June 07, 2021
As the internet evolves, it brings new risks. Here's how to protect yourself and your family online.
The internet provides us with so much enrichment — from entertainment to communications to smart home technology — that makes our lives easier and more comfortable. But the widespread use of technology can raise concerns about personal and financial security. As part of Internet Safety Month 2021, we've put together some top tips for protecting yourself and your family online.
1. Secure Your Home Internet Connection
Many households now benefit from a network of devices, from TV and entertainment systems to phones, tablets and even smart appliances — all connected to a central WiFi router. That's why it's so important to make sure your router is secure to protect yourself from someone poaching your connection or even using your network for a cyber crime.
You can take several steps to secure your router. These include installing security software that protects your devices from malware and viruses, and ensuring that software is always up to date. Cox's Panoramic Wifi Advanced Security system monitors real-time activity and sends alerts if it detects possible network threats.
Another risk of an unsecured router is that unrecognized or unauthorized users can potentially connect to your WiFi, which leaves your whole network vulnerable. If this happens, Panoramic Wifi Advanced Security will automatically block the user and notify you. The same happens when suspicious sources, such as IP addresses previously flagged as dangerous, try to access your devices.
2. Get a Password Manager
We log in to so many websites and apps these days, and it can be hard to keep track of all your passwords. Though it's tempting to use a couple of memorable passwords for all your online accounts, this puts you at risk. If one site gets hacked, malicious actors can use those credentials to access your address, credit card information and other personal details on other sites where you've used the same password.
It's equally important to set strong passwords that do not contain full words or guessable names and dates. Perhaps the easiest way to keep your personal data safe is to use a password manager, which generates and stores strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. For added security, you can opt for two-factor authentication wherever possible.
3. Be Careful What You Click
A phishing email or text message is a fraudulent attempt to access your personal information. Often, attackers masquerade as legitimate institutions, and messages encourage you to click on a link, download an attachment or input sensitive data.
Even if you don't share any personal information directly, clicking a link or downloading an attachment from a phishing message can install malicious software onto your device and lead to identity theft. While email spam filters can protect you from phishing messages, they don't always catch everything.
Security software can further help deter such threats. Cox's Panoramic Wifi Advanced Security system, for example, informs you if you inadvertently visit a malicious site or are a possible victim of phishing. It also may prevent you from visiting a site that could contain malware, spyware or a virus.
4. Share With Care
When uploading or inputting your personal information with legitimate websites such as social media platforms, try to share with care. Whether it's a personal photo or your relationship status, a copy of the information is stored even if you later delete it.
Remember that other people can download and save the photos you post online, too. Of course, one of the joys of social media is sharing your favorite photos, stories and life events. It's important to regularly check your privacy and security settings to ensure that you're comfortable with who can access your information.
5. Keep Your Apps Up to Date
Apps are useful and convenient, but they can come with a catch. Some apps require access to your personal data, so always check your privacy settings to ensure you're not sharing more information than is required. Plus, remember to update your apps — developers are constantly fixing potential security loopholes.
Just like the real world, the virtual version is a place where you need to understand the rewards and risks and act accordingly to shield you and your loved ones from potential harm.