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What do you think of when you think of online security?
One useful definition of online security is the ability to identify, manage, or eliminate threats to information, to technology, or to the well-being of a group or individual. For your family, those threats include attempts to steal, damage, or disable your home computer; attempts to steal the information in your computer or data storage device, and attempts to physically or psychologically harm your child.
The two best things you can do to protect your family is make the effort to take preventive action to improve your computer and online security, and also be ready to act if you recognize that you may have a potential security problem on your hands.
Ten Signs of a Potential Security Problem
- Files or programs on your computer are mysteriously missing, damaged, or updated.
- A family member has unexplained or unusual financial activity in a bank account or credit card.
- You don’t use any security protection software, or you do use the software but don’t update it regularly.
- A stranger attempts to arrange a meeting with your child.
- New or unfamiliar software is mysteriously loaded on your computer.
- Your computer has been affected by a virus or other malicious software.
- Your child is installing new software without your knowledge or permission.
- You get a request to email sensitive personal or financial information.
- Your computer or any storage device with sensitive files is lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Your computer starts to behave strangely.
Top 10 Computer Security Tips
- Make online and offline security a key part of your family’s online habits.
- Choose a family data manager who will track where the family’s data is stored.
- Back up data regularly.
- Keep a written record of where data is stored.
- Update your operating system software regularly.
- Use security protection software programs and update them regularly.
- Use software from reputable and reliable sources.
- Take action if your computer starts to behave strangely.
- Regularly review your family’s online activities and address any potential security problems.
- Either keep or destroy old hard drives.
Keeping your family and your computer secure does not have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive so long as you take steps to prevent problems from happening or to address them if they do happen.
Dr. Todd Curtis is the director of the AirSafe.com Foundation and an expert on the role using the Internet to educate the public about risk. This article was taken from his new book, Parenting and the Internet (Speedbrake Publishing, 2007). For more information, visit www.speedbrake.com.