Google India is launching a new internet safety campaign in the market ahead of Safer Internet Day 2018 on February 6. Google’s campaign #SecurityCheckKiya is aimed at young as well as first-time internet users and will highlight key product features of the company that can boost online safety. In a telephonic interaction with indianexpress.com Director, Trust and Safety at Google India, Sunita Mohanty explained that the initiative will look at product policy outreach and make consumers in India aware of how to be safe online.
“We have noticed some cyber trends in India. For instance, abuse like malware, phishing, elements of financial fraud, are all on the rise in the Indian market. This is also a fragmented market with about 400 million users, which is expected to grow to 650 million users soon,” said Mohanty.
Pointing out that a large number of users are from remote parts, tier III cities, rural cities, Mohanty said such users are often unaware of the risks involved with the Internet use and more susceptible to scams when compared to urban users. She revealed there’s also a spike in social engineering based abuse, like job scams, email-related scams, lottery scams and that these are more prevalent in tier III and rural areas. Google India’s Trust and Safety Director also said that the urban userbase is more aware of the security measures for Google products, like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for Gmail.
Mohanty, however, underlined that Google now plans to bolster its security campaign beyond the two-factor authentication. Elaborating on the same, she said they have now adopted a three-step approach under the ‘Internet Safety’ campaign. First, Google will run promotion links for the ‘security check’ feature on its homepage from February 6, 2018. This feature will let users take a look at their account security with a single click. Users will be able to review security settings for their Android devices and Gmail account.
Google will also promote the ‘Play Protect’ feature on Android which can help detect a malicious app. Play Protect has been part of Google’s Play Store for some time. Play Store verified apps have been scanned for malware. Google revealed in January 2018 that it removed a total of 700,000 malicious apps from the Play Store.
“The theme of the safety campaign is that better internet also starts with you, that is the user. We are looking at wider digital literacy campaigns and pushing these to individuals as well. From a product perspective, we have a lot of security measures, but it really matters when people are aware of these, and rely on them,” said Mohanty.
She points out how Google has been working with the state governments of Goa, Kerala, Gujarat and Telangana to help spread awareness on internet security. “In Telangana, we partnered with the government to create an internet safety program, which was then run as three-part series in over 6,000 government schools on television,” said Mohanty. Google says it is also working to integrate internet safety at a curriculum level in schools across India. In Kerala, it partnered with the IT ministry to launch a program to train over 1 lakh high school girls on Internet safety. The programme was launched in January 2017.
Besides young users, the search giant is also looking to train more school teachers in India on how to deal with cyberbullying. “We know that one-third of urban city teachers have seen at least one case of cyber-bullying, but they do not know how to react to this. We are trying to teach them how to complain about this on the product, for example, if it happens on Google there is the option of reporting or what to do in case it takes place on a social network,” she says. Google also has digital MOOC (Massive open online courses) for helping teachers with internet safety under which it has so far trained 30,000 teachers in India.