How to Communicate About Cybersecurity with your Loved Ones

In 2022, digital security has become a major concern for Americans.

According to a recent survey by identity theft protection company Aura, most people (87%) see cyberattacks as a bigger threat to their future than climate change or COVID-19.

And with good reason.

Since the start of the pandemic, cybercrime has flourished. During its first three months alone, attacks rose by 600%. And as the Colonial Pipeline hack has shown by causing fuel shortages along the entire East coast, breaches can easily affect large segments of the population.

Do you live together with your partner, children, parents, or grandparents? For their own digital safety and for yours, everyone around you needs to be aware of cybersecurity issues.

Here’s how to address digital security with your loved ones.

Assess Your Family’s Risks - And Make Sure Everyone Is Aware of Them

First, it’s crucial to actually take the time to ensure everyone is aware of how cybersecurity affects them. Especially members of the older generation and children often assume that hackers couldn’t possibly be interested in them.

Unfortunately, that’s not true. Many phishing scams specifically target older adults. And virtual identity theft often affects children, because their credit scores are rarely checked.

Start by talking to each family member about what risks affect them in particular.

For example, when older family members are using mobile apps or social media for the first time, it’s crucial to explain what data to share and what signs of fraud to watch out for. Similarly, talk to young children about how cybercriminals may try to befriend them on social media.

Set Security Rules for Your Devices and Network

Next, it’s important to set firm rules for your family’s devices, and especially your home network.

On phones and tablets, make sure that everyone’s security settings are high. This includes setting a strong passcode, enabling encryption and two-factor authentication, and turning on find-my-device features.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality cybersecurity platform. Many providers offer multi-device protection and family plans. Talk to your loved ones about the importance of using VPN on public WiFi, especially for sensitive transactions. And highlight how a password manager helps them eliminate one of the biggest vulnerabilities cybercriminals exploit - predictable passwords.

The second element to discuss when it comes to physical aspects of digital security is your home network. Your router is one of your family’s biggest targets for cybercriminals. It gives hackers access to all your online interactions. To protect yourself, you should enable WPA2 encryption, turn on your firewall, and change the default network name and admin credentials. It’s also important to change your password regularly - and control who has access to it.

This access is a major point you need to discuss with your family. Who do they allow to use your home network? Anyone who has your network credentials - and is then hacked themselves - can compromise you in turn.

Set Boundaries on Online Activities

A third element to talk about with your family when it comes to cybersecurity is online behavior.

Set down some ground rules on what must be kept absolutely private. This includes personal data like birthdates and social security numbers, but also answers to security questions on various platforms.

Discuss what can be shared on social media and what shouldn’t be. Especially with kids who might be following influencers online, it’s important to set boundaries when it comes to privacy settings on social media.

Another aspect you need to be clear on is what apps and programs your loved ones can download - and what they should be careful about.

Prepare an Emergency Strategy - and Backups

The final element of communicating to your family about cybersecurity is preparing for the worst. What do you do if a cyberattack succeeds? And how do you even realize that you’ve been breached?

To start with, make sure that everyone in your family is aware of the signs of a breach. You might also want to invest in an identity theft monitoring service, which checks if your information shows up anywhere in the dark web.

Then, talk about what to do if worse comes to worst. Who do you alert first? Who in your family is responsible for the process?

Finally, there’s one way that you can safeguard your data in advance. Make sure that your family has a coherent backup strategy. A simple way is investing in a cloud platform family plan and backing up all your devices regularly. That way, hackers will have less leverage during a ransomware attack, for instance.


Keeping your family safe online takes a lot of communication. Talking openly about cybersecurity risks, and the threats we all face every day in the digital sphere is crucial.

By evaluating your family’s risk, setting security rules for devices and online behavior, and outlining an emergency strategy, you’re well on your way to ensuring maximum security for your loved ones.
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