Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns, from cyberbullying to social networking and digital identity. To ensure that yourself and your family are safe online, we’ve compiled some worthwhile tips that can help you browse without any worries.
Be careful what you download
Unfortunately, some of the websites we come across in our everyday use of the internet have malicious intent. A malicious website is a site that attempts to install malware on your device, meaning anything that will disrupt computer operation, gather your personal information, or allow unauthorised access to your machine. This usually requires some action on your part, but there are also drive-by downloads, whereby a website will attempt to install software on your computer without asking for permission first. Downloading and running security software can help defend against these threats, but it's also worth knowing how to diagnose if your computer has malware so you can remove it.
Keep your social media accounts secure
Most people these days are on some type of social media network. While social media has its benefits, it can also attract cyber snoops and identity thieves. Keep a close eye on your social accounts and if someone messages you who hasn’t done so in a while, be suspicious as their account may have been hacked. Parents should also remind teens to never meet in person with someone they met online and to tell an adult if a stranger is messaging them.
Be careful what you post
Sometimes it’s hard to know how much information is too much information to share online. For example, a driver’s licence or a travel itinerary shared online could be valuable information for identity thieves or burglars. Also personal or inappropriate photos can attract online predators, or could affect future educational or employment opportunities. It’s important to educate your children on what they should and shouldn’t post about online.
Shop online only from secure sites
Some dodgy websites can be hard to spot and so it’s important to shop safely online by understanding what some indicators of a secure website could be. One of the best indicators is whether a site is running on HTTPS, which means the site has a security certificate that safeguards visitors’ personal information by encrypting their data. You can verify if a site runs on HTTPS by double-checking the beginning of a URL in the address bar and also confirming if there’s a padlock icon next to it.
Watch out for phishing
Anyone can fall victim to a phishing scam, regardless of how smart they may be. Phishing attacks are the practice of sending fraudulent communications usually through email that appear to come from a reliable source. It’s important to look out for the signs so you can teach your children about phishing scams and make sure that they don’t provide any information or click on the links included in the emails. Some examples of signs could be any suspicious attachments, errors in email addresses or links, spelling mistakes and bad grammar, and emails requesting sensitive information like login details.
Choose strong passwords
Passwords are the primary defence against hackers. Yet, many people reuse the same password for multiple accounts and use passwords that are easy to guess because they’re easy to remember. Teach your children to create a hack-proof password by selecting a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and make sure it's at least 12 characters long. Never use common words, phrases, or personal information like a phone number or family members’ names or birthdays.
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Information sourced from: Norton and Safer Internet Day.
Image credit: Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.