October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and a good time for teens to improve their Internet safety and security skills by engaging in the following best practices. Parents and teachers can help – and might want to adopt these practices themselves.
• Keep a clean machine: Teens need to ensure they keep their Internet-connected devices, like laptops, phones and tablets, from becoming affected with malware, says Kaiser, of the NCSA. Users should make sure software of operating systems is up-to-date. They should also make sure security software that updates automatically is installed on devices.• Manage mobile apps: Users should keep apps on their mobile devices updated, since updates often have security fixes in them, he says. Deleting apps users no longer use is also a good idea, he says.
• Enable multi-factor authentication for email accounts: Email is the gateway to almost every other account a user may have, Kaiser says. When someone loses or forgets an account password, the reset is sent to his or her email.
Kaiser suggests email users set up multi-factor authentication, which means more than just a password is required for access; a code may be sent via text message that a user must also input for access, for example. It’s something most major email providers offer, Kaiser says.
• Create a better password: “If their password is their dog, if their password is the school they go to, if their password is their best friend, they know that that’s a bad password and so when they have to use passwords, they should just make it better, that’s all I’m asking,” says Kaiser. Add some capital letters, put a number in or add something else that makes the password stronger and more complex.