6. Extend guardianship

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The absence of a ‘capable guardian’ is one of the most critical factors that enables motivated and resourceful offenders to profit from cyber-enabled crime.

In the physical world, family members, friends, colleagues, even watchful bystanders often dubbed ‘have a go heroes’ can easily act as protectors, ready to intervene and prevent many forms of crime.

Online, effective guardianship can be harder to deliver as individuals undertake solitary digital pursuits away from traditional observers and may seek privacy as they game, communicate, trade or learn on a myriad of devices that provide always on internet access.

Digital guardianship though can be extended in many ways through both human moderators and software security layers like algorithms and blocklists. Read on to discover how you can help protect others online:

6.1 Assist family, friends and colleagues

Priority: 1

Good, observant neighbours have always been a key element of effective physical crime prevention, emptying an overflowing mailbox whilst a family is away on holiday and quick to respond to a burglar alarm in the middle of the day.

In the digital domain it’s equally important that internet users make the effort to support relatives, friends and co-workers who may have limited technical skills or be less confident in navigating the internet safely. Providing a second opinion on a suspected phishing email or assisting someone to start using a password manager are excellent practical ways of assisting others to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.

ACTION: Be proactive in helping others learn digital skills

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

6.2 Support community education

Priority: 1

ACTION: Report abuse to service providers

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

6.3 Support Cyberhood Watch

Priority: 1

ACTION: Report abuse to service providers

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

ACTION: Report abuse to service providers

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

6.4 Report abuse to service providers

Priority: 1

In many countries around the world, website operators and platform providers have a moral and legal responsibility to monitor and protect their users and act as guardians over their digital locations. Paid or volunteer human moderators combined with language filters and abuse detection systems can spot and block or remove offensive or suspicious users and content.

It’s important for all internet users to act as guardians for others in their preferred digital places and take actions as simple as flagging and reporting abuse, illegal content or individuals they suspect breach terms of service or may be committing a crime.

ACTION: Report abuse to service providers

To report phishing emails you can submit suspicious URLs to both Google’s Safe Browsing platform and PhishTank, part of the OpenDNS service operated by Cisco.

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

6.5 Report to law enforcement

Priority: 1

ACTION: Report abuse to service providers

  • Benefits: Protects other users, extends automated safety systems, reduces offender opportunities to commit crime
  • Cost: Free
  • Effort: Low
  • EffectivenessMedium
  • Risk if you don’t do it: Low
  • Likelihood: Low

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