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Julie Fluyt
Julie Fluyt

Social Media Manager @ So buzzy

On Wednesday 28 April 2021, KBC organised an Internet safety webinar especially for young persons. As digital natives, these youths were born with a smartphone in their hand and can navigate the Internet better than anyone. Still, it isn’t just young people who have to deal with risks online. Entrepreneurs, too, have to be on their guard day in, day out. For this reason, we’re showcasing a few tips that can benefit everyone.

 

Time spent online is increasing

Now more than ever, the Internet is the place to be. We all spend a huge amount of time online, whether to stay in touch with our network, to make purchases, or for a host of other reasons. The situation is no different for entrepreneurs and their business operations: there is a great deal to be gained from all the online options available to us. One simple example is the integration of online solutions by partners and third parties, enabling the customer to be provided with a wider range of products and services. In short, a life without Internet is now unthinkable.

This is also evident from the figures published by the Imec Digimeter, an annual study that looks at the digital transformation among Flemish citizens. The study declared 2020 to be the year of digital acceleration, with Flemish citizens spending around 73 minutes per day on social media – an approx. 49% increase in comparison to 2019. This is in addition to the fact that around 38% indicated that they felt more positive toward digital media since the start of lockdown last March. This is also the case for entrepreneurs, given that people are increasingly shopping online: the number of Flemish citizens who do make purchases online at least once a month has risen to 65%, while just under 20% do so weekly at the minimum.

The figure below clearly shows that social media and chat apps have greatly increased in popularity. This is to be expected given that during the coronavirus pandemic, virtually the only way to stay in contact with one another was via digital channels. That said, 24% state that they are not sufficiently prepared to do everything online or digitally – a level of uncertainty that cybercriminals are all too ready to exploit.

Internet Safety webinar 2

Source: Imec Digimeter, 2020

The dangers of the Internet

Despite the many benefits offered by the Internet, we do need to be aware of the dangers involved both privately and in our professional environment. Not everyone we meet online has good intentions. For example, there are cyber criminals out there seeking to steal money or information in a host of different ways. And their attempts are becoming increasingly difficult to detect.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to handle both your own data and that of your customers safely and securely. In increasingly communicating with our customers online, information is frequently being shared publicly – without taking heed of the fact that others can access it, too. This is something that Febelfin highlighted a couple of years ago with a strong awareness campaign.

 

The message is clear: too many individuals share their own data – as well as that of other people – publicly. This is a high-risk activity. Judge the situation incorrectly and the consequences can be severe.

At KBC we delete such messages and actively ask others to communicate ‘privately’, with the requisite verification procedures being followed should the interaction continue online. As an entrepreneur, you should be aware of this, too.

How can you safeguard yourself and your business against online risks?

As we prioritise online safety at KBC, we believe it is important to share our insights and help others to protect themselves, their business and their network.

This is why, for example, we organised a website with James Cooke and Jamilla Baidou on Wednesday 28 April 2021. During the webinar, we gave tips to young people (and anyone who goes online) about how to defend themselves against the dangers of the Internet.

We looked at what phishing messages are and how to recognise them, what you should pay attention to when sharing online information with others, and how to tell if someone’s intentions are less than honourable.

People often receive phishing messages by email, social media and text message. In these messages, the scammer poses as someone else to get hold of your personal information and then misuse it.

You can often recognise phishing messages due to their use of an unfamiliar or strange email address, the many language and spelling errors strewn throughout the text, and specific requests to click on a link. The messages are also frequently sent without a recipient’s name and try to pique the reader’s curiosity.

It is important to note that an official body (such as a bank) will never send you requests for personal information or requests to click a specific link via email, SMS or social media.

It isn’t just young people who need these tips, either: everyone regularly comes into contact with cyber criminals, as shown by the increase in the number of cyber attacks since the outbreak of the pandemic. One example is malware attacks, with cyber criminals creating malicious software that they use to gain access to sensitive devices, data or a victim’s network. With the victim often being a company, this is why it is essential for entrepreneurs to be on their guard.

The main goal of these attacks is to obtain personal data, steal information and copy login details. With this in mind, be sure to protect yourself and your business against cyber attacks.

 

Many risks with ample opportunities

Our aim isn’t to scare you away from using the Internet – after all, it is an invention that is brimming with fantastic opportunities. A digital transformation is underway that has picked up pace since the outbreak of the pandemic. Read more about it in this KBC article

The last few months have led to various beneficial initiatives and technological developments in various sectors for young and old alike. For example, many takeaway places now have the option to order via a tool so that you no longer have to wait. Some market vendors deliver their fruit and veg direct to your door, and you can even buy a house through a web store.

At KBC, we, too, want to keep working to provide our customers with innovative solutions and help them save time and money. Two examples are our digital assistant Kate[AV1]  in KBC Mobile (currently only in Dutch or French) and our KBC wearables, which you can use to make payments quickly and securely. Without the Internet, services like this simply wouldn’t be possible. In other words, we should enjoy all the enriching aspects that the Internet has to offer. But always keep one thing in mind: safety first. 😉

Internet Safety webinar 3

 

 

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