Can you believe back to school time is already here?

Whether you’re basking in the freedom of sending your kids back, seeing a child off to college, or taking up classes of your own, chances are you may be purchasing some new technology for the start of the school year.

Whether it’s a laptop, a new phone, tablet, etc, it’s important to keep cybersecurity in mind, especially if you’re buying new tech for the kiddos. In their hands is the first step toward independence. It’s also a way of letting them take on some responsibilities for themselves. Parents, this isn’t to say we’re leaving them entirely to their own devices. It’s important to lay down some ground rules when it comes to security.

That’s why we put together this cybersecurity checklist you can use to prepare yourself or your children for the school year.

  • Ensure that security tools, such as antivirus, is installed on any new device. Antivirus with anti-phishing features, firewalls, script blockers, password managers, anti-theft apps, anti-malware and ransomware are all features you want installed. Cyber attacks can come from all sides these days, so it’s important to have these features installed on their devices.
  • Stress the important of physical security. Physically securing devices is just as important as securing the data inside them. This isn’t just padded backpacks or shatterproof screens, but locking cables and USB port blockers.
  • Get into the habit of locking computers when moving away from them for a period of time. Locking your screen when away will prevent unwanted snoopers, theft, or vandalism.
  • Beware of Social Media ads and third party apps. Malicious code within ads or third party apps, posts containing links to malicious sites and sharing of sensitive information or derogatory comments pose real risks in 2017. It’s important to use social media smartly, especially as our online identities for personal, work, and school use continue to converge
  • Be wary of App downloads from unknown sources. Malicious and high-risk apps are more common now, than ever before. Before downloading an unfamiliar app, verify the authenticity by researching the developer and check for user reviews. You can also download a free security scanner for your devices that will detect malicious activity.
  • Beware of Email Phishing. This is a big one in 2017. Email phishing is when the victim receives a false email claiming to come from your bank, online retailers, or even from the inside of your own organization. These phishing attempts will try and trick the victim into giving up sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and bank account information, to either steal information or gain access to other accounts. it’s important to verify the sender of an email that appears suspicious. Never download any attachments or visit any links contained in an email if you do not know the sender first.
  • Use strong passwords. It is crucial that your password, or child’s account passwords are complex enough to avoid a simple cyber hack. They are your last lines of defense and “12345” or “Password1” are simply not good enough. A great password combines Uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It is also important to switch your password out every couple of months. Check out our guide here on choosing the right password.

This is the tip of the iceberg in keeping your digital information and identity safe in the modern era we live in but it’s a good start. Especially if you are planning on buying your child a laptop or device for the school year, it’s important for them to grasp the seriousness of cybersecurity. For more security information, tips and tricks please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today!