• Safe on the internet with our tips & tricks
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Safe on the internet with our tips & tricks

05 February 2021

As Safer Internet Day is celebrated in February, we would like to draw your attention to safe online behaviour. Everyone contributes to creating a better online world, so we have put together some tips and tricks for both professionals and adults as well as for parents and their children. We would also like to touch on the safety of our Belgian websites at the end of this article.

Professionals & adults

  • It may seem obvious, but your online behaviour does not stop when you switch off your computer. Be careful when you use your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, …
  • Make sure your devices are updated with the latest software. These updates contain security and functionality patches to restore or improve the software your device runs on.
  • Your online behaviour has consequences in real life. The picture you posted on LinkedIn of your virtual meeting, where you can clearly see the website, may be abused by a hacker. The (public) announcement on Facebook that you are taking a break for a couple of weeks, is easy bait for a burglar.
  • Only use private and trusted networks, such as your home or company network. In addition that, it is essential to use a strong and unique password, so neighbours or a casual passer-by cannot access your network with your personal data.
  • Always switch on your mobile data (3G/4G/5G) when you are not at home and wish to use the internet. Avoid accessing unsecured and/or public networks, such as in coffee bars or the mall.
  • Try using a password manager. Using the same password for multiple websites is not safe and creating a new one all the time is rather hard. A password manager may offer you the perfect solution: the tool generates complex passwords, memorises them and automatically fills them out wherever and whenever necessary.

Parents & children

  • Talk with your children about safe internet behaviour, malicious websites and cyber bullying, for example. The more you openly talk with your children about their activities on the internet, without just simply checking up on them behind their backs, the easier it will be for them to understand what they see and hear online.
  • Invite your children to talk about the social media platforms they use or the newest viral video. This way, you not only learn a couple of useful tips and tricks, but spend time with your kids and get to know them better without losing unnecessary time secretly checking their online behaviour.
  • Together with your children, take the time to verify the privacy setting of their favourite accounts. This way, you gain more control over the pictures and messages they share online. Naturally, it is essential to find a healthy balance between public and private.
  • It is normal for children to not know how to react all the time, let alone in an online environment. Let them know this is OK and that they can talk about it to you as a parent, a friend or a teacher, for example.

Belgian websites

In this article about safe online behaviour, it is indispensable to not mention company websites that generate quite some traffic and process our data. In this framework, BDO Belgium has carried out a large-scale web scan to shed light on the weaknesses of these websites. Our scan focuses on companies and public institutions in Belgium.

The websites were screened using 21 automatic, non-intrusive tests, brought under in 4 categories:

  1. Safety of the user
  2. Configuration
  3. Management of interfaces
  4. Security of domains

Belgian websites do not obtain the best results. On sector level, these are the most remarkable results:

  • The public sector comes bottom of the class. Over 1 out of 4 (28%) related websites fail one or more high risk tests, even though the average is about 18%.
  • The healthcare sector score quite low too, even though they process mainly personal data.
  • The energy sector obtains the best results, although there are still several points of improvement.

You can consult the results for free here: https://bdowebscan.eu/.