The pandemic has caused at-home internet usage to increase by a whopping seventy percent. Because everyone in your family is spending so much time online, it’s important for them to understand how to protect themselves so their data isn’t compromised by hackers. Whether you have EarthLink, Verizon, AT&T, Frontier, or any other provider, here are ten online security tips that can help keep you and your kids safe on the internet.
Create strong passwords
If you use weak passwords like your favorite color or dog’s name, hackers may be able to guess it using automated software and gain access to your accounts. To keep your accounts secure, make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long and contain a mixture of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
Back up your data
If your computer gets damaged, stolen, or targeted by hackers, you could lose access to all of your files. That’s why it’s important to back up your family’s data to the Cloud or an external drive on a regular basis.
Keep your computer up-to-date
If your computer and apps are functioning well, it may not seem necessary to install new updates. But they usually contain important security patches that will prevent hackers from compromising your system and gaining access to your data, so make sure you download them as soon as they become available.
Beware of phishing scams
Scammers are using more sophisticated methods to trick people into giving up their personal information. They may download a keylogger onto your computer when you click on a compromised link, or email you pretending to be Netflix and ask you to update your payment method so they can steal your credit card information.
Learn to recognize the signs of common phishing scams and avoid clicking on links in emails and social media messages unless you’re sure they’re legitimate. If you’re suspicious of a link, run it through a link checking tool like Google Safe Browsing to make sure it’s safe before you click it and teach your kids to do the same.
Teach your kids not to share personal info
To keep your kids safe online, make sure they know not to give out personal information like their home address, phone number, and account passwords to their Internet friends. It’s also a good idea to use parental control software to monitor and limit their online activity. Parental controls can prevent your kids from divulging personal info to strangers by blocking outgoing content like emails and chat messages.
Use antivirus software
Antivirus software can help detect and remove malware, spyware, and other viruses from your computer so they don’t continue to wreak havoc. It can also warn you about suspicious websites and links to make your browsing experience safer and prevent you from downloading malicious software.
Be careful when using public WiFi
Sometimes hackers set up hotspots in public places with names like “guest WiFi” to trick you into connecting to it. From there, they can intercept your data and even infect your device with malware. If you’re using WiFi at a local business, make sure you ask an employee what the network is called so you don’t compromise your device by joining the wrong one. Remember to inform your kids about the risks of public WiFi too.
Only make purchases from secure sites
When you’re shopping online, it’s important to shop on secure websites so your credit card details are encrypted and protected from hackers. You can identify secure websites that are safe to purchase from by looking for “https” in the URL and a padlock icon next to the address bar.
Change your router’s password
Most routers come with default passwords set by the manufacturer that are easy for hackers to guess. To keep your network secure, change the password to something stronger and enable your router’s firewall to prevent malicious intrusions.
Enable privacy settings
Hackers may be able to learn enough about you by browsing your social media profiles to guess your security questions or passwords. That’s why it’s a good idea to enable privacy settings on your web browser and social media accounts to limit what strangers can see and prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Remember to adjust the privacy settings on your children’s social media accounts as well.
Cybercrime has surged due to the pandemic. But if you teach your kids internet safety and take steps to protect your family from hackers, you may be able to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.