Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety



As part of raising awareness during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), each week in October we will feature a topic centered around the theme “our shared responsibility.”  Our first feature is about cybersecurity in the home. These tips also apply in your professional life and places of work.

More than one million children were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017.

Every day, parents and caregivers teach kids basic safety practices like looking both ways before crossing the street and holding an adult’s hand in a crowded place. Easy-to-learn life lessons for online safety and privacy begin with parents leading the way. Learning good cybersecurity practices can also help set a strong foundation for a career in the industry.

With family members using the internet to engage in social media, adjust the home thermostat or shop for the latest connected toy, it is vital to make certain that the entire household – including children – learn to use the internet safely and responsibility and that networks and mobile devices are secure.

Statistics: Connected Homes and Cybersecurity

  • The number of smart homes in North America is expected to hit 73 million by 2021, making up more than 50% of all households. [1.]
  • More than 1 million children — or 1.48% of minors — were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017. Two-thirds of those affected were age seven or younger. [2.]
  • Both parents and teens are concerned about online security, according to a 2017 NCSA survey. Among their top fears [3.]:
    • someone accessing a teen’s account without permission (teens 41% vs. parents 41%)
    • someone sharing a teen’s personal information about them online (teens 39% vs. parents 42%)
    • and having a teen’s photo or video shared that they wanted private (teens 36% vs. parents 34%).
  • Additionally, 34% of teens indicate that they are the most knowledgeable person about cybersecurity in the family – followed by 24% who think dad is, and 18% who think mom is. [3.]

#CyberAware Tips to Protecting Yourself and Your Family at Home

Lock down your login: Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Strengthen online accounts and use strong authentication tools – like biometrics, security keys or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device – whenever offered.

Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.

Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it.: Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by apps, websites and all connected devices.

Keep a clean machine: Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones and tablets – current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware.

Pay attention to the Wi-Fi router in your home: Use a strong password to protect the device, keep it up to date and name it in a way that won’t let people know it’s in your house.

Share with care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it might affect you or others.

Useful Resources:


[1.] Berg Insight:

[2.] Javelin Strategy & Research

[3.] National Cyber Security Alliance 2017 Keeping Up with Generation App Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey

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