These days, the internet is ubiquitous.
It connects to everything, from your television to your speakers….
Even your kettle, coffee maker, and microwave seem to be online. So, in an age where your home is effectively an extension of the digital world:
— How do you keep your family safe from the dangers lurking online?
The fact is, while many households consider connected devices as a welcome addition, cybercriminals see a much darker truth: any internet-enabled product could be the perfect gateway into your life.
Connected devices store lots of personal information. They know your family routine, so they can be the hackers’ delight — if only the cybercriminal can gain access. However.
You can take a few simple measures to help keep your family safe online.
Just follow the five steps we outline below.
Get Smart With Password Management
Passwords are the bain of the modern world.
Every other second, a pop-up requests that you update your password, “it’s been over 90 days since you last changed it.”
Exasperated, you key in the same few letters and numbers you’ve used across countless other accounts. You don’t have the headspace to store another ‘unique’ code. This password will have to do.
The thing is, data breaches are now commonplace. And the average American has had, on average, 116 personal accounts hacked since 2010.
So, if you use the same password across multiple sites, some hacker, somewhere, will likely know that password. And they’re just waiting to sell (or has already sold) that high-value tidbit of information to the highest bidder. Therefore, it’s not only crucial you pick unique passwords for any new device you connect to your home; when the device asks you to change a credential, it’s for a good reason.
Make the change. Pick a password you’ve never used before.
And if you’re worried you can’t remember an endless list of logins, download a password manager to remember them for you. Password managers:
- Store credentials across devices
- Auto-input usernames and passwords
- Come up with strong suggestions on your behalf
If you haven’t downloaded one yet, do so now: password managers are a godsend in this password-riddled age.
Secure ALL The Family’s Smart Devices
Laptops aren’t your only cybersecurity risk.
Smartphones, games consoles, even basic toys for toddlers can be a concern if connected to your home network.
The ‘Internet of Things’ (where everything is internet-enabled) has led to a surge in cyberattacks on connected devices. In 2019, researchers recorded a 300% rise in targeted activity: with the total number of identified cyberattacks close to 3 billion unique events.
As more connected devices enter our homes, the trend will only continue. So, is there anything you can do to protect your family? First up, install paid-for antivirus software.
Then, update the software regularly to ensure you plug any potential weaknesses.
Guard All Personal Details
The year is 2020.
And the black market for personal information is as vibrant as ever.
Cybercriminals are working hard to steal whatever they can, knowing the bounties for usernames and passwords are skyrocketing. Worse, anytime you use a connected device or log in to a new online service, you only add to your digital footprint — meaning every Alexa command only increases the value of the information stored against your digital profile.
Moreover, online services will often store your login credentials, home address, payment information, browsing history, shopping history, IP address, you name it.
You can imagine what such a wealth of personal information is worth. Equally, you can appreciate the risks of an unauthorized third party gaining access to such sensitive information.
As such, you need to take every step possible to keep your family secure when online:
- If you notice strange email activity, update your login credentials immediately (it’s likely a data breach has compromised your information.)
- If you and your family shop online, only use recognized brand URLs (discount websites often scam users into sharing payment information.)
- If you hear your children talking of deals for games consoles on social media, beware (cybercriminals love seasonal phishing scams as a way to steal payment information.)
And if you’re worried about family members using less trustworthy websites, consider a VPN (Virtual Private Network) as an added security layer to protect your personal data.
Chat To Kids To Keep Them Safe
We all put ourselves at risk when we use a connected device. The thing is…
While most of us appreciate the dangers of the internet (and understand how to avoid them), younger users can stumble innocently into a trap.
Moreover, researchers suggest that children are at even greater risk online if they feel they can’t talk through what they don’t understand. How can you act on this information?
Chat about online dangers with your children. And keep the dialogue open around what everyone’s doing online. That way, if one of your offspring is on the receiving end of an inappropriate comment, or if they run into trouble when buying a product, they’re more likely to talk the issue through with you.
And while it can be hard to set concrete rules with device usage, you should try to establish boundaries around when your kids go online, what they post and share on social media, and who has the final say on any Alexa purchase.
Spend More Time With The Family
What’s the quickest route to online safety? We suggest it’s…
…to stay offline.
Your family will often follow your example. So, if you’re on your phone at the kitchen table, others likely will be too. On the other hand, if you can step back from technology (and use smart devices as a way to disconnect from your phone and reconnect around family dinner), then everyone will reap the rewards.
And your entire family will be all the safer for it.
If managing home technology is hard, then managing enterprise technology can feel near-impossible. Make your life easy with Managed IT Services, and let us worry about technology so that you can focus on your business.
Give Mid-Coast Tech a call today on 207-223-7594.