October is designated as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In celebration, HCDE provides four tips to help keep you and your data safe when working online.
1. Be aware of who has access to your devices or who may be able to see your screen when you are online.
There is a saying amongst hackers: “If I can get physical access to your device, then I can own it.” Whether you’re watching a video on YouTube or logging in to a laptop while waiting for the bus, try to stay aware of the access that others may have to your devices or the content on your screens.
2. Treat your data like you would treat your most prized possession.
You would never leave your phone or gaming system out on your porch overnight, so don’t do the same with your personal data! Before you use a new online service (whether at home or at school), be sure to read the “terms of service” or the “privacy policies,” and share them with your parents. This information can usually be found at the bottom of a site’s main page (or the settings of a phone app) and spells out what data is being used by the app and how it is handled.
3. Use strong and unique passwords for all the services that you use. Where possible, have more than one way to authenticate your accounts.
We’ve all done it. We create a simple, easy-to-remember password for Instagram or Gmail. Then we use that password for a lot of different things. Before too long, we’re using the same password to access Steam library as we do to access our grades. The best policy for passwords: Make them random. Include numbers, letters and special characters. Use a unique password for every major account you have.
4. If you see something, say something.
Students: If a person or online app is suspicious, it never hurts to report your suspicion to parents or another trusted adult. If you receive a message from a stranger on social media, don’t respond. Show the message to your parents or a teacher. If you can’t find someone right away, screenshot the message. Don’t ever give away access to your personal information or personal photos.
For more Information: https://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month
Author: David McGeary, curriculum director, Digital Education and Innovation, Teaching and Learning Center at Harris County Department of Education