Staying safe online during perilous times

Staying safe online during perilous times Mar 18, 2020

More of us are inside than ever before.

Due to COVID-19, we've seen a radical increase in time spent online. This is changing lives in many ways:

  • Kids are learning from home, using tools more traditionally used in businesses
  • Nearly everyone who is able to is working from home
  • People are losing jobs or gigs in fields deemed non-essential by lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, leaving them with a lot more time on their hands
  • Pets… well, at least someone is benefitting in this scenario!

Everyone is getting antsy…

Although it's great to have a chance to connect with your immediate family, it's a huge change switching from a busy, hectic lifestyle where everyone is leading more or less independent lives to sheltering together at home.

And we are still online…

It can be hard enough to work out disagreements in real life. Add the frayed nerves we're all feeling due to this radical shift to this mostly online existence, and you have a collision waiting to happen. If it's within your family, there are ways to talk it out – but plenty of people take those frustrations and redirect them into online nastiness.

Feeling uncomfortable.

What starts off as a disagreement about absolutely anything can turn into:

  • Name-calling
  • Escalating personal threats
  • An increasing volume of threats
  • Negative interactions across multiple platforms (i.e. Facebook, Discord, Instagram)

And in the worst case, we see accounts getting hacked and personal data getting shared as dedicated trolls wreck havoc on not only your online life, but in your real life and the lives of your immediate family and friends.

Keep harassment from escalating to hacking

Now is a great time for everyone in the family to clean up their online data footprint and level-up on personal digital security.

  • Opt out of data wholesalers such as Axciom, Oracle, Epsilon
  • Have everyone in the family get together and help each other learn to use a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass. (Use our affiliate links to help support our small startup.)
  • Change a bunch of passwords for your most important accounts such as banking, social media, and file sharing.
  • Turn on 2-factor authentication so that you know if someone is trying to hack your account.

Herd immunity is not just for viruses

Now is the best time for your family and friends to work together on locking down your online footprint – either in person with those in your home, or using remote access tools like Zoom or Chrome Remote Desktop. The more protected each of us are, the stronger we are together online – and offline.