Malware is just a step-away when children simply click on games, free shoes, Justin Bieber video clips or gift certificates offered on social networking sites. Online hackers use public technological innovation techniques to manipulate children’s fascination and easily persuade them to simply click appealing surveys and video clips. These may expose computers to malware, which steals sensitive information and sends it to a remote server controlled by cyber thieves.
Kids could also be attracted to click on a malware-infected weblink if they try to set up programs to check out their profile or photo visitors. With children keeping in touch with friends they hardly ever see over the summer break, action on Facebook or myspace, Tweets and other social networking sites increases. So does the risk of clicking a harmful weblink unknowingly shared by a friend.
Animated tool bars, no cost games, no cost movies, and no cost music that kids search out on the internet can also lead to spyware, a type of viruses that gathers private information from it without the users’ knowledge. This could have serious repercussions, particularly if it’s a shared system where parents store important data.
Android malware is another danger for kids this summer and usually propagates in rogue applications that pose as legitimate. Depending on their age, kids are most tempted to click on no cost or cracked malicious versions of the most popular Android games.
Identity Theft is another danger for kids on the Internet this summer. With an increasing number of kids shopping online and paying with their parents’ credit cards, phishing websites can easily persuade kids to send credentials directly into attackers’ hands. With the stolen data, phishers can empty bank accounts in seconds.
Though they only represent two per cent of all phishing websites, the sites that most capable of tempting children host games. The most targeted brands are Habbo, Blizzard, World of Warcraft, and Runescape, according to Bitdefender Labs.
Here are a few tips to keep kids safe online:
- Talk to them about the main risks and consequences of using webcams, sharing personal information on chat rooms, social networks, and Instant Messenger, clicking on junk e-mails, unknown links or attachments.
- Establish a regular, security-themed family gathering to learn together about malware, identity theft, cyber-bullying, cyber-baiting (when children provoke teachers to the breaking point, record the incident, then post it online), online sex predators, and social networking dangers.
- Block inappropriate content with filtering software before kids see it. Monitor the websites children visit by checking the history feature on your browser or installing parental control software.
- To keep track of your children and protect your computer, use antivirus software that includes parental control features. The software allows parents to receive extensive reports on their children’s Facebook activity, restrict web access to certain hours, protect them from real-world threats with GPS tracking, and more.
- Do not let the child use the home PC with administrative privileges. This way, they can’t install applications on the machine, minimizing the risk of running infected or pirated applications.
- Keep your Flash and Java distributions up to date, as children’s favorite destination, casual online games intensively use these technologies which are easy to exploit.