The Internet is arguably the greatest invention of humanity in history, but like most things we’ve come up with, this is not all good news. While the world has improved in many ways thanks to the web, it can be a pretty dangerous place for the uninitiated.
As our social and professional life becomes more digitalized, the average person needs to constantly learn new skills. If you’re a parent, your kids are growing up in an online world that simply didn’t exist when you were their age.
So how do you prepare them to be safe from the inevitable use of technology? Here are five ways to improve your family’s cybersecurity.
Talk to your family
Talk to your family
The weakest link in any cybersecurity system is always the human factor. Hackers call methods aimed at people “social engineering” and it is an extension of a wide range of trust tricks that criminals use to persecute innocent people.
You cannot buy a single software or hardware tool that would compensate by tricking someone in your family to open the door to cybercriminals. So, the best strategy is to make sure your kids and your significant other, and everyone else who lives with you, is aware of the most common attacks. Email phishing, cat phishing, and malicious attachments are just three examples.
Take time to sit down and clearly explain these threats to your loved ones. Make sure they understand the risks and consequences. If someone in your family cannot understand these threats or apply the correct measures to address them, it is too early for them to use their home Internet connection unattended.
The most important thing is to instill the rule of “see something, say something” In other words, if something seems wrong or strange, that person should tell you about it.
Securing your local environment
Securing the local environment
Not every technology or network threat comes from the Internet. There are also ways to hack your local network. For example, pairing is the process of connecting to someone else’s Wi-Fi without their knowledge. Usually in order to use their internet connection, but this is worse than just getting bandwidth from a stranger.
As soon as an unknown person connects to your local network, he will be able to access any devices on that network. Especially if they are not configured correctly. The next step could be to steal files from local drives or network storage. Malicious programs such as keystroke recorders can also be installed by attackers on your network.
So make sure your router is configured for the highest Wi-Fi security standard supported. In the meantime, make sure your WiFi dongle is a strong dongle and not something like myWiFi123. The same goes for the administrator password to access your router’s settings. Don’t leave the default password!
You may want to whitelist only certain devices so that even if an unauthorized device is connected, it won’t gain access to anything.
Setting up a guest network
Set up a guest network
What about people who visit your home and need internet access but are not in your trusted circle? Many routers these days offer the option of creating a guest network
This is a second Wi-Fi hotspot that provides direct access to the Internet, but cuts off that user from the rest of the local network. This is a Wi-Fi connection for use by visitors, if at all possible.
Set up all your mobile devices correctly
Correctly configure all of your mobile devices
Our smartphones and tablets are beautiful cars, and it is unthinkable that any of our children or independent family members would leave home without them. However, they can have a large security vulnerability.
Make sure everyone on smart devices has password enabled and full disk encryption enabled. Otherwise, anyone who steals or temporarily seizes this device may gain access to information that they can use to harm you in some way.
Use content limiting tools
Use content restriction tools
Do you know which sites your family members visit? Would you invade their privacy if you tracked their activities? This is a tricky question, but there is no question that much of the content on the Internet is simply not suitable for kids or teens.
In the past, tech-savvy families could have a home proxy server that logs every site visited and blocks blacklisted sites. Fortunately, this no longer needs to be done thanks to customizable DNS services for safe browsing.
DNS is short for Domain Name Servers and is essentially the phone book for the Internet. When you enter an internet address into your browser, it sends a query to the DNS registered on your router. DNS takes this address and then looks up the exact numeric Internet Protocol address. This is the actual physical network address of the web server that hosts the site you want to visit.
Your ISP has a DNS that is automatically configured, but you can log into your router and manually change the DNS it should use. You can pay for a custom subscription-based DNS service that automatically blocks web content that you don’t want your family members to access. Depending on the specific service, you can block entire classes of sites and also block a custom list of sites separately.
Some ISPs also offer this service as part of your existing subscription, so it’s worth checking if this is the case before paying any extra money.
Streetwise for the 21st century
Street Wise for the Twenty-First Century
Before the internet, kids were given advice on how to avoid taking candy from strangers and taking trips from people they don’t trust. Strangers now have direct access to the home, as well as scammers and adult content providers.
Family members of all ages must learn to navigate the streets, as is the case in the 21st century and the 4th industrial revolution. It shouldn’t be hard, but it needs to be done.