Despite the fact that most Americans feel they are more vulnerable to cyber attack and 64% have been a victim to some form of cyber crime or fraud, according to Pew Research Center, most Americans still fail to use good cyber health practices in their own lives.
Sharing passwords with others and not locking your smartphone, not installing updates to apps or software, and using public Wi-Fi are all dangerous to your digital health and personal wellbeing — yet many people continue to do those things.
It goes without saying: use strong passwords, enable privacy settings, limit the information you share on social networks, limit or avoid public Wi-Fi all together, and don’t click on links you don’t know.
But what are some tools you might use or share with loved ones to help them learn more about digital safety?
Think an email link looks suspicious? There’s a Twitter bot that can tell you if it’s phishing. Claudio Guarnieri created a bot that can determine the likeliness of a page being legitimate. It’s easy to use and can keep you safe. All users need to do is tweet to @isthisphish, “and it will analyze the URL, provide an assessment, and even reply with a screenshot too.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a database of best online security practices including how to dispose of old computer and mobile devices (spoiler alert: it involves cleaning your hard drive and recycling it in some form), how to use IP cameras safely, what you need to know about apps that help you shop in stores, what to do about phishing messages and other scams, as well as an extensive list of other crucial security issues that face us in our daily lives without our always realizing it.
When trying to explain cybersecurity to someone that’s having a challenge understanding (children, elderly parents, your boss…?). Nova has a simplified explanation on video that can easily be shared with them. In addition to the video being a handy explanation of the internet and its risks, it also introduces NovaLabs which has turned cyber security into a game. The format of the game has players complete tasks such as password cracking challenges, coding challenges, social engineering challenges, and complete quizzes about videos and cyber stories from real world attacks. It’s a great way to help kids learn how and why to practice better cyber safety.
ConnectSafely in conjunction with Stop Think Connect offers a handy pdf for parents that covers the Top 5 questions they have, important points to review, and topics specific to kids.
Comparitech is a site with good reviews across various tech related topics where consumer products are reviewed and compared. From considering internet providers, reading about common online scams, learning how to recover lost photos on your phone, or finding out if VPNs keep logs (spoiler alert: they do) and more, you’ll find it there.
With 21% of students ages 12-18 reporting having experienced bullying and in 2017, “14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied,” StopBullying has a series of helpful articles on bullying and cyberbullying — what is cyberbullying, what tactics are used, how to prevent it, things for parents to be aware of, and how to report it when it happens.
The internet is an amazing tool, but learning how to use that tool and keeping our data and our loved ones safe is important. These links can help. Though cyber attacks are only increasing in both frequency and skill, the more we learn and educate those we love, the less vulnerable we become.