Back to School – a Lesson in Cybersecurity 101

It’s hard to believe that it is back to school season! This means more devices, new accounts, and increased screen time for our young learners. Whether your kids are headed to grade school, college, or maybe you could just use a cybersecurity refresher course – we’re here to help!

Most everyone can use a refresher course in online security!

While cybersecurity is never anyone’s favorite subject, from elementary school activities through college educational requirements, devices and online resources are used on a daily basis. It is more important than ever that students are protected in their digital lives.

Here are some simple cyber-lessons for protecting yourself and your kids:

Password protect laptops and phones

Most devices come with password options that will require the user to enter a code or scan a fingerprint. This is a very important feature to enable, and remember to lock the computer or phone any time it’s left unattended.

If a laptop is often used in public locations such as libraries and coffee shops, invest in a cable lock that allows the computer to be physically locked down to keep it safe from sticky fingers.

Use strong passwords, never obvious ones such as birthdays or names; always use unique passwords. A great way to store passwords is through free applications such as LastPass which allows you to save passwords in their encrypted vault.

Use multi-factor authentication for email

Our emails are not only the hub of much of our communications, access to our email accounts can expose critical personal information and financial data. Email accounts should be for the owner’s eyes only, and the way to ensure that is to never share email passwords.

Users should also enable multi-factor authentication for every email account. This extra layer of security will require entering a password, and then additionally require a secondary access key such as a code or fingerprint. This way, even if someone gets into your email, they can’t get further without a secondary barrier unique to the owner.

Be careful of public Wi-Fi

We all use public wi-fi, and students using these open portals at school or other public places, need to realize that private, sensitive accounts such as banking can be exposed. It’s best to keep out of payment accounts or those containing personal information when using public wi-fi, and consider using a VPN so your browsing is done anonymously.

Keep software updated

Software updates seem to pop up constantly and can get annoying, but they shouldn’t be ignored. One of the critical things these updates are providing is the most current form of security patches, as well as other important fixes. Take the time to shut down devices regularly so that updates can install.

Backup all your devices consistently

We can’t say it enough – you won’t miss it until it’s gone! Theft, accidents and loss happens every day, so making sure your files and photos are backed up is crucial to being able to work uninterrupted. There are many cloud services that run automated backups to keep you protected seamlessly.

Review our top tips to start the school year off right:

  • Select unique passwords for each of your devices and accounts
  • Enable MFA for every account possible
  • Set your computer and phone to auto-lock and password access
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