The internet offers lots of opportunities to explore, create and collaborate. But the internet is in many ways a mirror of our real world, which isn’t always pretty, and to make the most of the web it’s vital to keep yourself safe and secure. It’s natural to be anxious about cyber criminality and security breaches—in fact, according to to Commission research, 50 percent of EU citizens say they don’t feel informed about the risks. Some of you have maybe even been victims of internet scams or phishing attacks yourselves.
So what’s the solution? Certainly there are behaviors we use to keep ourselves safe in public places or city streets—what we call "common sense." But what does common sense look like online? What is the equivalent of locking your front door—and where can you learn how to do it?
To help everybody to navigate safely and securely through new technologies, gadgets, and services in an ever-changing online world, Google has partnered with local consumer groups to dispel myths about internet safety and to give concrete and easy to follow tips to stay safe online.
Last month we announced our latest partnership with the Belgian consumer group, Test-Achats, focusing on internet safety. Online security is a particularly relevant topic in Belgium, because more than 60 percent of Belgians know little—or nothing at all—about the issues surrounding online safety (according to a survey conducted in September 2016 by GFK). Many people think the topic is too complex for them, but online security has become essential and ignoring the risks can be costly.
Building on local research, we developed an educational platform—www.cybersimple.be—where Belgians can learn from a series of 90 web-safety tips ranging from account and device protection to child safety and online transactions. The website, available in French, Dutch and English, also includes a quiz to test and improve your web-safety knowledge.
The partnership with Test-Achats follows similar collaborations with consumer groups in Italy (with Altroconsumo) and Spain (with la Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios). The goal of these campaigns is to provide consumers with the knowledge they need to optimize and ensure their security when they go online. Whether you're a novice or an expert, we hope you'll find some of the advice and tools available helpful.
In Italy we developed the initiative even further by bringing in-person advice to Italian citizens with a bus tour throughout Italy, connecting with thousands of citizens and giving advice on online safety.
For more information about our long-term partnerships with national consumer associations in Italy, Spain and Belgium, please visit altroconsumo.it/vivinternet/, ocu.org/viveinternetseguro/ and cybersimple.be. Together, we can help people to develop safe online behaviors and enjoy the benefits of the internet.