Technology and the internet is such a major part of our lives. It’s an incredible resource that has made so much knowledge readily available and makes communication easier. There is an endless amount you can streamline and accomplish thanks to technology, but there are risks as well. It’s important to educate yourself and your family on the ways to stay as safe as possible online.
Change your passwords
Far too many people make the mistake of using the same password for every account and never changing it. Many people choose to use a combination of names or important dates as their passwords. Too often, these passwords are simple to figure out for hackers because this information is actually usually readily available. Consider using an online password generator to create a completely random password and then update it every few months. Get a notebook where you can physically write down all of your passwords in case you forget them.
Avoid talking to strangers
This rule is important to follow for yourself and your children. If someone contacts you claiming to represent a company you’re affiliated with, such as a bank or your insurance, do not give them any of your personal information or send money unless it’s in the way you typically do for your institution. Never give an individual person your personal details. Make sure your children understand this rule as well and know to never tell strangers where they live or agree to meet them in person.
Do not share personal information
Like I mentioned above, avoid ever giving personal information to another person. However, it’s also important to not share personal information in any other form. Avoid creating a document that has all of your passwords and account numbers on it; these can actually be fairly easily hacked. It’s also important to not share personal information such as your pets’ names, your birthdate, the birthdates of your family, your address, or other information that could be used to scam you or hack into your accounts.
Make sure a site is secure
If you get an email that says you need to change your password or provide login information by following a link, do not use the link unless it leads to a secure website that is clearly the one you usually use for your bank or whatever other account it’s linking to. People often try to scam others’ personal information by creating fake pages that look similar to an official site and then steal login information.
Use a safe network
When you log onto your accounts, make sure you’re using a safe and secure network. For your home WiFi, regularly change your password and make sure it’s a quality network. Outside of your home, avoid logging into secure accounts on public WiFi. If you do log into an account on a publicly used computer, use an incognito window or VPN and make sure you sign out and none of your information is saved.