The Digital Threats Facing UK Families and Ways to Stay Safe

With COVID-19 still affecting a large part of the world, many citizens in the UK are still stuck at home, especially our parents. And being stuck at home means cybercriminals have been targeting families.

What threats are facing UK families? What can be done to protect us?

Cyber-Threats Facing Families in 2020

Data Breaches

A data breach occurs when a hacker steals or exposes confidential data without the permission of the business affected. Often, this data contains information on customers of the business or service, putting thousands of people’s personal information at risk.

Data breaches happen often—more often than we’d like—and they can happen to anyone.

DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS attacks) are attacks that flood a service/website/server with traffic. All this traffic overwhelms the target, causing disruptions and outages. One of the examples of this is when hacker group Lizard Squad caused worldwide outages of Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on Christmas.

Having smart devices or an insecure network introduces you and your family to the possibility of DDoS attacks—a worrying situation.

5 Ways Families can Increase Their Protection

1. VPNs

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) route your devices’ data through a VPN server. The server then encrypts the traffic and sends it on its way. This encryption keeps your device’s data from being exposed or seen by any third-party, including your ISP, the government, or any hackers that may be spying on your network.

Your IP address will also be masked, hiding your overall presence on the network as well. I highly recommend a VPN to encrypt all of your devices. You can also consider using a VPN router to secure all devices on your home network.

2. Updated Software

Software updates contain various fixes for the platform or service you’re using, from minor changes to the engine to major changes that add new features. But one thing that most software updates contain is security patches.

New cyber-threats pop up every day, so software developers must add security fixes to their updates, so these are often rolled out along with regularly-scheduled ones. This is why downloading the latest update for your device is important.

3. Password Managers

You must teach your kids proper password techniques. You know, things like:

  • Using a unique password for every account.
  • Making sure all passwords used are
  • Regularly changing passwords, especially ones at risk after a data breach.

One problem: those rules can become annoying. To help alleviate some of the annoyance, use a password manager. A password manager stores all of your passwords and allows you to easily change them if needed.

4. Cybersecurity Training

Don’t stop your cybersecurity training at passwords! Take time out of your week (if you can) to teach your kids overall proper cybersecurity etiquette. Teach them to not visit sketchy websites, to not click on links from a spam email, and to avoid giving out their personal information.

Doing this will ensure your kid grows up security-conscious, which will be a boon for them later in life.

5. Parental Controls

However…teaching your kids on proper cybersecurity etiquette takes time. And kids are kids! They won’t always listen to us. In situations where you can’t trust your kids alone with a device just yet, you can enable parental controls.

What parental controls offer to depend on the device, but most allow you to restrict what they view, where they can go, and if they can spend money. These settings are a god-send for many parents.

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