal information--called digital responsibility--is best learned right now, regardless of your age. That's the goal of a free Internet security training suite for students, teachers, worried parents, and even savvy users.

Hackers and criminals have access to automatic tools that can crack short passwords in just a few seconds.

Smartphones, tablets and other digital devices are pacifying children, teenagers, and even grown-up men and woman in households worldwide. As a result, a gaping need is present for teaching "digital responsibility" to budding surfers--especially social media users--in order to avoid the pitfalls of unbridled online access.

Free presentation kits on Internet safety practices, available as downloadable Volunteer Resources, were designed by IBMers as a service to humanity.

"The resources we are donating will help teachers and parents raise awareness that most Internet-based threats to individual and computer security can significantly be reduced by actions that informed users take themselves," said Harriet Pearson, IBM Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer. "IBMers are committed to helping educate people on ways to safely and securely use the Internet."

The kits, announced this month on Safer Internet Day, include separate tracks on controlling your online identity, Internet safety coaching, and cyber-bullying.

For instance, the volunteer education kit entitled “Control Your Online Identity” should be useful to anyone who has yet to appreciate the gravity of revealing personal information that criminals and similar unscrupulous users could easily harvest.

Designed to be especially helpful to teenagers, who are often savvy in "how to" use the Internet but short-sighted about the types of information they reveal, the presentation presents the best practices that all users should be following. For instance, did you know that it takes less than a minute for hacker tools to deduce a password that is less than seven characters long?

The “Control Your Online Identity” kit also shows how using the same nickname on different websites enables anyone to derive a complete profile of your online activities, posts, likes and dislikes. In some cases, this type of information has been used to deny services to users who thought their posts were private. For instance, the posting of risky escapades has been used to increase insurance rates for new drivers.

The Internet Safety Coaching tract similarly educates users on how to stay safe when using instant messaging and social networking sites. And the Cyber-bullying tract shows parents how to, recognize the symptoms and prevent online services from perpetuating, school-ground-like bullying online.