Cyber Safety for Family & Friends

(This is a guest post from FCU's VP of Information Services, Kirk Becker.) 

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, where security professionals provide tips and tricks for protecting yourself and your information online. Today’s tip is about helping others who may not be so tech-savvy secure themselves on the web. More information like this can be found in the SANS Institute Newsletter called "OUCH!” (

Here are some simple steps you can take to help others overcome fears and securely make the most of current tech:

  1. Social Engineering: One common technique used by cyber attackers to trick online users into doing something they should not do, like sharing their password, is social engineering. Examples of social engineering is when you receive spam emails with dangerous links, or get a phone call from a fraudulent computer technician trying to get access to your computer. You can help others by helping them understand the most common clues of a social engineering attack like a false sense of urgency, or when a cyber-attacker pretends to be someone you know but their messages don’t sound like them. In the very least, make sure loved ones understand they should never give their password to anyone or allow someone they don’t know access to their computer.
  2. Passwords: Strong passwords are key to protecting your devices and online accounts. Make sure you explain the importance of difficult-to-crack passwords with family members, and how they can make their passwords stronger. Passphrases, which are nothing more than passwords made up of multiple words, are the easiest to both type and remember and create very hard to break login keys. It’s important to use a unique password for each of your devices and accounts, so you might want to help them install and use a password manager, which stores all of their passwords in a secure location.
  3. Anti-Virus: Everyone makes mistakes! Whether it’s clicking on a link from a suspicious email, or accidentally installing something that could leave your computer vulnerable, there are a lot of ways a blunder can leave your computer at risk. An anti-virus software can help protect from those mistakes. While anti-virus cannot stop all malware, it does help detect and stop the more common attacks. For this reason, make sure all home computers have an anti-virus software installed and that it is current and active. In addition, many of today’s anti-virus solutions include other security technology, such as firewalls and browser protection.

Hopefully, these tips will help you and your family stay safe on your home computer. Keep safe online, everyone!

Kirk B.
VP of Information Services for FCU

Looking for another post from our guest blogger? Check out this article from the archives: "Tech Tips: Protecting Your Personal Information"

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