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Vassilis / flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

6 tips to keep your family safe online this Thanksgiving

Working as the designated computer technician can be a drag.


William Turton


Posted on Nov 25, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 2:33 pm CDT

It’s that time of the year again. You’re making the trek back to your family’s house, and they have a lot of questions: About your career, love life, voting patterns, and then—just when you think it’s over—a request to look at the family computer.

Working as the designated computer technician can be a drag. Thankfully, there are easy ways to set up your family members to keep them protected online.

1) Update their software

The most effective thing anyone can do to protect against malware is to regularly update all of their software. Developers will release patches that will plug security holes. Update their operating system to the latest patch and do the same on all of the software on their respective devices.

2) Two-step verification

Almost everything has two-factor verification built in nowadays. Gmail,the majority of online banking service, Facebook all have two-factor verification. This adds an extra step of verification—usually a short code sent to a mobile phone—to verify the user logging in.

3) Ditch the default browsers, install Chrome

Say goodbye to Safari and Internet Explorer, Chrome is the way to go. Its frequent patches make it one of the most secure browsers. 

4) Ad Blockers

Ads are unsightly, annoying, and they can carry malware. There’s no use in displaying ads. Avoid them at all costs. AdBlock Plus will do, but the best solution is uBlock Origin.

5) Signal

Encrypted chatting is all the rage, and Signal is the best app for the job. Available on both Android and iOS, Signal is the Edward Snowden messaging application that has a simplistic UI anyone can understand.  

6) Manage those dense, weird passwords

Strong, unique passwords are a must, but they can oftentimes be hard to remember. Use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass to store passwords, and make sure you keep a paper copy of the master password.

These simple steps will make your family a helluva lot more secure online, and it’s pretty damn easy. Save yourself the panicked phone calls, follow these steps, and welcome to cybersecurity nirvana.  

Photo via Vassilis/Flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Nov 25, 2015, 11:00 am CST