Thursday, April 27, 2017

Protecting your kids online

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a wealth of resources to help parents navigate the vast digital world that their kids interact with every day called the Internet.

DHS encourages all parents to follow these common sense steps to protect your children online.
  • Create an open and honest environment with kids.
  • Have regular conversations with kids about practicing online safety.
  • Emphasize the concept of credibility to teens: not everything they see on the Internet is true and an people on the Internet may not be who they appear to be.
  • Watch for changes in behavior — if your child suddenly avoids the computer, it may be a sign of being bullied online.
  • Review security settings and privacy policies for the websites kids frequent. These settings are frequently updated so check back regularly.
  • Make sure mobile devices are secure.
  • Use PINs and strong passwords, only install apps from trusted sources, and understand the privacy settings and permissions for all apps.

For more information about protecting children online, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Chatting with Kids about Being Online booklet. For additional resources, access the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit at  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

How much you do know about cyber security?

I challenge you to test your basic cyber security knowledge with this short 10-question quiz from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I did!

Pew Research Center’s study about what the public knows about cyber security sheds light on the fact that many Americans are unclear about key cyber security concepts. The majority of Internet users were able to answer less than half of the questions correctly. Though cyber security can be a complex topic, the quiz includes general concepts and basic building blocks that experts stress are important for users to protect themselves online. 
Test yourself and let your kids try it too! Take the Cyber Security Knowledge Quiz and see how your results compare with the 1,055 randomly sampled adults that took part in the national survey.
To help improve your general knowledge of basic security and best practices, see the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign Toolkit at

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Three steps to secure messaging (by Teen Vogue)

Can an outsider eavesdrop on the SMS texts that you send from your phone? Of course they can. Can you take steps to thwart that type of activity? The answer is yes, and it is something that you and your kids should be proactive about doing.

I work for a progressive data privacy platform provider, which makes me a huge fan of Internet privacy. Recently, a friend of mine from my organization's security operations center shared this article with me: How to Keep Messages Secure, posted in March 2017.

It is enlightening to see a youth magazine educating its readers in the Internet security arena. We need more sharing like this, across the globe. Talk to your kids about the three steps described in Teen Vogue:
  1. Keep your phone operating system (OS) updated—whether it be Android or iOS. For help, just google the phone OS name with the word "updating" or "patching" (i.e., updating Android).
  2. Set a long PIN to unlock your phone, and don't use personal dates (like anniversaries) or years (such as your birth year) in your PIN. Better yet, use biometric authentication (like a fingerprint) or a passphrase (as opposed to a shorter password) where offered.
  3. Use a secure messaging app instead of SMS for texting—for example, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, or Signal. 
For details, see the entire article or go to this one from Business News Daily: 5 Best Secure Messaging Apps. Stay safe online!