Staying Safe

The busy parent’s guide to staying safe online – Part two: Understanding Cyber security

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Part Two: Understanding Cyber Security

Keeping people safe on the Internet might sound like a big job – but it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, doing things by the numbers can be remarkably easy. Speaking of numbers – here are a few you might want to check out:

  1. A straightforward Five Step Family Security Setup you can use.
  2. The Cyber Security tips – Our top cyber security tips for staying safe.
  3. And the Big Six Cyber Scams – to know about and watch out for.

Ideally you’ll start by having your Internet-connected things under control, having secured your devices – but what about the people involved in using them? Here’s a hint: why not get them literally “involved”? Gather the team around and make everyone’s Internet experience more secure, together.
To start with, just like any other parenting situation, a few simple rules go a long way. But which rules? Try this:

Busy Parent’s Five Step Family Security Setup.

Make sure your family knows:

  1. Never give out details without asking an adult first (including yourself!) – and make sure the whole family understands why.
  2. Shop online with a friend – use reputable shopping sites, and/or have someone else check the sale before you hit “Buy Now”. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is – but we often need fresh eyes to help us see that.
  3. Use debit cards instead of credit cards when online shopping – this limits your exposure. Call your bank and ask for help setting these up.
  4. Call callers back – teach everyone to ask for a phone number and a name from anyone who calls you direct asking for information. And remember: your bank will NEVER call you to ask for your password.
  5. Have an “ask amnesty” in place – so the kids know they can always ask for help if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

The Internet is such an amazing resource, with so much to enjoy. No need to waste minute to waste a minute getting out there amongst it – the occasional run through the steps above will have you set up with some solid ground rules, and taking a few seconds to learn three simple ways you can protect yourself should save you plenty in the long run.

The Cyber Security top tips

  1. HTTPS: The “S” stands for Secure. When dealing with your bank, an auction site, Facebook or any other official website, make sure the address of the site starts with “https://” – this way your usage is encrypted, and you can be sure it’s not a fake site set up to look like one of the real ones.
  2. Whitelists: You could try to “blacklist” malicious sites, dodgy email addresses and applications you don’t want the kids to download – but it might be quicker and more reliable to “whitelist” only the sites, applications and email addresses you trust. This means that you’re choosing what sites, apps and email addresses that your family can access, and any addresses or apps that anyone tries to load that aren’t on the list, access is denied. If you are setting up whitelists for your family for all the sites you use often, make sure you use secure https:// addresses if available, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/
  3. Virus protection: Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date (and switched on!), and your device is backed up. They’ll do all the work for you, so you can enjoy the Internet with confidence.
  4. One of the best ways to help keep your family “cyber safe” is also one of the simplest: stay informed. For example, the more you know about common scams, the better you’ll be able to recognise them, spot similar ones, and ideally avoid them altogether.

    Know your Cyber Scams? How to spot The Big Six.

    After a quick read here, you’ll be up with the play on six of the most common scam risks. Keep an eye out for these:

    1. The Nigerian Scam: an email invitation to share in someone’s good or bad fortune. Millions are to be made if you’ll give your bank account details to the Nigerian Prince (or other such person) who is looking to shift his riches. Report these at The Orb.
    2. Ransomware:A type of “Trojan Horse” attack, ransomware sneaks in on the back of a document or website visit, locks or encrypts your computer, and scams you into paying a ransom to unlock it again.
    3. Phishing: Fake emails or websites are used to “fish” for personal information – tricking you into clicking through to an unsafe site, filling out a form, or logging in.
    4. Social Engineering: Related to Phishing, this direct approach relies on trust to trick people into sharing personal details. It might be a phone call from “your bank”, or an unusual email from a friend asking for personal information.
    5. Catfishing: A more insidious version of Social Engineering, Catfishing involves setting up fake online identities (and often complete social circles!) to lure people into emotional relationships, then leveraging that person’s trust.
    6. Malware: Wikipedia defines Malware as “an umbrella term for any hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs.”

    Like staying informed? There’s plenty more to read at the NZ Police email and Internet safety site, or at NetSafe.

    Now you’re in the know, get out there and enjoy the Internet, safely – including visiting this site from time to time to remind yourself how to stay safe!

    You might also be interested in our articles on How to: Set controls on Social Media and How to: Set controls on Smart Phones.

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