The trust relationship between this user and the internet has failed

The internet is giving me trust issues.

Until far too recently, my version of the internet, populated with cookie recipes, two day shipping and the answers to my questions, felt like a largely benevolent place. Or if not benevolent, at least well intentioned. Now, I’m starting to wonder if I should stock up on tinfoil.

What I find most concerning is that, like that “friend” in Grade 7, the internet is less trustworthy than it appears. Tell it your secrets, or buy that Michael Kors tote that was such a great deal, and you may end up with more than you expected. Apps and services that make your life easier are also collecting a terrifying amount of data. Data breaches, often unnoticed at the time, mean that reusing a password across apps is the digital equivalent of storing your passwords on a post-it note under your keyboard – a post it note that could make its way to a passenger catching Uber rides in Russia.  The way things are going, the post-it note will be more secure (disclaimer: don’t keep your password on a post-it under your keyboard).  Even emails appearing to be from your CEO are suspect. It’s tiring.

If I wouldn’t be hopelessly lost without Google Maps, I would consider dusting off my flip phone, but I could no more navigate my life without the internet than I could find a book in the library without the Dewey Decimal system. And I don’t want to. For all its perils, there are also amazing benefits. Benefits like music streaming, face-timing my nephews on the other side of the world, or mastering winged eyeliner. We live in a wondrous age. We just need to be smart about partaking.

The good news is that when it comes to navigating this brave new world, knowledge is your friend. As we become more aware of the risks of using the internet, we can make changes that help limit the (inevitable) damage. Changes as simple as using a password manager to keep your passwords variable or learning to identify the signs of phishing emails, through to making sure you have appropriate back-ups, or researching what data those apps are collecting before signing up.

If that seems a little daunting, we can help.

Starting on April 27th at the Sandman Signature Hotel Langley, we will be running a series of breakfast seminars – Scout Smart Starts – to help better equip people to protect their businesses. The first one is on April 27th, 2017 and you can register here.