CIRA’s Back To School Security Checklist

Widespread use of smartphones means kids are leaving a larger digital footprint than ever before. With a new school year beginning, CIRA offers some excellent tips to make sure that kids stay secure when they use their mobile devices, particularly on public networks.

Use strong passwords in all cases

The necessary strength of a password differs from system to system, but in general, use a password that contains no actual words and ensure it is longer than ten characters. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Be sure to use upper and lower case letters as well.

Never use the same password for more than one account

It can be difficult to juggle multiple strong passwords in your head, but if you find it difficult to memorize a lot of different passwords, password manager programs are now capable of storing and deploying passwords automatically. These programs are secured with either a Master Password of its own or biometrics such as FaceID in the case of Apple iOS, which ensure that you and only you have access to them.

Use passphrases

Simple passwords built around a single word can be cracked far easier than a longer phrase that only you would know. Consider expanding an existing weaker password into a passphrase, not only introducing more characters, but more chances to use numbers, uppercase and special characters to harden your password further.

Never Share Your Password

Many online organizations are up-front that they will never ask you for your password, but phishing scams will masquerade as those organizations claiming to require it for continued use of the service. Be mindful of how official emails look, where they are coming from and above all, never share your password with anybody else.

Use two-factor authentication

A lot of online services, particularly social media make use of two-factor authentication to protect their users. This is often not configured by default, so review the platforms you make use of to check if they have an option for two-factor authentication.


To conclude, it’s a good idea to review your passwords for critical programs at regular periods and replace them with new passwords. Password managers can assist so you don’t have to memorize a lot of long unwieldy passwords. Just like the trip to school, it’s a good idea to make it a habit.