“I’m not a perfect mom.” There I said it. I rely heavily on others to help me get through the day. What I mean by that is I rely on my friends like ‘Bucks (as in Starbucks), Annie (as in Annie’s Organic), and others who truly make life easier for a busy work-at-home mom.
When it comes to my business, I’m a master in the art most days. When it comes to parenting, that’s another story. I let a few bad words slip now and then (okay, every day). I feed my kids processed foods (in moderation, of course). I let my two and five year olds play with the iPad unsupervised.
What? You don’t?
Many stay-at-home moms excel in their own line of work but fail to understand how to keep their business and entire household safe from hackers, spammers and every other scary internet creeps.
Here are some of the ways to keep yourself, your business and your kids safe online.
Emails & Phishing
Email is a great resource for work-from-home moms, making work quick and convenient. However, emails can be a major source of risk. One of the biggest risks is something called “phishing.” Phishing is where criminals try to get hold of sensitive data by pretending to be somebody legitimate. For instance, they pretend to be your bank sending you an email saying your account will be shut down unless you “verify your account.”
But don’t worry; there are precautions that you can take to protect yourself. Often, phishing emails are designed to deliberately scare you. The idea is to get your account information as quickly as possible before you figure out what’s going on. But there are tell-tale signs that the phishing email is a scam. For instance, any email that asks for sensitive account information is unlikely to be legitimate. This applies even if the wording is particularly clever, such as “verify your account.” Also, make sure to check that the email address and any hyperlinks are valid. Be suspicious of any emails that have no other personal information, or look as if they have been churned out en masse.
Weaknesses in your home Wi-Fi can put your business at risk. Inadequate security doesn’t just mean your neighbors can use your router. It means that anybody passing by can steal your information.
Here’s what to do. First, change your router’s username and password. Some routers come with default passwords, making it easy for other people to access and change your settings. Next, set up a new Wi-Fi password that contains both numbers and letters. These are the hardest to guess. Finally, change your security to WPA or WPA2 as this is the only viable encryption technology available today.
Free Online Security…
…That Actually Works
Work-from-home moms need to recognize that passwords are not always enough to keep them protected on the internet. While it’s true that passwords are rarely hacked, they are frequently stolen by other methods. For instance, we’ve already discussed the issue of phishing. But people also have their credentials stolen when they are stolen from a company with which they do business. Passwords, therefore, aren’t a failsafe way to protect your sensitive information online.
One of the biggest mistakes that moms make is using the same password for multiple accounts. Given that the average person has to remember 19 passwords, it’s not surprising that they do this. But it means that once one of your accounts is compromised, they all are. You should, therefore, use different passwords for each account you create.
Work-at-home moms want to keep their kids safe online. But what can they actually do? The first line of defense is to use web filters. These block all websites and content that has been deemed inappropriate for children. Don’t worry, you can still create exceptions if a site gets accidentally blocked. Just cut and paste the URL for the site into the web filter’s exceptions list.
If your child has their own smartphone, you’ll have to disable adult content separately. Both Apple and Android devices have a parental filter setting in their settings panel. Go into the settings panel and turn the parental filter on.
Social Media Safety
There is, however, a solution. It’s called “two-factor identification.” Here, when you log into your social media account from a new location, a code is sent to your phone. You can only access your account from the new location if you type in this code. Thus, even if hackers do get hold of your password, they still can’t access your account.
I communicate with a lot of other bloggers and many have recently said that this two-factor identification has saved their Instagram account numerous times.
Register on or before November 3, 2016 to be eligible to win a gift card for a MacBook Pro or Apple Watch. No purchase necessary. This is just Sophos’ way to say thanks for making your home and the internet a safer place.