Celebrate Safer Internet Day by changing a password

Across the world, February 7 is “Safer Internet Day”, a day when we encourage everyone to become more aware of what they do on the Internet, as well as educate others about online activity.

This year, the theme is “connecting generations and educating each other”, and that’s got us thinking: we all have someone – young or old – who needs a little bit of help when it comes to understanding safety on the Internet.

Today, if you can, take some time to help them out with something basic: changing a password.

Most of us keep relatively basic passwords, but by changing our password on a semi-regular basis, we can go a long way to staying safe on the web, making it harder for would-be criminals to try and steal an identity.

You can even talk to your family to find out what a good password should have in it. Obviously we shouldn’t be talking about our passwords – SSH! Remember to keep it secret! – but communicate the message that a good password has both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and even other characters such as the exclamation mark and an at-sign.

It can even become a game, challenging members of the family to make creative ways to spell the original password using numbers, letters, and an exclamation mark or a symbol or two.

More than just passwords

There’s more to Internet safety than making a password that’s hard to guess, with information on privacy, safe searching, and cyber bullying all aspects of Safer Internet Day.

Last year, we spoke to Cisco on Safer Internet Day on how to protect your home network and were told to disable the SSID broadcasting as well as keep a password on our home network.

Telstra also dropped by to tell us that to say that safer net activities also include being aware of what you write on Facebook and other social networking services. Remember that workplaces, friends, and other people can usually find what you post on Facebook and Twitter, so think before you post.

There’s more you can do to educate yourself, your children, and even the grandparents on how to stay safe on the Internet, and the Australian government has a good resource for this, providing talking points, tips, and more for free.

Google has also provided us with a link to its own set of tools aimed at helping keep the web safer for kids and families, with SafeSearch and YouTube’s Safety Mode.