Introduction

American families are spending more time online than ever before. We browse the internet, post to social media, buy products, send emails, and monitor our finances on an ever-expanding array of devices—from computers, smartphones, and tablets to internet- connected watches and smart speakers. It has never been easier to digitally manage almost any part of our personal and professional lives.

But the convenience of our connected world comes with a price. Bad actors can take advantage of security flaws in our devices to access sensitive personal information— our phone numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, and more. They use this information to steal our identities, allowing them to purchase goods or take out loans in our names. Sorting through the wreckage from a stolen identity is time-consuming and stressful, even when we don’t lose money in the end.

Preventing our information from getting into the wrong hands can sometimes seem complicated and overwhelming, but it does not have to be this way. Created with the insights of cybersecurity experts at Duke University and throughout the country, this guide includes ten easy and actionable steps that we can all take to secure our digital lives. It is possible to protect ourselves and the people we love online—and it’s easier than you might imagine.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at cybersecurityforfamilies@duke.edu.