Do not just jump on the internet, a social media page, or an ‘MMO’ (Massively Multiplayer Online) game before taking proactive security measures. First, one should update their anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spamware, anti-ransomware, and firewall software every day, and run the related diagnostic system checks regularly, either automatically or manually. (A point of personal privilege: This writer does each of those functions every day. Every. Single. Day.) Those defenses are certainly not perfect, but as an older media commentator named Ben Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”4
This is a simple enough routine, and is replicated in other non-online fields. Here, for example, is a pre-takeoff checklist for an airline pilot (please notice how many items are on that list).
We can even ‘dial it down a notch’. Before we send children out into the rain, we put raincoats on them. Which prevents them from becoming wet.
Taking a few moments before logging on can go a long way towards cybersecurity.
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There ‘you’ are online. Where there is seemingly an infinite and no-cost ‘garden of delights’. But the implications of those ‘delights’ may not be so ‘delightful’. What looks good enough can be or become a pathway to exploitation, to obsession, to compulsion, to privacy violations, to instructions on violence, racism, and hatred, and even to complex cooking videos (alright, those can be pretty good…).
In the long, long, long time television program “Let’s Make a Deal”5, at certain points during the game show host Monty Hall offered a contestant to choose a prize from door number 1, 2, or 3. (This actually gives rise to a philosophical probability quandary called the “Monty Hall Problem”. 6) What does that have to do with cybersecurity? Simply put, as the “Let’s Make a Deal” players had to take a beat before they make a door selection, online users should do likewise before proceeding.
Make a conscious, intentional choice before clicking.
And look over the children’s shoulders (actually or virtually) to monitor their digital actions. Which does not mean being a ‘helicopter’ or ‘bulldozer’ parent; rather, it means being aware of what minors do. (Case-in-point: ‘You’ look at a medicine bottle to be sure of what is being given the children, so being aware is no innovative venture.)
Finally (?), ‘you’ must stay attuned to developing trends and devices and methods to use them in as low risk a manner as possible. In 2005 when National Cybersecurity Month began online life was still effectively in the ‘stone age’. Certainly there was the beginning of desktop computers and rudimentary (dial-up…) online activities. There were flip-phones. There was cable television. Now look where society is today in terms of information technology progress. The ‘smartphone’ next to this writer has enormously more computing power than desktops 14 years ago. (But does it really make one ‘smart’ which is the topic for a different venue.)
And where will that lead? Hard to tell. One must be a bit of a visionary to perceive the directions the digital world will take. One can be an early adopter, a ‘Luddite’ like non-adopter, or (like this writer) a careful observer of developments and then, after having an appreciation of the risks and benefits, a plain vanilla user.
There are plenty of resources available to learn the ‘next big things’, their pros, their cons, and the ways to use them and keep them safe. Being a proactive risk management ‘evangelist’, this writer typically studies the field and then creates (and actually implements) routines to attend to that management. Again, it is not a perfect process, but much like maintaining a vehicle on a schedule, it is one which can avoid ‘cyber headaches’. Which can duplicate many times over when youth use of online resources is added to the mix.
Make a conscious, intentional choice before clicking.
The theme of this article has, then, emerged. Be #CyberAware. Every. Single. Day.
Happy National Cybersecurity Month!
1 For two later versions of the resolution see https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/senate-resolution/285 and https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/senate-resolution/306
2 https://staysafeonline.org/press-release/stay-cyber-aware-internet-safety-month/ and https://identity.utexas.edu/id-perspectives/internet-safety-month-resources-for-parents
– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Warrington College of Business Administration. And is now the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.