How often do you think about your online safety? Chances are, you have been sacrificing your personal data for convenience.
One bad choice could compromise the security of your family, friends and even your employer’s network.
He and ITC graduate student, Brayden Shell, share the importance of cybersecurity and how to protect your online privacy as we approach Computer Security Day Nov. 30.
Stop. Think. Act.
Every day, consumers fall victim to phishing scams posed as alarming emails from their bank or law enforcement. They may also react to inflammatory posts on social media before validating the source.
Acting rationally when seeing alarming online content takes work, Guo explains.
“Get into the habit of thinking what is and isn’t normal,” Guo said. “Use the traffic light system: stop, think, then act.”
The system will give consumers time to think through their decisions online. This will not only protect their privacy, but also their reputation.
Guo stresses that consumers must remember that what they do online will impact their real life. It won’t go unnoticed or unchecked.
Start teaching cyber hygiene early
We all need to stay safe online. But one population is especially vulnerable: children.
“It’s so important to build children’s cyber hygiene habits early,” Shell said. “You can teach them internet safety in the same way you teach brushing your teeth. It’s just something you have to do.”
Guo reminds parents to provide their kids with the following guidance:
- Remind them that online strangers are still strangers.
- Supervise young children any time they are online.
- Establish parental controls. There are easy to use apps to help you monitor and control your family’s devices right from your smartphone.
“There are laws in place to protect your children under the age of 13, but these laws are still catching up to the realities of our online world today,” Shell said.
“Good internet habits will help keep them safe as they grow more independent.”
Keeping your information safe
Threats to cybersecurity may seem complex. But keeping your information safe doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming.
You can start taking these precautions today:
- Use two-factor authentication whenever you can.
- Run emergency and system updates as soon as they become available.
- Install apps from trusted sources like the pre-loaded app store on your phone.
- Set up different passwords for all accounts. Password managers can help you with this.
- Be cautious when using public wi-fi. If you must use public wi-fi, avoid accessing your private accounts or use a VPN.
- Isolate your digital life. Set up separate emails for various needs like your banking, professional life and personal interests.
“Adding an extra layer of security like verifying the sender of an email or the legitimacy of a website can prevent a lot of headaches with cybersecurity,” Shell said.
“Cybersecurity is no longer a value add. It’s mission critical.”