How safe is your home? You probably have robust locks, and all precious items are stowed away somewhere safe from prying eyes and itchy fingers. The irony in this century is that you can have the most robust physical security and be unsafe.
Many threats are online. Just as you take steps to physically secure the house, do what it takes to protect your family as they use the internet. Taking a proactive strategy can save money and prevent heartaches. Online safety involves two approaches:
- Safe user behaviors– This includes actions that will help each member of the family know how to behave online. Behaviors can also be controlled using security measures like passwords and software that restrict access to dangerous sites.
- Securing gadgets– This involves equipping all computers, tablets, and phones with software that protect them from being compromised online.
Easy, right? Well, here is an in-depth look at the above strategies:
1. Safe user behaviors
Every member of the family needs to know how to navigate the internet without falling prey to cyber-criminals who include bullies, hackers and confidence tricksters.
Children also need to keep away from adult content. You can influence and even control user behaviors by educating, restricting, and planning.
This is probably the most powerful tool in setting proper online behavior. Let every member of the family know the risks that they face when they go online.
When educating cover, the following elements:
- Explain types of online dangers and their consequences
- Show signs of danger like slowing gadgets, fishy conversations, and unhealthy content
- Instruct family members on what to do if they meet suspicious or risky items online
Show how each action can have undesirable consequences so that the kids, teens, and adults know why they need to practice safe behaviors online.
Another vital piece of information to share involves setting passwords. Each family member needs to set passwords that are hard to guess. All passwords should also be unique.
It is also essential to make sure that each family member locks their devices when not in use to prevent private information from falling into the wrong hands in case of theft.
Once everyone is aware of the dangers, set rules for internet usage in the house. Some rules that may apply to children include:
No unsupervised browsing. For this to work, set their devices to forget Wi-Fi passwords so that they can only go online only when an adult is in the house. This might work for younger children.
Maintain access to children’s phones and tablets to track their use. You can download apps that give you access and track use of their gadgets. Check the gadgets from time to time for any signs of danger like suspicious messages and files.
Prohibiting children from visiting risky sites. The instruction might not always work so you can consider installing apps that block access to certain types of sites.
Another way to control online behavior is to keep computers in shared spaces like living rooms. Reducing privacy can restrict dangerous online behavior and improve compliance with safety guidelines.
2. Secure gadgets
Gadgets are still vulnerable to determined attackers when you or any member of the family is online even if everyone practices responsible online behaviors. The following steps will make it harder for malicious people and software to get into gadgets in the home:
- Use secure routers- Routers are the weak link in many homes, especially with the internet of things becoming widespread. Use routers that come with security features and this will help prevent many risks.
- Install anti-malware- This is an essential step for home security. Malware poses significant threats because they can perform a host of destructive functions stealthily.
- Update software and operating system- Many take a pedestrian approach to updating gadgets operating systems, but it is absolutely essential to update them. Many updates offer patches to bugs and vulnerabilities that companies find in their products.
– Run security audits
It is easy to notice a creaky door or a broken lock, but the signs of online vulnerabilities are not that obvious unless you look for them. Stealthy malware like rootkit can hide in the system and never show signs, so one way to run audits is to scan using powerful rootkit removers.
Apart from regular scanning using anti malware, also use the naked eye. Occasionally go through the children’s social media accounts and messages to ensure they are not being bullied or influenced negatively.
Everyone in the family has a role to play in the overall security in the home. As the decision maker, know each member’s behaviors, strong points, and weak points. Then tweak the strategy to compensate for any weaknesses by increasing supervision, educating or reinforcing gadget protection.
You can also set ground rules that are easy to follow by making them simple and well-reasoned. Too many restrictions can breed rebellion; the safest route is to educate a lot so that everyone knows their responsibility. Be safe.