Dubai, United Arab Emirates – This October, for Cyber Security Awareness Month, the SANS Institute (SANS) encourages everyone to spread security awareness programs beyond the confines of the office and help all employees and colleagues apply lessons learned at work to protect their families and friends with the #SecureTheFamily global initiative.
Today, we are more digitally connected than ever before as more people work from home, distance online learning has grown exponentially, and Wi-Fi enabled “smart” devices increasingly occupy more and more people. different aspects of our daily life. Connected personal assistants can control your smart home devices, digital refrigerators can track your food inventory, video monitors let you keep an eye on your little one anywhere from your smartphone, thermostats and light bulbs can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, and some washing machines allow you to remotely schedule wash cycles in advance. Our children are very familiar with the latest cell phone model, while our aging parents need help with theirs. All of this connectivity brings many benefits and convenience, but every connected device comes with increased risk as well.
Ms. Mahalik notes some misconceptions about individual security practices, such as your home network is too small to be at risk of a cyber attack and your smart devices are secure right out of the box. So how do we secure our homes and, more importantly, protect our families? Ms. Mahalik highlights some key issues:
- Safeguarding your digital information
Most of us know we need to back up our data, but how often do we do it? And are we sure we know where it’s going? The security of our data depends on good habits such as a solid organization of our passwords and consistent backups. Separate your work from personal items from family storage plans so sensitive items aren’t shared with those who don’t need to access them.
- Protect your Wi-Fi network
Another crucial step is to secure your home WiFi network. Make sure to change the network name first – don’t leave it as “Admin” or use your last name. Plus, replace the network password with a word or phrase that your family will remember, but strangers won’t easily guess.
- Balance your children’s privacy
When connecting to their devices, our children and teens face many risks, including cyberbullying and potential exposure to online predators through social media and video games. In fact, research shows that 40% of kids in Grades 4-8 report communicating or chatting online with a stranger, 51% of all teens regularly use at least one social networking app, and 90% of teens have regular access to a mobile device. Tweens and teens spend so much time on their digital devices that parents can face challenges in finding the appropriate balance between safety and accessibility. To balance children’s online privacy, parents should monitor children’s online activities and set screen time limits.
From toddlers to high schoolers, our children are more likely than ever to be attached to one or more digital devices, which carries considerable risks. As parents, we need to protect our children by securing their devices. For Android devices, set a password, turn on FindMyDevice to locate or lock a lost device, and establish a phone / email number that can be used to validate your information. For Kindle / e-readers, activate the lock screen by setting a passcode, activate FindMyKindle to locate or lock a lost device, and update your personal information to include your name and email address in case of loss of the device. For all iOS devices, set a password, turn on FindMyPhone to locate or lock a lost device, establish a phone / email number that can be used to validate your iCloud information, and create backups with iCloud or iTunes.
- Protect devices provided by schools
Make sure you keep Chromebooks and other school-issued devices safe by setting passcodes, knowing which location artifacts are being tracked, and making sure kids fully understand internet safety. Many children and teens will try to bypass security measures on their devices, so be vigilant against the use of jailbreaks, hacks, and other techniques that children might use that pose additional security risks.
The #SecureTheFamily initiative will help you better educate your staff, friends and family on techniques to secure home devices and personal data, as well as how parents can protect their children and teens online.
“Because it’s never too late to practice good cyber hygiene,” recalls Ms. Mahalik.
About the SANS Institute
The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest provider of cybersecurity training and certification to professionals in government and business institutions around the world. Renowned SANS instructors deliver over 60 courses at in-person and virtual cybersecurity training events and on demand. GIAC, a subsidiary of the SANS Institute, validates the skills of practitioners through more than 35 practical technical certifications in cybersecurity. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent affiliate, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their “human” cybersecurity risk. SANS also provides a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community, including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet’s early warning system, the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing various global organizations, from businesses to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. https://www.sans.org
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© Press release 2021