Be Digital Wise
Tips for Digital Security & Privacy
September can be hectic. Your day-to-day can change with back-to-school routines, and even your work routine can morph as people are back from summer vacations, projects pick up, etc.
This is a great time to revisit your digital security and privacy. Keeping the family safe in a digital world is important. In this issue of balance we’re sharing part 1 of 2 in our series of being digital wise.
- Protect your family’s devices that have access to the internet: use anti-virus, anti spyware, & firewall security solutions. a. Pro tip: Back up your data regularly. These days ample storage is available in the cloud at very reasonable prices — check out Apple or Google as a starter.
- Routinely update software, operating systems and browsers when prompted.
- Use strong passwords and change them periodically — this
is really important. Tips for an effective password are:
- Make them at least 8 characters long
- Combine numbers, symbols, upper and lower case
- Don’t use personally identifiable information
- To create memorable yet difficult to guess passwords, use acronyms or the first 3 letters of each word in a phrase
- Scrutinize your email and look for anything that is unfamiliar or suspicious, like attachments and links or requests for personal information. Emails containing typos and grammar errors are also a potential flag to watch out for. If you find a suspicious email, don’t reply, don’t click on any links it contains, and don’t open any attachments.
Social Media Safety
This one isn’t just for your social media accounts, but those of your children — even if your children are older. It is your responsibility to ensure they are being safe.
- Keep an eye on permission & privacy settings:
- a. Permission settings give you control over what can and cannot be accessed and shared about you (and your family). For example, you can control the visibility of your contact lists, photos, profile information, and even geolocation coordinates.
- Actually, you can turn off geotagging in your smartphones. Turn off this feature to enhance your privacy when sharing photos online.
- Create a Google Alert for your name, and your children’s names and receive an email alert when they appear online.
- Exercise some common sense discretion on what you share. Sharing too much information can increase risk. We can all likely hearing the story about the family that went on vacation and returned home to find their home completely empty — those aren’t urban myths.
- Give it some thought before accepting those friend invitations. Only connect online with people who you know face-to-face.
- Exercise wisdom and don’t click on every link or offer you receive — especially when they sound too good to be true.
- Don’t forget to log off from sites, social media accounts, apps or games when they are not in use. Staying logged in can increase vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
- Finally, set a calendar reminder and perform a routine digital household cleaning. Every three to six months is acceptable. Revisit privacy and permission settings, change passwords, review and verify your ‘friends’ lists, and deactivate accounts you no longer use.
Stand against distracted driving
This last tip is particularly important at this time of year when we might be doing a bit more driving with family. Distracted driving is unacceptable. Drive defensively — keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road and cars around you.
- Keep your phone out of sight, out of mind
- Put it on silent mode
- If you have a passenger let them be the co-pilot
- Before you start driving, check your messages & queue up the GPS
- Finally, pull over when it’s safe if you must use your device