You shouldn’t believe everything you see online. That’s the message from South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) this National Cybersecurity Day today (5 October).
“Staying safe online is all about exercising common sense and taking everything you read, see and hear with a pinch of salt. The world’s full of unsavoury characters and the virtual world’s their cover,” says ISPA spokesperson, Dominic Cull.
Although originating in the US, South Africa’s Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services states that October is now also regarded as National Cyber Security Awareness Month in this country. The month, and the day of 5 October specifically, aim to raise awareness about cybersecurity to ensure every citizen is safe online.
ISPA is a non-profit industry body representing the majority of South Africa’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who connect the country’s Internet users to the worldwide web. Its contribution towards boosting cybersecurity awareness amongst South Africa’s Internet consumers has focused on its well-received Online Safety Project.
The project, launched earlier this year, has seen the Association collate common sense, yet effective, messages into sets of online safety posters available in pre-packed tubes of three posters that help raise awareness of potential threats to children and adults. The posters can also be downloaded online.
ISPA’s poster project addresses common problems highlighted by National Cybersecurity Awareness Day such as fake banking sites and the infection of computers by malicious software, amongst other increasingly-serious online safety issues.
ISPA has to date designed two sets of posters. The original set launched in May carried ‘Protecting Children’, ‘Safe Money’ and ‘Zombie Botnet’ poster themes endorsed by the Film & Publications Board (FPB), the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) and the iCode initiative.
A second set of posters has been launched to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Day. This second set includes messages designed in collaboration with further partner organisations such as WASPA (Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association), ZADNA (ZA Domain Name Regulatory Authority) and DEI (Digital Education Institute). Messages here deal with beating cyberbullying, avoiding spam and the inclusivity of the Internet.
“ISPA invites as many South Africans as possible to download and display the posters across the length and breadth of the country,” says Cull.