I’d like to share with you tips from the book The Basics of Cyber Safety: Computer and Mobile Device Safety Made Easy by John Sammons and Michael Cross.
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The book decently covers a range of cyber safety topics, including security and privacy aspects of the Internet, social media, computers, and phones. There’s also a chapter on protecting children online. It doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but does include many specific recommendations of practices, software, and websites.
This isn’t one of the best books I’ve read on the subject, but it has some information and advice that other books lack. Some of the info is dated, and several links are broken (in this review I’ve corrected them or left them out).
Here are my notes from each chapter.
Before Connecting to the Internet
Password crackers aren’t fooled by replacing letters with symbols (e.g., P@$$w0rd).
Test password strength with the Online Domain Tools Password Checker.
Software Problems and Solutions
Free antivirus can be as good as paid. Companies that offer free versions make money from paid versions.
Free antivirus/anti-malware for Windows, Mac, Android
Protecting Your Reputation
To overwrite deleted data or completely wipe a drive
- In Windows, at the command prompt, type
cipher /w:followed by the drive letter and optionally a folder name. For example, to overwrite D:\Data, type
cipher /w:D:\Dataand press Enter.
- Use CCleaner.
How to react to a data breach
- Change your password.
- Set up multi-factor authentication (if possible).
- Contact appropriate authorities (financial institution, breached site, police, federal authorities, etc.).
- If credit or debit card numbers were affected, request new cards.
- Scan device for malware.
- Install all software updates.
- Check email rules and filters to ensure email isn’t being forwarded.
- Deauthorize third-party apps that have access to the compromised account.
- If breach involved financial info, carefully check statements and credit reports. Consider freezing credit.
Beyond Technology—Dealing with People
How to meet in person someone you met online
- Meet in a public place with many people.
- Tell friends or family who, when, and where you’re meeting. Tell them when you’re home safe.
- Keep your phone with you.
- Don’t drink open drinks.
How to do a simple background check
- Compare what the person says online to their online profiles.
- Do an image search on the person’s photo, using Google Images.
Protecting Your Kids
Your rules for your kids should be a combination of:
- Supervision: you oversee, regulate and help direct their online activity.
- Education: you teach them proper online behavior, and the prevention and solutions to various potential problems.
- Tools: software, hardware, and settings that limit risks and allow you to monitor their online activity.
Kid-friendly password generator: DinoPass.
Enable SafeSearch in search engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
Kid-friendly search engines
Popular parental control software
Configure Family Safety controls in Windows.
If your phone is stolen, and you’re able to track it, inform the police. Don’t try to recover it yourself.
Rules for kids
- Use secure passwords.
- Don’t reveal passwords.
- Don’t share personal info online (address, school name, current or future location, phone number, birth date, age, etc.).
- Don’t blindly accept that a person is who they claim.
- Don’t visit disallowed sites (you’ll need to define what these are).
- Never agree to meet in person, without parent’s permission.
Occasionally review your child’s friend/contact list.
Signs of child at risk from online predators
- Child possesses child porn (of themselves or other kids)
- Child receives mail from someone you don’t know.
- Child has phone sex.
- Child discusses sex when talking on video games, video chat, etc.
- Child becomes withdrawn from family and friends.
If child is contact by sexual predator, report to local police and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (in US) or Canadian Centre for Child Protection (in Canada).
If you use parental controls or other monitoring software, tell child you have the ability to see and limit what they’re doing online. Tell them it’s not necessarily because you don’t trust them, but to help them if they encounter problems, to protect them from seeing disturbing content, and to lower the risk of getting malware. Tell them you’re willing to discuss the restrictions.
Tell child you have the right to review their technology and accounts.
Remind child that others can monitor their online activity, such as schools and libraries.
Help child configure privacy settings on all their accounts. Remind them not to put personal info in profiles.
If you found this summary helpful, then read the book, The Basics of Cyber Safety: Computer and Mobile Device Safety Made Easy by John Sammons and Michael Cross.
The Resources page has additional books about cyber safety and computer security.
What You Should Do
Here are the top tips I’ve selected from this book.
- In passwords, don’t simply replace letters with symbols (e.g., P@$$w0rd). That doesn’t fool password crackers.
- To securely delete data, or to wipe a drive, use the
ciphercommand in Windows, or use CCleaner.
- When you’re affected by a data breach, take the steps listed above.
- When you want to meet in person someone that you met online, tell friends or family who, when, and where you’re meeting, and meet in a public place.
- Your rules for how your kids use the Internet should be a combination of supervision, education, and tools.
- Consider parental controls such as Net Nanny and Family Safety (included in Windows).
- Teach your kids how to be safe online. See the tips listed above.
- Watch for signs that your child is at risk from online predators. If you notice the signs, talk to your child and investigate.
- If your child is contacted by sexual predator, report to the local police and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (in US) or Canadian Centre for Child Protection (in Canada).
- Tell your kids what parental controls and monitoring you have in place. Explain the reasons, and that you’re looking out for their good.
- Remind your kids that their online activity can be monitored by schools, libraries, and others.