Play some 'Financial Football' designed by Visa to learn more about cybersecurity
By: Marc Saltzman - Special to USA Today
While cyber-attackers strike all year round, October, designated as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, is an ideal time to cover how to best protect yourself from online threats that can compromise your devices and data.
This annual educational campaign has occurred since 2004, but for the first time Khan Academy, the popular nonprofit that provides free educational lessons to learners of all ages, has partnered with tech giant Google to create courses and videos loaded with tips to helping you stay safe online.
In fact, this Khan Academy Internet Safety Course features Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, who paired up with Google security experts to provide actionable advice to keep online accounts secure, browse the web safely, detect phishing attempts and more.
"A lot of parents know about Khan Academy because their kids use Khan Academy at school," says Khan, in an email interview with USA TODAY. "Tens of millions of learners, teachers and parents use our exercises, software and videos every month, and increasingly we are partnering with school districts serving underserved communities to accelerate the learning of their students."
"Our internet safety course can help parents. And really, I mean any grownup, anywhere, stay safe online," Khan adds. "Learn how to keep devices and accounts safe, how to recognize scams, and how to protect your personal data while shopping online. What's more, all the lessons are free."
The Khan Academy partnership was announced by Google back on Feb. 7 ("Safer Internet Day"), but has just launched in time for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Interviewed by Khan, the four Google speakers and topics are as follows:
Guemmy Kim, product management director, account security, at Google
- How to keep your online accounts secure
- Why creating a strong password really matters
- Yes, you need a password manager. Here’s why.
- Should I give my mobile number to a website?
- Take a security check-up
Mark Risher, product management director, Android
- What do we mean by device security? Why should we care about this?
- How passwords and screen locks help protect you
- What can I do to protect my devices?
- How can I keep all my smart devices secure?
Kelly Hope Harrington, senior staff software engineer, Google
- Intro to safe browsing
- Why you should actually read the URL and be careful with free Wi-Fi
- What’s private or incognito mode?
- Does it really matter what browser I chose?
- How to stay safe shopping
Grace Hoyt, head of account security partnerships, Google
- How to avoid phishing attempts. However it's spelled, it's bad news
- Wait have I just been attacked? What do I do now?
- What can I do to protect my account?
- What are common scams I should be aware of?
Games as an educational tool
Another impactful approach to education is to make it playable.
Folding in cybersecurity elements, but focusing mostly on money management, the free Visa Financial Soccer is back again, but with new features ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022. Also timely, as this week was "National Savings Day," on Oct. 12.
Players answer a series of multiple-choice questions, at various levels of difficulty, to advance down the pitch for a chance to score a goal.
This new 2022 version includes both personal finance and small business game modes, among other new features like the opportunity to play both men's and women's teams and tournaments (including FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023), and support for more languages and devices than personal computers, including an iOS and Android mobile app for smartphones and tablets.
"Knowledge is the most important financial tool you can have, yet people might view financial education as something that's difficult or not particularly interesting," said Hugh Norton, senior director for Visa’s Social Impact team, in a phone interview with USA TODAY.
"And so, Financial Soccer helps makes this important topic fun and engaging," adds Norton. "We feel it's a really fantastic way of imparting knowledge, helping people figure out and take control of their financial lives, so they're making more informed financial decisions."
Only one-in-three adults globally are estimated to have a basic understanding of financial concepts, according to a survey from Standard & Poor's, while only 57 percent of American credit card owners correctly answered the survey's basic interest-focused question.
Examples of questions in Visa Financial Soccer:
Net income is:
- Small coins like pennies and nickels
- Money the government wastes
- Your income after taxes have been deducted (correct answer)
- None of the above
In evaluating creditworthiness, an individual's capacity:
- Is a summary of their payment history
- Is their net income, after taxes
- Refers to how much debt they can handle (correct answer)
- Is a calculation of all existing assets
More cybersecurity related questions
Practicing good digital security may include:
- Avoiding unsecured public Wi-Fi
- Using a VPN
- Using two-factor authentication
- All of the above (correct answer)
Things to do when your identity is stolen include:
- Contacting all of your card issuers
- Filing a police report
- Changing banks
- Both 1 and 2 (correct answer)
Other helpful platforms tied to financial literacy include Capital One's Money & Life Program, which includes digital tools (micro financial exercises, workshops and one-on-one mentoring), and Money by QuickBooks, a free mobile app designed to give users control over their money and help manage expenses.
Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.