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Cybersecurity and COVID-19: Online Safety Tips for Kids at Home

Read tips on how to keep your family safe from cyberthreats and attackers as the world spends more time online during the COVID-19 crisis.

Over time, we have become increasingly reliant on the internet to access information. And due to the impact of COVID-19, our online presence and reliance has become even more prevalent as parents and children are required to work, attend classes, and connect with others from home. That’s why it’s important to make sure your family understands the risks of living in a highly connected world. To help get this conversation started and promote cybersecurity in your home, we’ve outlined 10 tips on how to keep your family and kids safe online.

  1. Teach your kids the importance of cybersecurity.
    Taking the time to educate your family about cybersecurity is vital. Go over what suspicious online activity looks like and encourage your kids to ask you for help if they encounter anything that seems unusual. You can even take it a step further by installing security software that prevents your kids from visiting the wrong sites or clicking bad links.
  2. Explain why it’s important for your kids to protect their identity.
    Children are just as susceptible as adults are when it comes to identify theft. All too often, kids disclose their personal information online because they do not understand what they have to lose. Identify the information your kids shouldn’t share freely, including their address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
  3. Be on the lookout for phishing scams.
    Phishing is one of the most common practices used by cyberattackers. It is the fraudulent practice of sending e-mails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Teach your kids about these scams so they know not to click on any links e-mailed or messaged to them until further investigation.
  4. Protect your passwords with a management system.
    Passwords act as your first line of defense against hackers. Do not rely on the same password for multiple accounts or on passwords that are too simple. Install a password management program that will help you create unique passwords for your various accounts as well as remember them all so you don’t have to.
  5. Back up your data regularly.
    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regularly back up your data to protect yourself against ransomware—an attack by cyber criminals that locks you out of your valuable files.
  6. Avoid public WiFi networks.
    Cyberthreats and attackers may not be on the minds of your kids when they are accessing public Wi-Fi. Discuss the importance of avoiding these networks, and how the lack of security makes everyone who connects susceptible to cybercriminals. If you do need to connect to public WiFi, be sure to use a virtual public network.
  7. Do not overshare personal information.
    We live in an age of status updates, which can often lead to oversharing personal information. Make sure your family knows what too much information looks like. For instance, a teenager earning their driver’s license is a cause for celebration—but a photo of the license itself contains valuable information that should not be shared online.
  8. Understand that cyberthreats are always evolving.
    New threats are continually being created by cybercriminals. Be mindful when downloading any of the latest security updates and patches, and do your best to stay current on the latest cybersecurity news and best practices.
  9. Delete any unused accounts.
    Many sites require users to create an account, often with information like their first name, last name, and date of birth. Ultimately, even accounts that remain unused or for which we entered minimal information can be a rich source for cyberattackers. If you don’t plan on revisiting a site, delete the account you created—don’t just leave your information behind. 
  10. Identify a trustworthy security suite to protect your devices.
    Do your research before buying a security suite. You want to make sure that you’re investing in comprehensive software that will protect all your family members and their connected devices.

Advance Your Knowledge of Cyber Operations, Information Technology, and Cyberthreats When You Earn Your Master’s in Cybersecurity at Walden

Staying safe and secure online is a priority. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for information security analysts are expected to grow by 32% by 2028—much faster than average.1 To help meet the demand for skilled talent and cybersecurity leaders, Walden University has joined the movement to prepare the IT professionals of tomorrow by offering degree programs at the bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral levels in cyber and information security, including an MS in Cybersecurity. In this program, you can learn to outsmart cyberattackers and protect organizations and individuals from today’s most dangerous cyberthreats.

Cybersecurity at Home: Online Safety for Kids

Thanks to online education, it’s easier than ever to earn your degree in cybersecurity. That’s because you don’t have to worry about driving to a campus or attending classes at a specific time of day. Instead, when you choose to earn your master’s in cybersecurity online at Walden, you’ll have the freedom to attend classes from home at whatever time of day works best for you.

The U.S. needs cybersecurity experts who can help keep the country safe. If you’re looking to become a trained IT professional who can handle the growing dependence on information systems, explore Walden’s MS in Cybersecurity program.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online information technology degree programs for working professionals, including an MS in Cybersecurity. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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