How to Stay Safe Online: A Guide For Everyone Who Uses The Internet:
- January 26, 2022
- Posted by: vdtcomms
- Category: blog, Events, Information Technology, News, VDT
This guide covers a variety of cybersecurity topics, including some things most people don’t think about when considering online safety. From tips for creating a strong password to advice about protecting your identity while on vacation, we’re sharing everything the average internet user needs to know to stay safe online.
Cybersecurity & Online Safety Buzzwords To Know
When it comes to learning about cybersecurity and internet safety, it can feel like wading through a lot of technical jargon. There are many helpful cybersecurity terms to know, but we’re sharing just a few of the most common online safety buzzwords:
- Data Breach A data breach is any incident that results in confidential data or personal information being shared, stolen or otherwise transmitted. Scammers and hackers often target businesses like banks and major retailers in order to access personal financial information, but data breaches can occur anywhere. For more information about responding to data breaches, check out these resources.
- Malware Malware is any malicious software intended to disable or infect a device’s functionality. Some malware allows a hacker to control a device remotely. Users can avoid malware by using antivirus software and following technology best practices.
- Back-ups Backing up data means saving a copy of the data on a separate storage device, like an external hard drive. Many people also use cloud storage to keep back-ups online.
- Cloud Storage The “cloud” is just a way to talk about online networks and storage. Cloud storage is distinct from local storage, which includes your computer’s hard drive. When you save something to the cloud, it is simply stored on one of many remote servers located throughout the world.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Modern life is fundamentally intertwined with the internet. Nearly every daily task now has the opportunity for online integration, and most everyone owns multiple devices, including laptops, phones, tablets, smart watches, smart TVs and more. The more accounts and devices you have online, the greater the potential is for criminals to access your personal information and take advantage of you.
Online safety is important no matter your age or life stage, but there are particular concerns for certain vulnerable groups like children, teenagers and senior citizens.
Internet Safety For Kids
Parents, this section is for you. If you have children of any age, you need a strategy for how to keep your kids safe online. The internet can be a great tool for learning and entertainment, but children should only look at age-appropriate images, videos and information.
Parental controls and content filters are a great place to start. Search engines have “safe search” features for filtering objectionable content, and there are even special search engines for kids. Cell phones also have parental control options and apps to help parents keep kids safe while online. Unfortunately, some hackers and online predators find ways to bypass filters and censorship efforts.
Some content that appears to be designed for children may have hidden disturbing violent or sexual content. When in doubt, be cautious. Watch videos before children are allowed to watch them, and be wary of games with built-in chat functions. Encourage your children to avoid talking to strangers online, and make sure they’re aware of online dangers. There’s no need to be paranoid, just take basic safety precautions, monitor your children’s internet usage and talk to them about how to stay safe online.
Internet Safety For Teens
As kids grow up, they will use the internet without direct supervision. We encourage parents to continue having conversations about cybersecurity and online safety in order to ensure teenagers are creating healthy internet habits. Here are some quick internet safety tips for teens:
- Limit Technology Use Use an app like Apple’s Screen Time to monitor and restrict phone, tablet and computer use. Similar apps exist for Android phones and other devices.
- Keep Devices Out of Bedrooms If computers, phones and tablets are allowed only in common areas in the house, it’s easier to monitor usage. You could implement a rule that all family members — including parents — charge their devices in the kitchen or living room overnight. It would benefit you, too! Studies have shown that limiting screen usage before bed increases sleep quality.
- Talk About the Internet Teenagers should feel comfortable going to their parents or guardians with concerns about things they see online. Try to be open with your kids about the dangers of the internet, and let them know you’re there to help and protect them.
- Prepare Them For the Future As youngsters, children depend on their parents and guardians to provide protection and advice, but parents should also prepare their children for independence. Talk to children about things like responsible banking, password safety and data protection.
Teenagers and young adults may be more susceptible to certain types of online scams, like student loan forgiveness scams. Protecting kids online starts with teaching foundational internet safety tips at a young age.
How to Protect Seniors Online
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to online scams and hoaxes. Scammers take advantage of seniors because many seniors have a lifetime’s worth of savings, home equity and other valuable assets. Studies have shown that older citizens are less likely to report fraud because they may not know how to report a scam or they may be ashamed about being the victim of a scam. In order to prevent scams against the elderly, we want to make sure seniors — and their loved ones and caregivers — are aware of common cybersecurity best practices and tips for staying safe online.
Some seniors become victims of elder financial abuse, which occurs when an individual misuses their privileged access to an older person’s financial information. Instead of helping them manage their money and make wise decisions, the financial abuser will perhaps steal money and use it for their own gain.
Some scammers also manipulate seniors with family emergency scams. In a family emergency scam, an imposter chooses a victim and contacts them, claiming to be their grandchild or other loved one. These scammers usually say they’re in trouble — in jail, in the hospital, in a foreign country — and they need money right away. These imposters may be very convincing, using personal family information to fool their victims.