Without them, well, none of us would be here. So today here at RCS, moms everywhere, we salute you. To all the moms, for all the clean clothes, prepared meals, and homework help, thank you. For all the cuts and wounds you kissed and made feel all better, for all the deep meaningful conversations over steaming hot cocoa in the kitchen, for all the times nobody believed in us but you, thank you. From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you.
By no means are we making any grand or sweeping claims that every mother is the pinnacle of goodliness and light. Of course we know very well there are other kinds of moms, like Ma Barker who oversaw and ran an inter generational family crime ring in the 1920’s. She ruled her crime-clan with an iron fist and was feared and revered by other crime rings and law authorities around the world. If she were around today, she might just be running a darkweb malware trading forum, trading ransomware as a service for drugs and the like. But we still bet she would still think her kids were the bestest and brightest around. (One can just imagine her playing mahjong with some friends saying “Ahhh, today little Mikey netted 3 million smackeroos in a ransomware attack, I’m sucha proud mother!”)
Moms like that aside, we should be cognizant of how thankful we have to be not only on Mother’s Day but everyday and we’re taking this opportunity to show our thanks and offer you awesome moms some advice to help you keep your digital identity safe. And considering that with every passing day we become more reliant on our tech to help us keep organized and on top of all the millions of things we have on our to-do lists, our digital identity is increasingly caught up with our physical identities.
So to say thanks for all the wise council you always give/gave, we offer up these words of mom-centered advice to help you keep yourselves and your family’s digital lives even safer.
- You probably have a few apps that you use to keep organized like Google Keep or Remember the Milk. This way you’ll remember that Stevie has a dentist appointment, that your boss needs the EOY reports ASAP and to check on your own parents’ health every now and then. But did you know that apps often ask for permission to access much more information than they need to do their jobs properly? Sure, Keep needs to access your calendar, but does your flashlight app need to see your contact list? We think not. Sometimes apps access this information in order to pass it on to third party companies so they can target you with mobile ads. Yucko. Read all terms of acceptance for each app you install and make sure you know what you are allowing to be shared.
- Know what your kids are doing online. Sad to say, there are a huge amount of creeps out there and they just love luring unsuspecting kids into dangerous situations. You can enable parental settings on social media and set up safe browsing mode from just about any browser to ensure your kids have a safer online experience.
- Though your little digital native was born with a smartphone in his or her hand, both you and they need to remember that they probably don’t understand just how skeevy the internet can be. Online hackers and scammers love to bait kids with bogus surveys and promises of free stuff in return for personal information. Unfortunately kids are one of the most hackable targets. Identity thieves just love the opportunity of a fresh slate, or a credit report that’s unsullied by unpaid bills and won’t be intensely followed for the next few years. Talk to your kids about online scam artists and how to spot them.
- When it comes to kids and online safety, the best advice is to teach them from a young age how to use the internet safely. Security experts advise educating early and often and letting kids know that you are there for any questions they have.
Shopping online is a huge time saver and we know how you love (need) to save time. But there are some things you have to know if you want to keep your credit card information safe.
- First off, only shop on sites whose address starts with HTTPS. The “S” indicates that your connection is protected with extra layers of security so hackers cannot intercept the connection and steal your credit card information.
- Shop on sites your recognize and trust. Just because something seems to be offering a great bargain doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy. Truthfully, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sure, they’ll take your money but chances are you’ll never see your purchase.
- A lot of browser add-ons that purport to help shoppers find the best deals come jam-packed with malware and viruses, and at the very least can be browser hijackers which will remove your trusted Chrome or Firefox and replace it with homehelperbrowser.com or something along those lines. Stay away from price checkers and browser add-ons of that type and if you really do need to shop around, check it out on Amazon.com which will give you the most accurate prices. This is also a good time to make sure you have a solid anti malware program like RCS protecting all the computers on your network to keep malware and other intruders out.
- Do you have your coffee maker and your roomba connected to your phone? What about your fitness tracker? How about your frying pan that has a built in sensor with an app to help you get the pepper crust on your seared tuna just right? The world of Internet-connected gadgets sure is fun but just like anything in the digital world, it comes with a fair amount of dangers as well, because all these new cool devices can be hacked. With every digital wine stopper and each pair of health-sensing socks we connect to the Internet, we make the attack surface just a little bit bigger and this can have huge ramifications. Approach IOT with a bit of caution and know that you really don’t need to connect everything to your phone and when you do, make sure you change the factory installed passwords.
Moms really do rule
As an interesting aside, there is a positive trend being noted in security circles nowadays. Once upon a time, mom, you were the perfect hack target – but increasingly, the tides are turning. According to a newly published study conducted by security firm HMA, women (ages 35 and up) display more online smarts than men do. Though women spend up to 8% more time online and on social media per week than men do, their overall security habits are much better. Women typically post less information on their social media profiles, make use of privacy settings more than men do and when they resolve to make a change to their security habits they are much more likely to keep it up. So even though popular culture tends to show moms (and all other non-millennials, really) as technically-challenged troglodytes, it turns out that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Mom, you really are the best role model!
So who knows, maybe if Ma Barker were around today perhaps she would have changed her crooked ways and started an inter generational family-run cyber security firm, teaching people to be as savvy and smart as moms are. Or maybe not. And if you want to say thanks to your mom for always being there, and want to give her the gift of solid computer security, let us know in the comments below and we’ll help you get mom set up with a major savings on a subscription to RCS Complete Protection.
Moms, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!