College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Keeping safe in cyberspace

Elmarie Kritzinger (School of Computing and project leader for cyber safety awareness in CSET) says that every user should protect themselves from becoming a victim in cyberspace.

It is every user’s responsibility to protect themselves in cyberspace.

Cybercrime is a growing concern around the world, and any user can fall victim to attacks from cybercriminals. Cybercrimes may involve identity theft or loss of money. They can also have an impact on your social and emotional well-being (for example, cyberbullying).

Prof Elmarie Kritzinger from Unisa specialises in cyber-safety awareness. She has spent the last twenty years focusing on assisting users in becoming responsible cyber-citizens. This is achieved by users understanding and implementing required cyber-safety measures for protection in cyberspace. Her research has provided users (including school learners) with workbooks, posters and guidelines for becoming responsible cyber-citizens.

"Cyber-safety responsibilities should be taken very seriously by all users," says Kritzinger. "Everyone should understand the impact and the consequences of their actions within cyberspace."

Digital footprints can never be deleted: they remain forever. Cybercriminals usually use a person’s digital footprint with the intent of extorting information or money from cyber users.

"Proper cyber-safety actions include the use of strong passwords, regular backup plans, not responding to unknown emails, and a think-before-you-post strategy. Using these, cyber-users can limit and minimise the possibility of becoming victims to cybercriminals."

Cyberspace is an environment where users have the freedom to improve themselves through obtaining knowledge and skills. It can also provide opportunities to improve their personal as well as work environment.

"All cyber users must be vigilant and be able to protect themselves in cyberspace," says Kritzinger.

You can read more about the Cyber Security Awareness project here.

* Submitted by Thembeka Ntuli-Mpapama, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

The article first appeared in CSET News, published by Jive Media Africa.

Publish date: 2020/10/15