During the fall season, many people like to settle into the cooler weather by getting into the Halloween spirit. This may mean watching scary movies, going to haunted houses and hayrides, or dressing up in spooky costumes. But there is something else lurking all year ‘round that may scare you: cybersecurity. We’ve all read horror stories of people losing information, devices or, even their identities. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s a good time to remember that there are many things we can do to protect ourselves and belay those fears. This month serves as a reminder that there are ways to stay safe and private when working online.
Here are a few tips for promoting a safe online environment for your family:
1. Be aware of how you get online
You need to be able to trust the network that you use to access online resources. At home, we know what is on our network, but do you know who else is using the local wifi at the corner coffee shop? Make sure you only use verified access points or use a VPN to help keep your traffic secure. If you are unsure about the security of the wifi, try to limit internet activity to basic use. Do not make any transactions or share sensitive information. For a more details, take a look here.
2. Use proper passwords
We know it gets annoying to have different passwords with all the numbers and special characters for every account. The primary reason for different passwords is to limit access in the event your account is compromised. Using the same password across accounts increases the potential that if any of your accounts are compromised, they all are. There are many resources out there to help you remember — and manage — multiple password configurations. I recommend Lastpass.
3. Practice safe social media
The internet is forever. Be careful about what you share, and know who is watching. Know how to limit the scope of your social media posts, and don’t overshare. Common Sense Media has great guidelines located here.
4. Make your home a digital safe haven
Make a central charging location for all devices. Keep computing efforts in common areas of the house so that you can keep an eye on your family members while surfing the web, and whether they are working on homework or playing games. Perform random checks on your devices to make sure they are all being used appropriately. We all need boundaries and need to remember that there is a world out there to be explored without a device.