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Wednesday, May 20, 2020 12:00 PM

Online Remote Security Tips for Families

Written by Shon Barrier, Vice President of Research & Development


With most of us now working from home, and kids doing school from home, our worlds look a lot different than they did a couple of months ago. We were all thrown into the scenario of remote working and learning, and while a lot of us work in secure IT environments at our on-site work location, there are some good reminders and actions you can and should take to protect your family online at home too.

Here are some resources to help educate parents and children about information security and privacy while kids are online. Since more people are being forced to use technology in different ways than in the past, taking a few minutes to understand potential cyber dangers and security measures is essential.

Devices used to access online resources must undergo system and application updates. Many times, these updates fix security issues that have been discovered.

The following is a list of quick tips from TripWire - The State of Security to help maintain online safety for your children while they access online resources from home.

Tip #1: Location Matters

Make sure your kids use a PC or smartphone in a place where you can see them.

Tip #2: Keep abreast of social media

To begin with, get all of your child’s authentication details for social networks. Enforce a rule that if they want an account they’ll need to share their usernames and passwords with you. 

Tip #3: Sharing isn’t as innocuous as it may appear

Tell your kids that all information they post online composes their digital footprint and stays there, no matter if their profile is publicly accessible or private. Many children tend to overshare about themselves and their families, so parents should emphasize what a slippery slope it can be. 

Tip #4: Be proactive

This is of huge importance. Use parental control software to prevent things from getting out of hand.

Tip #5: Educate and reward

Don’t underestimate the power of teaching. Talk to your kids about the basics of online security, placing particular stress on the common pitfalls such as social engineering and cyberstalking. 

Tip #6: Watch for changes

If your child is being secretive or suddenly becomes withdrawn from family or displays other personality changes, be mindful that this could be a sign that your child is being preyed upon or bullied.

Tip #7: Stranger danger

Remind your child not to talk to strangers online. Make it clear that online strangers are not a friend and that it is easy for people online to lie about their age and other things. Give strict instructions to never put their personal information online, such as their address, phone number, birthday, school name, etc.

Tip #8: Check browsing history

Open your child’s web browser and look for “History” to see a list of websites they’ve viewed.  Also, check the recycle bin for any recently deleted files. 

Tip #9: Gifts and gadgets

Pay attention to anything new that your child has that you didn’t purchase.  Predators may send letters, photos or gifts to children to try to entice them.  Stay alert and ask your kids about any new toys they have.

Tip #10: Set rules

Limit your children’s screen time, set boundaries for inappropriate content, and make sure your child sticks to the rules. You can also check with your Internet provider for tools that can block inappropriate traffic and set time limits to help enforce the rules.

Additional Resources:

Department of Homeland Security - Keeping Children Safe Online

Scholastic - Keeping Kids Safe Online

Mobil Device Security Checklist

We hope this information has been helpful as we all try to navigate a new normal. If you have any questions or specific remote access security needs, please reach out, our team is here to help.

And, I would like to take this opportunity to also thank all the healthcare workers on the front lines, the IT community who works to meet their IT needs, and all the lab workers processing the large amounts of tests. Here's a short video with our Thanks.