Thriving with Resilience: On Personal Security Preparedness

As you participate in online communities are you protecting yourself from being catfished or cybercrime and cyberbullies? Read out tips to help you stay secure online.

Tips for Personal Security Preparedness

Privacy and confidentiality are critically important for LGBTQ youth, especially for those who do not have supportive families or live in communities with a dislike for the queer community.

LGBTQ youth of color often face additional stress and adverse impacts on their health and well-being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities.

As you participate in online communities make sure they encourage inclusivity and provide you as an LGBTQ with safe spaces for your personal growth, learning and interaction.

 

Practicing good digital hygiene

As you build a supportive community online, ensure you also protect yourself from cyber crime. This can be done by practicing good digital hygiene, which was described by Glebstein (2006) as an activity that explores how users create an environment that best protects their data and devices.

Good digital hygiene helps to protect you from an ever-growing list of online threats including malicious emails, social engineering, phishing scams, cyber harassment, hacking accounts and devices, stealing private data, and malware attacks to name a few. This is especially true considering that 90% of data breaches in 2019 were caused by human error according to a Kaspersky Labs’ report (Spadafora, 2019). Beyond protecting you and your data, good digital hygiene also protects the privacy of your network keeping them away from risk.

Here are some tips to help you practice good digital hygiene:

  • Use a reputable antivirus and malware software
  • Update software regularly
  • Use passwords that follow security protocols
  • Organize and backup files online regularly
  • Optimize settings - firewalls, multi factor authentication
  • Regularly review and organize email
  • Pay attention to content you download
  • Change personal wifi names to something less identifiable
  • Don’t use public wifi to access websites that require your personal details
  • Use safe browsers and HTTPS connections when possible

 

Emergency response plan and checklist

When you are engaging online you need to be on the lookout to protect yourself and your data. Protecting yourself requires you to have an emergency response plan that is ready and executable when you get into some trouble online.

To begin, an emergency response plan is a documented series of steps you will take during a critical event to ensure your safety and minimize the impact on your personal or online safety. This plan requires proactivity and should be created well before an emergency ever comes up, it should include predictable scenarios and a scenario

The 5 main components of a good emergency action plan are Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Here’s our recommended checklist for a personal emergency response plan covering these components:

  1. Assess your risk - what are your vulnerabilities and weaknesses online
  2. Create a plan - this should be designed in response to your specific needs and the vulnerabilities and weaknesses identified in 1. The plan should provide solutions to cater for immediate priorities, are easy to access and remember. Using online checklists and toolkits will help to effectively manage the situation.
    1. When creating this plan – find out from reputable sources their recommended plan or measures. E.g. in an online group or community find out if the administrators have come up with measures to help protect members online.
    2. Possible vulnerabilities and weaknesses include: Privacy and data security breach, scams, fraud, malware, viruses, ransomware, and phishing to name a few.
    3. Possible solutions include: maintaining good cyber hygiene, using good browsing practices, avoiding suspicious emails and downloads, creating strong passwords (10 characters or more, At least one uppercase letter, At least one lowercase letter, At least one number, At least one special character), using updated antivirus software, and multi factor authentication to name a few.
  3. Identify and assign roles – identify the people you need to reach out to when trouble strikes. E.g. include the contact details for the group(s) administrator(s), identify technical and legal contacts who can give you advice or help you execute the plan.
    1. During this step also come up with a draft communication strategy to figure out how you will reach out to the various actors and which areas they will be helping you deal with.
  4. Reporting and alerting authorities
    1. Finally, identify any risks that might translate to causing you physical harm and come up with an evacuation strategy including facilities you will require e.g. police, safe house, LGBTQ+ Organizations around you and other resources.

Are you interested in developing a more robust checklist or contact list? Reach out to us and we can provide some resources for you to consider.

 


References

Gelbstein, E. D. (2006). Good Digital Hygiene A guide to staying secure in cyberspace [E-book]. bookboon.

Spadafora, A. (2019, May 8). 90 percent of data breaches are caused by human error. Techradar. Retrieved June 11, 2022, from https://www.techradar.com/news/90-percent-of-data-breaches-are-caused-by-human-error


QAN Community Admin

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