Girish Singhania – (CEO) EduBridge India, a Mumbai-based workforce development organization started by a group of IIM alumni and professors in October 2009. He brings 15 years of experience across education, FMCG, and Financial Service sectors and is driven by a visceral “hard-wired” need to strategize, innovate, execute, and disprove the words – “It can’t be done”.
The digital space might look like the one with cozy little nooks, but it isn’t! The space is suffused with the rotunda presence of hackers, viruses, and even forceful tasks that could drive one to even end their life. In one year alone, the Indian Cyber Cell has reported a stupendous rise in cyber-bullying cases amounting to a whopping 36% (and growing). The youth is ruthlessly victimized by hackers. As the cyber-cell probes further with the investigation, they learn that individuals have not taken requisite steps, to maintain digital hygiene, putting their lives and their hard-earned assets at stake.
The pandemic has underlined the fact that we are currently experiencing a digital revolution, and routine life is going to take a dramatic turn as we gravitate towards the digital space. With this evolution, we as responsible individuals must ensure that we take all the necessary measures to maintain digital hygiene and safeguard ourselves.
Just as educational institutions impart education on different spheres of life, one of the spheres that cannot be overlooked in today’s day is, ‘HOW TO MAINTAIN DIGITAL HYGIENE?’. Education on the nuances of digital hygiene should be delivered to EVERY advancing peer group.
What is digital hygiene?
Just like physical hygiene, digital hygiene involves taking requisite measures at keeping your hardware and software free of any malicious activities. Practicing ethical and robust digital hygiene methods will help one arrive at a better incident response (an organized approach to managing the aftermath of a security breach)
How does one maintain Digital Hygiene?
Maintaining Digital hygiene is similar to maintaining physical hygiene:
- During the pandemic, to protect ourselves from the virus, we wear a mask every time we step out of the house. Similarly, we must protect the devices that we work on, by ensuring the correct installation and configuration of a requisite anti-malware (or good security software). Good anti-virus software will prevent the unnecessary breach of data.
- We have learned to sanitize ourselves from time to time, and keep ourselves clean of any unwarranted diseases. Similarly, we should sanitize our devices, by deleting all unwanted emails and unnecessary applications. This will reduce the scope of a breach, and will also enliven the speed of your device.
- Maintaining social distancing is an essential practice that we have implemented as part of our routine during the Covid-19 pandemic. Similarly, we must refrain from exchanging any personal information like bank account details, phone numbers, identity proof numbers, your whereabouts, or anything remotely as important concerning yourself, when online or on calls where the user is not identified strongly.
- One must especially be careful about admitting unidentified entrants on video-calling applications like Zoom.
- Keep from opening any emails, links, or Gif files from an unauthorized source. In recent times, it is a common practice for hackers to send Gif files in the name of a known individual but if you check the email id too you will realize it is not from a known source. Hence, take your time to open attachments! This is usually a welcome distraction for learners, and hence they must be warned about opening the same.
- Just like how we quarantine an infected person, we must quarantine our devices in incase one opens an unidentified link or a suspicious email. Switch off the computer, and also any other device that is synchronized with that computer. Make sure you also switch off the internet or Wi-Fi.
- Digital Hygiene also involves administering your data networks. It is always advisable to operate in a safe network. Just in case, the security of the device is compromised it is always easier for the engineer to track back the details, and arrive at a safe point.
Measures are taken to maintain robust digital hygiene practices
- Government intervention – building on an extensive governmental policy will greatly abate any digital breaches or crimes. A set ‘Digital Constitution’ will also benefit end-users and prevent hackers from bailing out easily.
- Resilient passwords – Make sure that applications that are used regularly have resilient passwords that are changed from time to time.
- It is essential to physically segment computing networks.
- It is indeed a good practice to use the 2FA (Two Factor authentication) or an MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) process.
- One must ensure the secure and robust installation of routers and firewalls along with the correct configurations.
While the above-mentioned points are marked as entry-level practices for maintaining digital hygiene, one must also probe deeper into the security of network administration, especially at larger organizations. Digital Hygiene, should be treated as a way of life.