Because cellular networks are slightly dropping their exuberant DATA prices and Fibre access is becoming more available, more and more South Africans are only recently being invited to join the digital world through the internet. Even though Internet access has been around in SA since MWeb’s Big Black Box, the digital online world is still a rather new place for most South Africans.
For some, the word “digital” doesn’t seem like a physically real object in their lives, ignorantly browsing and interacting on social media sites, video streaming, sending & receiving emails, banking, etc. Fact is, it is very real. Company transfer salaries into digital accounts, using the web. People meet each other for coffee, using the internet. Products are being purchased on online stores, using the web. Like it or not, the internet is as real as the roads we walk and drive on. And as all roads, it could be a dangerous place.
Let’s imagine that your laptop, PC, phone, or any device that connects you to the internet, is your house. Your house has your belongings in it like your furniture, TV, photo albums, music collection, personal documents, maybe some cash saved for a holiday… In order to keep intruders away from our house we can trust the South African Police Service to protect us, right? Mmmm… Some of us will make sure that we have burglar bars and security gates installed with a tall wall around the property. Maybe have an alarm system installed with security cameras in a secure complex, just in case.
How many of your belongings are on your device? Photos, personal documents, banking accounts, your personal profile on Facebook? Now, how well are these digital belongings protected? Banks offer us “secure online banking” … Online shops offer us “secure online shopping” … Do our social media sites and phones secure us? Shops and banks and their clients still get robbed. So do their websites. Instead of balaclava-ed brute robbers with guns and knives, we now have hackers. They seem a lot less intimidating because we can’t physically see them, but they can cause the same amount of damage to you. They are not just in SA, but could be on the other side of the world and within no time, right in your house, taking your valuables.
There are dozens of free anti-virus security software available to all users for all their devices. See this as the SAPS – helpful, but not necessarily preventive. To secure your digital belongings and internet activity might have a small fee though. Then again, so does your armed response alarm company, security guard at your complex, burglar bars and the wall around your house. It is worth it.
Downloading free security software and changing your passwords once in a while is a good start. Do research on which company’s software is suitable for your needs and see what premium package they have to offer. It is easier to be protected than it is to be a victim online.