4 ways to protect your family’s privacy online
In the modern day of cyber attacks and data breaches, it can be difficult for any one of us to maintain privacy online. Our most sensitive information ranging from family photos to intimate finance details are flowing onto the internet, and hackers and schemes are more sophisticated than ever.
As if we don’t have enough to worry about with internet safety, you may have a family that needs increased attention when it comes to their internet habits. Younger or inexperienced internet users in your family may pose an increased risk as they are likely to be unaware of the cybersecurity dangers that are prevalent across the web.
Consider these four tips for protecting your family from cyber threats
#1 Avoid public WiFi
When traveling, it’s likely you’ll come across public WiFi networks. And, it’s also likely that you or your family connect to the free WiFi without giving it a second thought. Even when the location itself seems trustworthy (like an airport or city center) the connection may not be. The biggest threats of public WiFi include:
- The ability for hackers to position themselves between you and the connection point.
- If a hacker discovers your device, they also have access to every piece of information you send out—emails, phone numbers, credit card information, business data to name a few.
If possible, use hotspots, cell phone data, and secure networks that you trust when you’re out and about. At the very least, be sure to enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option on websites that you visit, especially any site that requires you to enter any type of credentials.
#2 Inform your family about phishing scams
Phishing schemes are fraudulent attempts by hackers to obtain personal information for malicious reasons. Phishing schemes are conducted via electronic communication (like emails) when hackers disguise themselves as a trustworthy entity like a cable provider, credit card company, bank or otherwise so that you’re more likely to divulge information.
Common types of information requested in phishing emails include:
- Social Security Number
- Credit card details
And, phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated every day. The best rule of thumb is to never send sensitive information. If you believe one of your providers is requesting personal information, it’s usually best to call them on the phone.
If someone in your family is new to email, it’s very likely they aren’t aware of the scams that occur each and every day. What may seem like an official or legitimate email may end up harming the less aware internet user. By informing your family of the risks of phishing schemes, you can help protect them from bad actors.
#3 Invest in a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN), is a network that allows you to communicate over a public, unsecured, unencrypted network in a private way. Most VPN tools have specific versions of encryption to secure your data. That means, your sensitive information would be unusable to hackers even if they were able to penetrate your system.
VPNs are great to ensure privacy for your connection whether you’re traveling or at home. This includes avoiding any potential snooping from your Internet Service Provider. There have been reports of internet providers tracking users and selling their data for profit.
#4 Password security is your first line of defense
Complex passwords, which require a mix of special characters, symbols and letters are exponentially more difficult to crack. By practicing smart password creation habits, you are protecting yourself and your family from falling victim of cybercrime.
If developing strong passwords gives you a headache, look for a system to help.
Software like EZPD generates complex passwords, up to 96 characters long, to help protect your most valuable data. Each time you enter your password into an account, you can delete all traces of EZPD and your password from your computer. When you need access to your locked accounts, EZPD allows you to easily regenerate the same password when you need it. Passwords are never stored on a PC or cloud, which makes them virtually invisible and impossible to be compromised.