Our increasingly advanced technology at home makes our lives easier, but it also makes things easier for cybercriminals. That’s why it’s important to properly protect yourself against fraud and the theft of your personal and financial data. Here are four practices for a safely connected home—and family.
1. Educate your children about cybersecurity
Parents aren’t the only ones with access to the web: our children are also on the Internet, often with their own electronic devices. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to inform them about cyberattacks by explaining phishing and warning them about the dangers of unsecured networks and online predators. Teach them to never share personal information with anyone online and to be wary of strangers, just like in real life.
Because in fact, identity theft is not something that only happens to adults. Of all identity fraud reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), 164 involved people aged 19 and under. In the United States, a survey has even revealed that children and teenagers are, on average, 51 times more likely to be victims of fraud.
2. Check your privacy settings
Privacy settings can be found everywhere: software, applications, online services and social networks. Sometimes there are questions when you download an application, but other times you have to find them on your device or in the application settings. As a general rule, we recommend deactivating geolocation when not using an application that requires it. This will keep others from sharing your location or activities.
For applications, you can access permissions by viewing the application data in your phone settings. Make sure that your data and that of your contacts is only shared with the people you want. In short, take the time to check your settings, and do it again regularly. Some settings get reactivated automatically during updates, for example.
3. Use passwords that are uncrackable… and not all the same
Even if we’ve been talking about it forever, obvious passwords are still a problem. Keep in mind that anything that’s easy for you to remember is probably easy for someone else to remember, too. The proof? The most commonly used types of passwords include numeric sequences, words referring to passwords or devices themselves, repeated characters, sports or brand name references, and names of animals or people, among others.1 Even swear words aren’t original, for those with a sense of humour. The solution: short “pass phrases” combined with numbers or special characters do the trick and are generally easy to remember. Above all, avoid using the same password everywhere. If hackers get their hands on it, they’ll open a real Pandora’s box for you.
4. Rename your Wi-Fi network
As you know, our Wi-Fi networks are visible to the entire neighbourhood. However, those generated by default—called SSIDs—reveal the name of your provider or the brand of your modem. Since this SSID is unique, it’s best to keep it to yourself and change the name of your network. It’s important to avoid any reference that could give away who the network belongs to, such as “Missy & Mike.”
If you don’t know how to rename your network, just ask your provider’s technician during installation or contact their technical support. Otherwise, a quick search on the Web will help you find simple instructions.
Your security and the security of your information is important to us, so better to be safe using these tips than sorry. This also applies to phishing scams, which are an ever-present threat. If you notice anything abnormal in any of your accounts or suspect any risk of fraud, don’t hesitate to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
1 https://www.protegez-vous.ca/nouvelles/technologie/les-15-types-de-mots-de-passe-les-plus-repandus-sur-le-web (french only)