Internet Safety Month is observed every year in June. It is a time reserved to remind us of our shared understanding, responsibility and action towards the digital safety practices to secure our devices, online accounts and daily browsing activities so as to mitigate the ever-changing risks of cyber-crimes and effects of online violence.
Under #BeInternetAwesome, we kicked off this time of year with a training workshop on Online Safety and Security (Cohort 2) for 20 womxn at our office premises in Kampala on Tuesday 30 May 2023 with support from Tor Project team. The Co- Facilitators, Kettie Kahume and Sandra Kwikiriza engaged participants in timely conversations packaged through different sessions on digital safety tips, mitigation of cyber threats and circumvention techniques, which defined the purpose of this one- day event to address the digital security gaps of the participants both as individuals and organizations to prevent certain extreme levels of insecurity in the future. “The internet is not a place that we exist, but also where we should take precaution of safety. Just like we take care of our personal physical spaces or homes where we don’t take any chances, we need to make sure that our devices are secure even if they are not in our hands,” Sandra pointed out in her opening remarks to a session on Digital Safety Tips for devices and online communications.
Following a discussion on the increasing risks and occurrence of cyber-attacks today, most participants confirmed to have been victims of phishing attempts, social engineering and hacking as they intimated their experiences. This conversation stressed the laxity and/ or absence of proper up-to-date digital security measures mainly on the part of most key players especially within Uganda’s telecommunications, finance and banking sectors. To address this problem, attention was called to discernment and keenness to who, what, why and how we share personal information especially under the pretext of “credible” messages, emails or calls from “reputable” persons, parastatals and international non-government bodies.
The day ended with practical lessons about how the Tor browser works as a circumvention tool, its benefits and how it operates to ensure privacy and anonymity of the end- users. Attendees were urged to reflect on how cyber threats such as hacking can compromise their devices and personal information online which will further spill and affect them offline. Emphasis was also put on resilience, consistency and optimism in available best practices to ensure everyday digital safety which should be prioritized as a first and personal issue for each individual.
For a daily guide on digital security and safety at your fingertips, check out our socials or download and read more from our resource “Online Safety Tips” here; https://www.herinternet.org/online-safety-tips-brochure/