The web is a great place to learn new things, make friends, and have fun.
But not everything’s peachy – there actually is a dark side to the Internet.
Sadly, these are the kinds of problems you and your kids might be exposed to whenever you go online:
1. Hacker Eavesdropping
In a nutshell, that means people with bad intentions can spy on your web traffic whenever you use unsecured WiFi networks – basically, hotspots that don’t use passwords.
If there is no password, the network doesn’t use any encryption, so there’s nothing protecting your traffic.
What’s more, if you don’t properly secure your own home network, hackers can spy on it too.
What does that mean?
Well, it’s pretty bad – it means cybercriminals can intercept important data you share over the networks, like contact details, passwords, financial info, and much more.
You would think that a good way to avoid that is to make sure you and your kids steer clear of public WiFi, and that your own network uses encryption, right?
Public WiFi is everywhere, so avoiding it is pretty hard – unless you have an unlimited data plan.
Also, I’m sad to say this but even the WPA2 encryption (the standard security for networks) has its own flaws – it has a serious vulnerability hackers can exploit.
2. Creepy ISP Surveillance
ISPs are how you get your web access, so there shouldn’t be anything inherently bad about them. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
It’s not that they have bad intentions, but the way they provide their services violates your family’s privacy by default.
Because your ISP can see everything you and your kids do on the Internet:
- What websites you access.
- What you type on HTTP websites.
- How much time you spend on specific websites
- What files you download.
And so on.
Maybe that doesn’t seem so bad at first, but consider this – ISPs can actually sell your browsing history to advertisers if they want to!
So not only will advertisers know what your personal preferences and interests are, but they’ll know everything your kids like to do online too – from what videos they watch and what games they play to how they interact with social media sites.
Inevitably, your little ones are going to get bombarded with spammy and creepy targeted ads – especially on platforms like Google and YouTube.
3. Malware Infections
Malware is no joke – around 360,000 new samples flood the web every single day.
The really bad news is that adults can be tricked into downloading and installing malware on their devices.
So, you can imagine how simple it is for a hacker to take advantage of a child’s naivety and trustfulness. All it takes is a huge “DOWNLOAD NOW” button for an allegedly free game, and boom – your computers and network are infected.
And malware can give cybercriminals complete control over your devices. They can even use it to make your files and operating system inaccessible, forcing you to pay a huge ransom to get them back. And even then, there’s no guarantee that copies weren’t made.
How to Keep Your Family Safe on the Web
Just like that, the web suddenly seems like the Wild West, where everybody is out to get you.
Well, don’t worry too much about it. Here are some simple tools you can use to keep your entire family safe on the Internet:
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an online service that hides your IP address, and encrypts your Internet traffic.
Now, the “encrypt” part just means that the VPN makes your web traffic completely unreadable to anyone who tries to spy on it. It will just look like unreadable code to them.
See the benefit?
That means nobody will be able to monitor your online activities and communications – not hackers, not the government, not ISPs.
And by hiding your IP address, the VPN makes sure nobody can learn personal things about your family with it, like:
- What country you live in.
- What city you live in.
- Who your ISP is.
- What your ZIP code is.
It also makes it near impossible for advertisers to target you and your kids.
Best of all – you can actually set up a VPN on your home router. That way, any device that uses the web through the router will automatically use a secured VPN connection. Perfect for keeping your kids’ traffic safe, and – why not – their friends’ data too when they come over.
CyberGhost is the perfect choice in my opinion – It’s got really attractive pricing with money-back guarantees, it supports up to seven simultaneous secure connections, and – get ready for this – you get 5,700 servers to choose from!
If you want to find out more about the service (which I highly recommend doing), you should check out this CyberGhost VPN review from ProPrivacy. It’s got all the info you need, and it’s explained in simple terms, so you’ll have an easy time understanding everything.
There is also the use of a proxy server, you can learn more about a rotating proxy here.
Install Security Software on All Devices
VPNs are great for online security, but they can’t stop viruses and malware. Pairing up the service with antivirus/antimalware programs is the best line of defense.
Just make sure you install them on every single device. Also, run regular scans, and keep the software updated all the time.
Bitdefender is a nice choice. Not only does it offer great security software, but the company also has a Smart Home Cybersecurity Hub – basically an antivirus router that protects all your devices.
Oh, and don’t get confused about the antivirus/antimalware thing – they’re the same thing since a virus is a type of malware.
Use Password Managers
Apparently, 86% of passwords are just terrible.
I get it, though – coming up with strong separate passwords for each account, keeping track of them, and changing them regularly is not easy.
Well, a password manager can make it simple – it’s software that stores all your passwords in a digital vault. All you need is one master password to access them.
They can also auto-fill login fields, which is just perfect.