Internet is an integral aspect of modern life. One that has brought us many conveniences and transformed businesses and human connection. However, this world of connection has brought many challenges and risks to our doorstep. Over the last year and a half, we have seen our homes become centers not only for leisure online activities such as social media, personal banking, gaming, and TV streaming, but also virtual schools and offices. Below, we share a few of our go-to best practices for upping your family’s cybersecurity awareness and protection.
Developing a Cyber Aware Mindset
- Cybersecurity begins with a conversation. Educating our family members on online dangers and teaching them critical thinking skills. For example, children and teenagers may be tempted by the lure of a free prize. Guide family members to use critical thinking skills while online: Do I know and trust this person or website? Does this offer sound too good to be true? What information am I being asked for?
- Passwords are for protection. Be sure that you are creating strong, unique passwords (leveraging length and complexity). Many families with older children or teenagers may benefit from using a password management system to store and manage passwords for various applications. Most importantly for children, do not share your password. Most importantly for parents, do not use your corporate password(s) for personal logins.
- Privacy is your priority – Don’t share your personal information. Children and teenagers can often be targets of identity theft and worse, so teaching them about cyber privacy is a key defense. Examples of personal information that shouldn’t be shared include date of birth, social security number, address, details related to their schedules and/or travel.
Leveraging Your Tools & Settings
- Software isn’t soft. Find, use, and maintain antivirus software, and you may consider a parental controls application to monitor the internet activity in your home. Many software programs and applications are easy to install with companies also offering 24x7 support to answer any questions you may have.
- Change up defaults. When setting up your internet router and IoT devices in your home (Hi there, Alexis), be sure to change the credentials from the original defaults.
- Don’t accept privacy policies without understanding them. Keep browser and application privacy settings on. When installing a new application or accepting cookies on a website, be sure to understand the data that is being collected before proceeding. In today’s world, we frequently exchange personal data for convenience, but you can keep better control of your information by paying attention to privacy notices.
Protecting your family’s online presence is a constant challenge, but one that can be tackled by increasing the overall cybersecurity awareness of each family member and leveraging the tools and resources available to you. We hope these tips help you engage online safely and with confidence.