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Fast Family E-Security Fixes for Fall

A quick talk + reviewing settings = less risk and hassle in the year ahead.

With so many of our own employees' and clients children heading back to school, we asked I-OnAsia's Cyber Security Director Kevin Caja for advice.

Kevin, what can we do to improve security at home for our kids, without things getting too 'heavy'?

It is important to remind kids why their identity is important. Their online identity will be as much a part of their lives as their physical identity. Their safety and reputations online are (almost) as important to their future as physical health and safety.

Most schools these days have a policy for conduct online, and this is a good way to connect their health and safety and reputations with policies and negative outcomes to be avoided.

Norton, which sells reasonably priced software that is designed to provide a layer of online protection, has said: "Sometimes kids expose themselves to identity theft by disclosing personal information online because they believe they have nothing to lose. A child’s identity can have as much value as an adult’s identity, if not more... Remind children not to reveal too much information about themselves. Their date of birth, address, and SSN are all personal information and they shouldn’t share them freely."

Kevin, one of my own children is already more tech savvy than me. Rather than feeling outmatched, what can parents ask their little geniuses to do that will contribute to family security?

Great question! It is so important to develop tech confidence.

Here is an easy challenge: work together to develop habits to go private on public Wi-Fi. We all love the free Wi-Fi at places like Starbucks! But it is important to avoid public Wi-Fi networks. So, work together to test a VPN that will work for you. There are so many free VPN apps on the App stores of Apple and Google.

We actually did that last year, and we had to have another talk with the kids about streaming Netflix and other content in other countries. Which leads us to our next question. This year it seems like the big ethical and security questions revolve around shared passwords. What are your thoughts?

Another great question! Ethics and online security are very tightly linked. If an online activity feels unethical, it is probably also unsafe.

If you love content provided by a streaming service, you should be paying for it, even if some level of sharing is currently tolerated. Trends pre-Covid were clear, and crackdowns on password sharing were in the works.

But there are real security reasons to not be sharing passwords. Think about it... do you really want some other child (and all of his family and friends) to have access to your account login email and password? Yikes!

Firefox, a leader in secure internet browsing, highlights the importance of keeping passwords secure: "Your password is your first line of defense against hackers and unauthorized access to your accounts. The strength of your passwords directly impacts your online security."

So, obviously the fall is a great time for everyone to change passwords on their accounts. A bonus step would be to ensure 2-factor authentication is enabled for any social media accounts used. This can protect against phishing.

Where would you be spending your money to improve home E-Security?

I've been very interested in the advances in new routers for homes. Now might be a good time to invest in a new router.

Kids these days seem to know all the tricks to circumventing parental controls on their devices. New routers can block adult content, but also offer some really great benefits to protect the home at the network-level from scam websites and phishing attacks.

Thank you, Kevin! You are such a great resource!

This has been my pleasure. So much of what we are doing for Elite Families these days is to focus on this critical issue, and I'm pleased to share these insights. Any questions that readers have may be directed to me or directors of our offices globally.

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