New Product Donation Program Supports Domestic Violence Survivors
Norton donates 5,000 licenses to help protect survivors of domestic abuse
By: Erin Gallegos, Corporate Responsibility Manager
Technology abuse is an increasingly common part of domestic violence. Many abusers use technology like stalkerware to track their partners’ device activity, location and movements, email and online messages, and browsing histories. Intimate partner violence often involves financial abuse, in which abusers steal their partner’s identity, improperly access online accounts or ruin their credit scores. There is a critical need to ensure survivors and advocates understand tech-facilitated abuse, its impact and how to identify it. They also need digital tools that can help.
Providing Free Products to Domestic Violence Survivors
Our newest product donation initiative is dedicated to providing survivors with the information and tools to help them lead their online lives safely and confidently.
Through this unique program, Norton, a part of Gen, is donating up to 5,000 free product licenses to survivors of domestic violence to help them recover from financial or technological abuse. These licenses will be distributed by eligible organizations that are members of the Safe Shelter Collaborative and TechSoup will help facilitate the donations, for which organizations can apply online.
Norton 360 Deluxe, one of the products offered through the new donation program, can prevent activity or location tracking, information theft, installation of malicious programs and uninvited changes to devices. We are also offering Norton Secure VPN as a standalone product, which protects a person’s online privacy by hiding the computer’s address from websites visited from any device. Eligible organizations may request up to 100 licenses of each product, which then must be distributed to survivors of domestic abuse.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is another nonprofit partner of ours – which represents the 56 U.S. state and territorial domestic violence coalitions, who in turn represent more than 2,000 local programs and the millions of survivors they serve annually – also collaborated on the new pilot program.
Learning Good Cyber Hygiene
According to Armin Waiscek, Senior Research Manager at Gen, good cyber hygiene is diligence, care and human judgment, and it’s an important part of an online safety plan. “Security software is extremely important, as is education on Cyber Safety awareness. This involves day-to-day vigilance and learning how to spot the signs that someone has access to, or is trying to access your online accounts, devices or location.”
Waiscek offered tips on how important cyber hygiene is to domestic violence survivors. “Through our work with NNEDV, we have learned survivors often need help to secure their digital assets, remove or stop using shared accounts, and create accounts on clean devices that haven’t been accessed by their abusers,” he said.
Here are a few suggestions to improve cyber hygiene:
- Create a list of all platforms, systems and devices that are in use.
- Change passwords to all accounts or create new accounts.
- Update any online accounts that are accessible through Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Apple ID log-ins.
- Use unique passwords that exclude personally identifiable information (i.e., birthdays, names, pet names, etc.).
- Utilize a (new) password manager to track passwords and to create strong, unique passwords
Maximizing Our Social Impact
This pilot program exemplifies our continued large-scale effort to align our volunteering, giving and product donation programs for maximum impact. In addition to this program, we have provided training and technical assistance to NNEDV for years. In 2022, we announced a $100,000 grant each year for three years to NNEDV to support the organization’s Safety Net technology abuse response initiative, as well as its Economic Justice program. We are also a founding member of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, which was formed to help keep malicious technology like stalkerware and creepware out of the hands of abusers.
To learn more, visit the new donation program landing page.