Is your kid already a web savvy? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by how many web trends and novelties he’s familiar with? Sure, you must be proud of him, but aren’t you a bit concerned about his internet security? With all the fun “toys” the online environment provides, most kids tend to overlook security measures. But you shouldn’t!
And what about grandma – is she still learning the computer ABC? Enough reason for you to make sure she doesn’t fall victim to online scams.
Every day, web specialists come up with new fun apps, social networks, games and other web tools that make our web experience lighter and more fun. But as they become more and more popular, cybercrooks start exploiting them to make some dirty money. This means, no matter the age or level of tech savviness, web users often become direct or collateral victims in ever-more sophisticated internet security attacks. And the web users could be you and your family members.
So here are some rules you might want to comply with if you want to keep your whole family safe in the digital world:
- 1. Secure your home Wi-Fi network.
Your home Wi-fi allows your kids to access the internet from all over your house, which makes it harder for you to keep an eye on them. If it’s not secured, intruders might use your bandwidth, or worse, compromise your internet security by infecting your PC with malware or sending their malware attacks from your system. So what to do? Make sure your Wi-Fi highly secured: use a strong password for your router (see rule #7); enable wireless encryption to prevent strangers from “seeing” your network and restrict access to it.
- 2. Read online privacy policies carefully.
- 3. Teach your kids and even grandma safe social networking.
First off, if your kid is under 13, don’t let him/her subscribe to social networks, unless they’re for kids. Secondly, teach your family members not to use their full names, birthdays and addresses on their profiles. The less personal info, the better for their internet security. Do not talk about your vacation plans prior to leaving, do not share photos with identifiable details (home street, car licence plate etc.) and do not “check in” to public places. Advise your kids to do the same and talk to them about cyberbullying, predators and stalkers.
- 4. Ensure safe live online gaming for your kids.
Live online games, such as Xbox Live, enable kids or teens to interact with their friends in a fun way, but can also expose them to internet security dangers such as: bullying, harassment, and predators. Make sure your kid doesn’t reveal his identity while playing games – have him use a nickname and an avatar; monitor his play and always check who he’s playing with; turn on the safety measures in the game consoles – use the parental controls they offer.
- 5. Make sure your teenage kid blogs safely.
- 6. Install Parental Control on your family computers, just in case.
It’s always best to foster open communication with kids, trust them and make them trust you. But extra caution doesn’t hurt. Using a Parental Control tool, just as the one in BullGuard Internet Security, you can block access to inappropriate websites and monitor their activity. Remember: it’s not about spying on your kids, it’s about keeping them safe from online dangers!
- 7. Create safe passwords for your accounts.
A weak password can be easily cracked by any hacker who wants to breach your online accounts and steal precious information or your identity. A basic internet security rule is to create a strong unique password for each online account and change it regularly: make it long (at least eight characters), mix letters, numbers and symbols, and opt for security questions (whenever the possibility is provided) to which only you know the answer. Teach your family members to do the same.
- 8. Ensure safe browsing for everyone, even for grandma!
Web browsing is probably the one thing everybody’s good at in the online world. But bear in mind that cybercrooks know and use this fact to their advantage. They can push up fake web addresses in your search results to make you visit their malicious websites and trick you into giving up personal details or downloading spyware and malware. This is why you need to install an effective Safe Browsing tool, as the one included in BullGuard’s internet security suite – it flags out every malicious link in search results and even on Facebook walls; and whenever that happens, it makes a statement! Grandma would surely be pleased with all the prevention details it offers.
- 9. Download and install software from trusted sources only.
Free games, music, movies etc. are up for download all over the internet. They are also very tempting for children. But some of them contain spyware and other types of malware that can compromise your whole family’s internet security. Make a list of trusted downloading sources and have your whole family stick to it. Also, read carefully the licence agreement before installing a new piece of software and make sure your kids ask for your permission before they download or install something.
- 10. Look for https:// in the URLs of the websites you make online transactions from.
“S” in “https” stands for “secure” and should appear in every bank or online shop address. If grandma or any other family member is a keen online shopper, advise them to always look for this internet security sign and shop from trusted sources. If they find a new cool online shop, have them research it. Also, if you/they bank or shop from your home Wi-fi, make sure it’s secured (see rule #1).
- 11. Learn how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
Usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, PINs, full credit card numbers and your birthday are the “commodities” cybercrooks are after. They devise all sorts of scam messages and sent them your way via e-mail, messages, comments and posts on social networks. Be especially wary of alarmist messages and threats of (bank) account closures, requests for charity donations, lottery wins and giveaways. Also look for grammar and spelling mistakes in the messages and links you’d have to click on – if they are poorly written, they are certainly part of an internet security scam (e.g. www.goog.le.com) Teach your family members to do the same.
- 12. Keep all your computer programs up-to-date.
Out-dated software has security holes that can easily be exploited by hackers and viruses. That’s why you have to make sure that all the programs on the devices you and your family go online from are up-to-date. A Vulnerability Scanner, like the one in BullGuard Internet Security, can spot the out-dated software versions and find the needed updates.
- 13. Back up every important file on your computer.
You never know when your computer might break down, whether because of malware attacks or some silly accident. You have to make sure that every vital item on it stays safe and sound. Including your precious family photos of your children growing up, family anniversaries and holidays.
- 14. Have a complete internet security solution installed on your family computers.
In addition to the features mentioned above, BullGuard Internet Security 12 comes with a proactive antivirus engine that spots even the newest forms of malware, thanks to the state-of-the-art technology it uses – Behavioural detection combined with Signature-based detection. It also provides you with 5GB of Online Backup and the possibility to protect 3 computers at the same time.
- 15. Keep yourself informed about internet security threats.
Only knowing the “enemy” you can set up a proper “defence mechanism” suited to your family. You don’t have to become a computer savvy; you just need some basic knowledge about online dangers, so that you can talk with your family and teach them how to defend themselves. In BullGuard’s Internet Security Centre you can find lots of information about the most common and newest threats in the online world, as well as some specific tips and tricks on how to stay safe from each threat.