How we can make the internet a safer place for all

Right now, you're online. You're not alone - according to the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies more than three billion people now regularly use the internet.

The web is a rich educational, commercial and industrial resource allowing us to connect with people we might never have met. It has quite literally changed the world – but has not been without its challenges.

" No one is demanding you to become a cyber-security expert overnight, we just ask that you take action to better engage, educate and empower."
Steve Glynn & Adam Cartwright, Global head of information security & Head of cyber security operations at ANZ

It's the responsibility of everyone, including the business community, to ensure we overcome these challenges. Safer Internet Day, February 9, is the perfect catalyst to reflect on this.

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Photo: Shutterstock


For business, there is a security challenge online from damage which can be both financial and reputational. A recent PwC report showed average total financial losses due to security incidents hit $US2.5 million last year. Businesses are increasing the money spent on information security budgets by 24 per cent in 2016.

But for people, both families and children, the cost can be far greater, making those financial losses seem insignificant by comparison.

In the US, research shows almost 93 per cent of 12 to 17 year olds are online with most not having the adequate proficiency to appropriately use the internet.

In Australia, the Children's eSafety Commission resolved 92 cyberbullying complaints in the six months to December alone. Issues dealt with included seriously abusive comments, violent threats, offensive images and videos, hate pages and hacking of accounts.

Over 2,500 young people in need of further support were referred to the Kids Helpline. During this period, the office also completed 5,561 online content investigations and, tragically, worked with international partners to remove 4,008 URLs containing child sexual abuse material.

It's at this point the dark side of the internet becomes jet black. Child pornography has become a $3 billion annual industry, a statistic which shocked these authors when we read it. It brings home the scale of the problem when you consider behind every picture is a ruined life.


For those with a parental or guardian relationship with children, we can't always be present as they cross the road or swim in the pool. The internet is no different. Children will be children and they can move beyond our line of sight – especially online.

Parents and guardians invest time and effort in teaching their kids how to be safe when they're not around. We can't wait for children to become victims until it's too late.

ANZ is proud to support initiatives such as Safer Internet Day as opportunities to raise awareness and better educate not only our staff but customers and the community more broadly.


Education plays a critical role in building resilience in young people to help them deal with the challenges they may face as they increasingly participate online,' Australia's Commissioner for Children's eSafety Alastair MacGibbon says.

At ANZ, we believe we must band together as individuals, families, communities and industry to engage, educateand empower the community about the realities of the internet.

We have an opportunity and responsibility to:

  • Engage: We must drive our corporate and social responsibility into working with more individuals, groups and organisations who work to clean up the internet and keep our future generations safer.
  • Educate: We must invest in educating our friends, family and workplaces on how to be safe and secure online.
  • Empower: We must ensure that the education and resources we provide support both old and young people to be better equipped to protect themselves from the darker side of the internet.

However, we understand that we are all have differing capabilities and access to resources. Organisations like ANZ have a trusted relationship with families and industries around the world. We work to try and keep millions of families around the world safe and secure, albeit with a focus on banking.

That's why events like Safer Internet Day resonate so much to those of us who work in cyber security.

We know together we are stronger. We know we all need to take action. Safer Internet Day is important – it's a catalyst for action.

No one is demanding you to become a cyber-security expert overnight, we just ask that you take action to better engage, educate and empower.

Steve Glynn is global head of information security & Adam Cartwright is head of cyber security operations at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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