Recently, I had the personal thrill of directly seeing the influence I’ve had on my friends and family’s cybersecurity knowledge and perspectives.
I have long been “tech support” for my family and friends. In late 2013, when data breaches started making national news, I also became the “cyber security tech support” go-to person.
Four different people shared their success stories with me. One was able to recognize a phishing email and simply deleted it. A second asked me about password vaults and installed one on her phone. The third shared how she is now using separate strong passwords for different systems. And the last updated their Wi-Fi router to better secure it.
I was thrilled to have made a small difference in their cybersecurity perspectives!
My suggestions to friends and family are focused on basic cyber hygiene and awareness, such as:
- Know how to create strong passwords. Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long and use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and if possible symbols. Make it something that you can remember, such as a phrase.
- Update your Wi-Fi router to employ a username (something besides “admin”) and a unique strong password. If it works for your household, update its settings to NOT broadcast its name (the SSID). If not, use an SSID that does not include your name or other distinguishing names; use a name that is applicable to anyone.