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Online Safety

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In today's tech-savvy world, criminals can make their way into your life without ever leaving the comfort of home. Incidents of online bullying and cybercrime are on the rise across the country and everyone needs to educate themselves in order to safeguard against cybercrimes.

For many York Region residents, social distancing has meant more screen time at home. Whether it's work or play, be sure to follow our tips to ensure your screen time is safeguarded.

Working From Home?

Here are some cyber-security tips to consider:

  1. Does your organization have policies about telework? If so, make sure you read and comply with them to keep any sensitive information safe.
  2. When working from home make sure your network is secure. If you're on Wi-Fi use WPA2 or WPA3 security and make sure your network password is hard to guess.
  3. If your employer uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN), use that on your telework device for increased security.
  4. If you have to use a device for telework that's not provided by your organization, make sure you've enabled basic security features.
  5. Ensure all electronic devices used for telework are patched and updated. Most have an option to install updates automatically.
  6. If you see suspicious activity on a telework device, contact your organization's help desk or security operations centre to report the activity.

It's also important to safegaurd your data, including work files, family photos, home videos and personal documents. The following are tips on how to keep your information safe:

  1. Follow the 3-2-1- Backup Rule. Keep three copies of data - one primary and two backups. Keep your data on two types of storage, such as a local drive, external hard drive or USB. Store one copy offsite, such as a secure physical location or in the cloud. 
  2. Have a System. Organize your data using folders and sub-folders to ensure all of your critical information is saved. Make sure folders are properly named for easy recovery, if needed.
  3. Secure Your Information. Use passwords and encryption on your back ups to increase data security.
  4. Consider Automation. Consider an online backup or file-syncing service, which eliminates the need for you to plug in an external hard drive.
  5. Check Yourself. Be sure to periodically check to make sure your backups are working correctly.

Is Your Child a Gamer?

Follow our tips to make sure they are playing it safe.

  1. Game with your kids. Even if you're not a gamer, this is an opportunity to bond, communicate and understand the online platforms your children use.
  2. Skip the profile. If a user profile isn't required to access the game, have your child skip this step. Information in a user profile may be publicly accessible.
  3. Create a safe username. If a username is required, don't use your child's name, date of birth or hometown. Select something non-identifiable, such as a favourite superhero or cartoon character.
  4. Think before you speak. Online games may contain chat options. Remind your child not to share personal information when chatting and that people online aren't always who they claim to be. If possible, consider disabling the chat feature.
  5. Don't tolerate abuse. If your child is being bullied or threatened, you can report this to the game providers and/or police.
  6. Buyer beware. Many platforms offer in-game purchases. Be sure that any purchase your child makes is through the game's official platform, not an unofficial site that could contain viruses or malicious software.
  7. Give it a rest. Ensure that your child does not spend extended periods gaming. Set and enforce reasonable screen time limits and redirect your child to other activities.