6 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Cyber Security
It is easy to fall into bad habits or ignore cyber security at home. With a wide range of personal, financial and medical information stored online, taking time to strengthen your family’s online security could save you time, money and aggravation. This article includes basic tips that will provide peace of mind and help reduce risk.
- Protect Your Network – Failing to protect your home wireless network is like leaving your door wide open. Password protecting your network is a good place to start, but there are other steps you must take to truly protect your network. You should also change your security defaults and set up a firewall. Click here to learn more about how to secure your home network.
- Protect Your Computer – Utilize antivirus software to protect your computer from viruses, malware and spyware. Update your antivirus software, operating system and other applications often. Software updates include important security patches that protect your computer from known flaws and threats. Be cautious when downloading email attachments. Many spam or fraudulent email attachments contain malicious software. You should also fully shutdown your computer when not in use for extended periods.
- Protect Your Cellphone – Current smartphones are more powerful than many home computers were ten years ago. It is important to take similar precautions to protect your cellphone and your private data. This includes locking your phone when not in use, as well as using strong passwords and encryption.
- Protect Your Children – Child predators and scammers target children on social networks, gaming sites, message boards and via email. It is important to begin teaching children about online safety early but you should also keep an open dialogue with older children and teens. The National Children’s Advocacy Center offers helpful tips on teaching your children about online safety.
- Disable GPS Tagging - Most smart phones and many newer digital cameras use GPS to tag your pictures with the exact location where they were taken. When shared publicly, this information can be used by predators to locate your child within a few feet. An album full of tagged pictures can provide a map of locations where your child might be vulnerable. The best way to avoid this danger is to disable GPS tagging on your smart phone or camera. Check your settings or contact your cell phone provider for assistance if you are unsure how to do so.
- Protect Your Wallet – Each year hundreds of thousands of people fall victim to online scams. Familiarizing yourself with common schemes will help protect you and your family. The best rule of thumb to follow is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. You can read more about online scams at OnGuardOnline.gov.