Family Life


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Web-savvy family: Busting our cybersecurity myths

As parents we take hundreds, if not thousands, of precautions to ensure our children are safe and protected: sunscreen, life jackets, helmets, seat belts, etc. We use best safety practices and measures that were handed down from our own parents, and educate ourselves on everything from hand sanitizer use, to chicken pox remedies and hazardous toys. But where we, as parents, need to further inform ourselves is in the area of online safety and how to keep our families protected.

To help us navigate through the ever-changing online world, our team at Norton has pulled together a top seven list of myths people have – and of course what the realities actually are. To read the full list, click here.

Here are my top three commonly held misconceptions around cybersecurity that affect your family!

Myth: Viruses and other malicious software (“malware”) only affect computers and laptops.
Reality: Mobile malware, which affects smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, increased by 58 per cent last year. This malware can steal information such as phone numbers and e-mail addresses (32 percent of the time), or use the phone’s GPS to track the user (19 percent of the time).

Myth: Free antivirus software on my computer provides complete protection.
Reality: “Ransomware” (which cybercriminals use to lock you out of your computer unless you pay their “ransom”), is one example of the trend toward increasingly vicious malware, which is known for being harder to undo, more aggressive and more professional than other malware. This malware requires protection beyond what basic, free antivirus software can offer.

Myth: I’ll know right away if my computer is infected.
Reality: Cybercriminals today rely on stealth—the longer they’re on your machine undetected, the more damage they can do. Your computer could even be part of a “botnet,” which is a network of remotely controlled computers that send spam e-mails or participate in widespread attacks—and you might not even know it.

Protecting your family doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. But it does require getting informed! Now you’re on step closer – happy surfing.

Lynn Hargrove is the Director of Consumer Solutions for Symantec Canada

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