October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Our goal during this month is to help our users stay safe online – whether they are at home, at work or on the go. The first week’s theme is dedicated to protecting you and your family’s digital lives.
We know it can feel daunting – but there are a few things you can do now to protect your family online. These steps to protect your desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more are simple and easy for the entire family to adopt. Here are a few ways you can start improving your family’s online safety:
Beware of public WiFi
Public WiFi is available almost everywhere today. Be sure to open only secure web sites with an ‘https’ secured connection. Better yet, consider VPN to block malicious actors from a free ride on an unsecured network. Check out our post with lots of tips to stay safe while surfing in public.
Protect your credit
Credit information is another prime target for hackers. Fortunately, many online credit monitoring companies will help you protect that vital information 24×7. Check them out to find out which is the best fit for you. Here are even more tips to protect your credit cards online.
Protect your accounts with strong passwords
Managing unique passwords for the multitude of sites and accounts we use regularly is nothing short of a headache. Too many of us fall back on risky online behavior – using weak (and easily discoverable) passwords, or reusing the same one over and over.
Start using a password manager
A password manager offers the best level of protection for you and your family – allowing you to create strong, secure passwords and save them to a secure vault. LastPass Families allows you to save and fill all your passwords online but also lets you create shared folders with family members. Create a folder for accounts you want to share with your kids and a folder for sharing with your spouse. This way only the right family members have access to the accounts they need.
Set up a second layer of protection
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) creates a moat surrounding your most data-sensitive accounts, requiring a second level of authentication in addition to your password, known only to you. An unauthorized user will not be able to break the second-level barrier. Additionally, you’ll be alerted immediately that an access attempt failed, giving you the opportunity to allow access if warranted or change your password. MFA can be turned on for your LastPass account (Free, Premiere, Families) and is recommended for your most important accounts, including email, Twitter and Facebook.
Be cautious of email
A final word on email. Don’t let your guard down with the belief that you don’t look like a productive target to hackers, who launch massive attacks on tens of thousands of targets. You’re not the specific target, but you are in that group of targets. And your email is the front door to your digital life. Protect it accordingly. Be wary of unknown senders, too. If you don’t recognize the source, don’t open it.
So, call a family meeting. Share a meal during this busy time of year. Get everyone on board with the need for cyber awareness and review the easy steps you and your family can take. Become an impenetrable united front to hackers, who are planning new attacks every day.