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Posts Tagged ‘basic safe computing precautions’

Start teaching password security early

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Parents know that kids are logging on earlier than ever – children as young as five might have an account on the family computer or on sites like Club Penguin or Webkinz, with their own username and password. Signing up for their first account is a great time to talk to you child about how to keep their information and identity private. While there might be little real security risk for a young child using these services under supervision, it’s important to start building lifelong smart security habits early.

The most basic ground rule is this: NEVER share your password with anyone except your parents. Password sharing with friends and peers is a surprisingly common practice amongst youth. A 2001 study from Pew Internet found that 22% of youth 12-17 who use email or IM have shared a password with others. Often this is seen as a sign of trust between friends and significant others. But sharing passwords put kids at risk for being impersonated online, having their personal information compromised, or being a target of cyberbullying. Sharing passwords makes children more vulnerable to online harassment, as kids will sometimes exploit access to each other’s accounts as a tool for humiliating or damaging the reputation of the target if a friendship takes a turn for the worse.

Make sure your child knows how to protect their online identity. Even young children can understand these password security basics:

  • Passwords are secret and shouldn’t ever be shared with anyone.
  • Choose a password that’s hard for others to guess, using a mix of letters, symbols and numbers.
  • Don’t write your passwords down—make sure it’s something you can easily remember.

For more password safety tips for kids, check out http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Tips/tips-to-create-and-manage-strong-passwords.html.

Keeping Your Web Browser Security Up to Date

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

You face significant security risks online when you don’t regularly update your Web browser’s security patches. Using an un-patched browser can leave your computer open to exploits that range from becoming more vulnerable to ad-ware, spy-ware and viruses, to potentially leaving your entire computer vulnerable to being remotely accessed.

A recent Ars Technica news article indicated that a study conducted by Google, the Swiss Institute of Technology, and IBM found that up to 40% of Internet surfers are not using the most up-to-date version of their web browser.

Making sure that your web-browser is up to date is not as difficult as it used to be. Most browsers include a feature that allows the browser to check to see if it is the most current update. We recommend that you change your browser’s settings to automatically update its security software. Please view the new “How-To” video tutorials below to learn how to check to make sure you are using the most up to date version of your browser.

In Firefox:

In Internet Explorer:

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