National Internet Safety Month: Tips for Online and Off

June 02, 2015
By: Steve Anderson

June is a wonderful month for a lot of people out there. The official start of summer, the start of strawberry season for North America, summer festivals, weddings, and a host of others—not to mention summer vacation for the kids—all show up in June. But June is also National Internet Safety Month, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is offering up some fresh words of wisdom to help ensure online safety all summer long, and beyond.

The NCSA has joined up with ConnectSafely to provide some simple, easy-to-use measures to help bolster online security, and make it easier to enjoy the huge array of options offered by the Internet. There will be a “briefing session” at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington on June 8 in which ConnectSafely and the NCSA will offer up a presentation, and the duo has also broken down recommendations by more specific use cases.

Planning a trip this summer? Those planning to hit the road will likely do so with devices in tow, and the NCSA / ConnectSafely group has recommendations ready to go. Consider using password protection on all devices, performing updates on software before leaving where possible, and using two-factor authentication where available. Also, it's recommended that users keep online use as anonymous and generic as possible when connecting to public Wi-Fi, avoiding mobile commerce and keeping even things like email to a minimum.

But the tips won't stop at travel; summer socializing also gets some tips including watching the content that's shared and trying to “be nice” to others online. Arranging real-world meetings is also somewhat contraindicated, but letting others know about said meetings and setting these up for public places is also encouraged. The tips also extend to online gaming, kids and smartphones, and even what to do with digital connections during and shortly after a wedding; for instance, posting pictures online during the honeymoon may sound great, but it also lets criminals know that the poster is nowhere near home.

Some of these tips will sound like the lowest of the low-rent tripe. Honestly, how did “be nice on the Internet” ever merit specific mention? There are also several points at which the ultra-generic “make stronger passwords!” tip emerges, a joke of a tip if ever I've heard one. The last thing anyone needs is a “strong password” that no one can remember. Password managers and USB sticks aside, it's a generic tip. Still, there are some good ones in here—we could all stand a reminder about not posting pictures while on the road, and making sure the pictures posted wouldn't be objected to down the line by, say, future employers—and everyone can stand a little refresher course now and then.

Summer is a great time for getting out and seeing the world, but it's also important to note the basic safety measures that help protect us all, both online and off. So put on a little extra sunscreen, keep hydrated, and change your email password to help make summer a more relaxing and fun occasion for all. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi