No matter how much time you (or your family) spends online, you’re never “too experienced” or “too tech savvy” to have a security refresher course now and then. As a matter of fact, the more time your crew spends online the more important safety checklists and reminders become.
It is important to think of online safety the same as you would personal safety. If you were going out for a gallon of milk, would you go someplace you were familiar with in a neighborhood you feel comfortable in?
Or, think of your kids – the older they get the more serious the consequences of their actions, so naturally you repeat your messages of caution in the hopes that when faced with a situation they will make the right choice when you are not around.
Yet when most of us hop online, a lot of that thinking goes out the window. We click on random links, we hop onto unsecured networks and we take a lot of things at face value.
Cybersecurity risks by the numbers
The reality of cybersecurity paints a very different picture. According to the Clark School at the University of Maryland, more than 2,244 attacks happen every single day, or nearly 1 every 39 seconds. Arkose Labs estimated there had been around 445 million cyberattacks in 2020 globally, double that of the whole of 2019 – and that was just through July. And, believe it or not, 2021’s numbers were far and above 2020’s as of October.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that those numbers weigh heavily toward commercial users and big companies and you’d be right. But considering how much personal information you have stored online via online shopping or banking, their problems are your problems. Not to mention the staggering percentage of kids, including yours, who are online every single day.
According to one study, 53 percent of kids have their own smartphone by the time they are 11, and 69 percent have one at age 12. The number of 8-year-olds with phones grew to 19 percent in 2019 from 11 percent just four years earlier. And if you think kids are any more security minded than they ever were, you’re just not paying attention.
Protect You and Your Family With Our Cybersecurity Checklist
So, what’s an average parent to do? Make cybersecurity as important and frequent a topic as preaching stranger danger, underage drinking or distracted driving. Don’t know where to start? How about with the thousands of internet security checklists online, such as the one below.
- When shopping for an internet service provider, ask questions about the level of security backing up the service. For instance, Kinetic Secure Packs provide Identity Theft Protection, Device Management, content filtering and more to provide families with peace of mind.
- Create a strong password. By now, we should all be familiar with the guidelines for having a strong password: make it a phrase with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts. If a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, he or she could then try your login information on your other online accounts.
- Be smart about what you share. Your Facebook friends don’t need to know when you’re out on vacation for five days. Nor do they need to see images of your naked baby in a tub. Remember that a digital life could last longer than you think.
- Talk about online strangers and the risk that exists with communicating online with someone they don’t know.
- Share an email account to provide visibility into your child's communication, while still granting them the necessary access for their digital use.
- Stay on top of digital trends to spot risks.
- Keep the computer in a central, visible location in the home. Do the same with a central charging station. Collect devices at night.
- Monitor online activity to see how long and where your kids spend their time online.
If You Connect It, Protect It
It doesn’t matter if you’re at home or in an office or on the go, if the device you’re using is connected to the internet, there is the potential for a bad actor to gain access to private information.
It’s important to understand the devices you’re using and how they are connected. Avoid using free or open Wi-Fi networks. These are much more easily exploited than secured networks. Implement multifactor authentication to secure your information. Consider products that monitor and protect your devices, like Kinetic Secure.