Bryson Blog

Teaching your kids about online safety

Young Canadians today are growing up in a new digital landscape. Most of them don’t even know a world without computers, digital video, cell phones, online games, and the Internet. Online communication is at the centre of their social world. In many cases, they have email addresses and personal online profiles before they get to middle school. Many of them have mobile phones to keep connected with friends by snapping photos, texting, and sharing conversations.

Growing up online can be a wonderful thing. There are many educational advantages to the Internet – but it can also be a very scary thing. This highly interconnected world comes hand in hand with constantly changing threats, and it’s important to realize the permanent record that it keeps. What your children say, post, and share online now can resurface and surprise them in their adult years.

We tell our children to look both ways when crossing the street, and teach them to not talk to strangers, but it’s also important to teach them to stay safe online. As a parent, you might feel like you don’t know the latest online risks or that you aren’t aware of what kids are doing online. Don’t worry; there are some trusted places you can go to for information to help you talk to your children about staying safe online.

Here are some tips to ensure your children grow up informed and protected (check out the info graphic below):

  • Talk to your children about what they are doing online and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material that they may come across.
  • Talk to them about the consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and saying negative things about other people — actions that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
  • Remind them that the Internet is a public space and it keeps a record. Things children do and say now could have implications down the road.

Set the example and show your kids how to be cyber safe.

Protect while you connect. More information is available online at GetCyberSafe.ca.

CLICK TO ENLARGEtalk to teens

 

 

 

Cyber Threats for Commercial Business - An aritcle by Linda Colgan

Prof LindaCyber risk through virus, spam, malware, data breach and extortion ranks amongst the predominant exposures crippling operations.  Entry of ill intended individuals into computer systems has evolved as systems and firewalls become more complex.   At one time risk management took into account the replacement of hardware and focused on the air cooled terminal hosted rooms when it referenced computer exposures.  Risk management still focuses on these areas but technology has advanced to such a degree that intense concentration has shifted to cyber threats and prevention of such. 

A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are man-made. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems. (source Webopedia).

If a virus infiltrates a computer system it has the potential to cause instant paralysis.  Computers have become the heart of the operations while the staff have evolved to being the arteries.   

It is not only the systems that create concern but depending on how serious the threat is the company’s reputation is also at stake.  If a system has been hacked the reputation of the company instantaneously starts to erode.   It is imperative that at the offset immediate action and containment is evident in order to preserve the reputation and cement confidence to providers and vendors that a company has invested in containing the exposure and proactive measures have been triggered to remedy the violation.  Immediate action is needed to instill confidence that access to outside providers has been eliminated.  

A virus can cause devastating effects on company operations.  Back up methods will not be prompt remedies if the virus infiltrated the system and affected the sole glimmer of hope.  Even if the backup can restore the system, IT will have to ensure that the virus has not contaminated the back up and run several checks before reinstalling programs.  All precious time lost and in the interim the credibility of the company to their customers and providers continues to diminish. 

Investment of security and recovery management are commonplace from the simplest to the most unique computer systems.  Management should also review implementing restrictions to users of the system that enforces limitation or access to sites that are vulnerable to tracking and permitting access of viruses.  Internal systems should also redirect spam from the regular users thus creating a more limited access of infiltration of spam/malware.  A disaster plan should be created internally and include pre and post implementation with all staff.  Users are the most vulnerable conduit in permitting viruses to seep into a computer system.  This audience should be alerted to the importance of regular password changes, email etiquette, how to identify potential spam correspondence (web sites can be easily created to appear quite similar to familiar web sites however the HTTP identification is not) and what to do with unfamiliar emails.  All should be outlined, available in corporate manuals and discussed at the offset of employment.

Management should also speak to all users about internally system protocol, who the main contact will be for any system issues, expectations for laptop security, cell phones, access to company computers through personal computers, email etiquette and USB data to list a few topics of consideration.    Management should engage with discussions on cyber insurance with their insurance Brokers to compliment and reduce the financial exposures. 

Identity and cyber theft exposures are vastly expanding.  Thieves are becoming more sophisticated so early detection of victimization is unequivocally important.  It is essential that every effort be made to educate and reduce risk at every level internally to minimize the exposure of data and cyber breach.

Linda Colgan has been an Insurance Broker in the transportation industry since 1986 and is Senior Account Executive with Bryson & Associates Insurance Brokers Ltd. Feel free to email Linda at lcolgan@brysoninsurance.ca

This article first appeared in the Ontario Trucking News.