Back to school cyber security tips

Published: Aug. 15, 2019 at 4:33 AM CDT
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As your children get back into the swing of school there can be a lot of forms to fill out, from health needs to extra-curricular sign ups. It's also a time when you or your child's sensitive information could be compromised.

Infogressive is a cyber security firm in Lincoln. It says first and foremost keeping your computer and software up to date will help keep your information safe.

As you are typing more sensitive information into a computer or phone like credit card numbers, phone numbers and addresses, having an easy first line of defense will help save you from a headache later on.

"You're actually protecting your computer where you're typing all that information in the first place," said Justin Kallhoff, the CEO of Infogressive. "It's not just the forms that you're typing for the kids but everything that you do on your computer."

Keeping your computers up to date can include updating your anti-virus program, any software you have installed like Microsoft applications, or larger operating system updates for your Windows or Apple devices.

Infogressive also says their best advice when it comes to creating accounts and filling out all those forms is to never use the same password twice.

Something else to be aware of is email phishing. Phishing scams happen all the time but in the whirlwind that is back to school you may not be paying as much attention as you should to your emails.

Infogressive says that more than 91% of cyber breaches begin with an email, but there are a few simple ways to spot a phishing email like confusing language or poor grammar, emails from sources you've never seen before and suspicious links or attachments.

"Attackers are crafty these days sometimes they'll change an L to a one or an O to a zero," said Kallhoff of malicious links. "If you hover over the links or attachment, those are both ways they're actually going to get you to do something."

By hovering a mouse over an attachment or link, it can help give you a better idea of where you are actually going, and if a site seems trustworthy or not. Always double check links and attachments in emails before clicking on them.

Infogressive also says back to school means back to social media for many children, so setting guidelines is important.

For younger children having their password or dual access to accounts keeps them accountable and their information safer.

"You can actually see what they're doing and take part in it and make sure you're being a parent ultimately and watching over them," said Kallhoff.

Kallhoff also says it's a good idea to always have your child create separate passwords for their different social media accounts, in case one were to be compromised.