Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How Safe Is Your Home Internet? 6 Tips You Can Review with Your Family

You grew up before the Internet truly took off. You remember the days of dial-up and Ethernet cables. You also remember when home network security required little more than a simple anti-virus program and a little common sense.

Home network security requires a lot more effort now—especially because you have children who may not understand the threats that await them. Children will click links without thinking and ignore security alerts when they pop up. Children also tend to use mobile devices without thought for cyber security as well.

You may not know as much as you’d like about network security either. Use the information below to educate yourself and your family members on basic online safety practices.

Run an Anti-Virus Scan Daily

You probably have an anti-virus program already. Run a short scan every day, and check the programs for updates every day as well. Viruses and other malware change about that quickly. But as long as you scan and update daily, your home’s Internet should stay secure.

If your anti-virus software comes with a more in-depth scan, run that one once a week to ensure your computers stay squeaky clean.

Install a Firewall and Keep It Up-to-Date

Anti-virus programs only keep malware at bay. Hackers can still worm their way past this software and steal your information if they feel determined enough. However, if you have a firewall, you fill this gap in your security. Firewalls control the traffic that goes in and out of your network. You can set yours to monitor websites, IP addresses, and even words and phrases to check for cyber criminals.

Restrict the Websites Your Family Can Visit

As mentioned above, children click links and visit websites without ever thinking about network security. To them, the entire world seems safe. Keep them from visiting harmful websites by installing a program that limits the types of websites your children can visit. For example, this program may allow social media but restrict online games, chat rooms, and adult sites.

Do Not Open Emails or Links from Unknown Sources

Again, the Internet seems safe to your little ones. They may open email attachments thinking that they contain something fun or important. However, you have to teach your children about these attachments. Instruct your kids to come to you before opening anything they don’t recognize. If you do not know the sender, and if the email’s content seems suspect, delete it.

Do Not Access Sensitive Information on Mobile Devices

Mobile devices do not have the same kind of solid security that computers do, especially when you access the Internet using data rather than your home’s wireless Internet. Your children may not realize this fact. Teach them about it, and then instruct them not to make purchases, access their bank accounts, or work with any other sensitive information while they use data.

Do Not Give People Personal Information Online

Even if your children know the people they speak to over the Internet, someone else could “listen” in and take information like their address and birthday. Tell your family members that they cannot share this information online no matter how comfortable they feel.

The tips above should solve most of your home’s cyber security problems.Review them with your family at least once or twice a year so that nobody accidentally lets a virus or a criminal into your network. For a more extensive review of safe home internet practices, look to a company like Global Learning Systems that offers security awareness and compliance training for any situation.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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