We all love the Internet. We use it almost every day. But because we rely on the internet so heavily for school and professional work, we often fall victim to online threats unwittingly. Ensuring you and your children are up-to-date on best practices for web safety is imperative to the overall security of your family. Read on for just a few simple ways to help keep yourself - and your children - from getting in trouble while browsing online.
Sacrificing Security for Convenience
For starters, most of the threats to be found online are of the sort that can be avoided somewhat easily by developing responsible habits. Unfortunately, it is much easier to develop bad habits, which only opens you up to increased threats.
For example, passwords. While it may be a pain to remember more than one password, it is even more of a pain to find yourself locked out of all of your accounts if your single password is discovered by a cybercriminal or leaked. Each of your accounts should have its own unique password, preferably composed of a random string of numbers, letters and symbols.
If you anticipate that you will have trouble remembering your passwords, resist the urge to write them down. Instead, use a password manager program, which allows you to securely save your passwords for various sites and services, protected by a single master password.
Of course, there are other considerations to make to truly be secure when on the Internet in addition to good password practices.
One of the easiest ways to boost your online security is to make sure that you’re using the most up-to-date tools and programs, including your web browser. The relationship between the programs you rely on and the threats that target you means that the two are effectively locked in an arms race over your security. As threats improve and find new vulnerabilities, software companies have to shore up their defenses and eliminate these vulnerabilities by offering periodic updates.
This means that you need to be diligent about updating your software promptly, so that these improvements can be put into effect and protect your system.
Look for the Lock
Whenever submitting sensitive information to the web, such as your credit card number when shopping online, check for the lock in your browser address bar. This will show up to the left of the URL. The lock means that your connection is encrypted, so the data you send to Amazon can only be understood by Amazon, and not someone sneaking around in between you and the store. This applies to any site where you enter in secure information, so be mindful that the lock is there before you share anything personal.
Of course, this is a very shallow dive into how to surf the web more securely. In fact, this is barely dipping a toe into the water.
Marc Buonocore is president of Eclipse Integrated Systems Inc., based in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Marc and his team at Eclipse have been providing consulting services and technology solutions for Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child for more than eight years. Visit www.eisystems.com to learn more.