How to protect your kids from Malware or Ransomware

Cyberspace presents a lot of unknowns and can be a scary place for children alike. Kids embrace the Internet as a world of fantasy and expect unbridled freedoms, which mean most do not have a clue that cyber attacks are right around the corner.

Parents need to warn children of all ages about the hidden dangers online and how to protect themselves from cyber-predators, bullies, scammers, and overall people wishing them harm. Also, kids should avoid negative Internet behaviour that could challenge them or their parents legally.

 As more and more children enter into cyberspace, it is imperative that adults practice good Internet security.

Install a Virtual Private Network

Typically, when a child tries to access a website on the internet, they start by connecting to the internet service provider (ISP). The provider redirects the kid to any websites (or other online resources).

All internet traffic passes through the ISP servers, which means they can see and log everything the child does online. They may even track and share browsing history to advertisers, government agencies, and other third parties.

A virtual private network redirects internet traffic through a specially configured remote server. This way, the VPN hides the IP address and encrypts all the data that the kid sends or receives. The encrypted data looks like a crumpled mess to anyone who intercepts it — it is impossible to read.

It offers the highest level of protection for children anywhere on the internet.

Keep Passwords Secret and Strong

Passwords not only grant access but are also meant to offer a level of protection for PC users. Adults should teach children the importance of creating strong passwords and why they should never share it with anyone. Here are safe password security measures:

  • Do not reveal it to anyone and don’t write it down, not even if someone asks for this information by email.
  • Offer memorable ways to create a password, but make sure it is secure.
  • When using public computers, avoid accessing sensitive websites requiring a username and secret password. It is simple for cybercriminals to inject public PCs with Trojan keyloggers or malicious programs known for stealing passwords, usernames, bank, or credit card information.
  • Practice and preach the necessity of changing passwords on occasion and coincide the update with a memorable date or event to make it seamless.

Safe Web Surfing

Cybercriminals target children who spend countless hours on the Internet surfing. Cybercriminals set up websites solely for malicious purposes and have managed to get these infectious domains listed on reputable search engines such as Google. Because of these deceptive tactics, surfing the web can be dangerous.

Parents should teach children about the deception behind a lot of websites and malware on the Internet and use preventative measures, including software program and tools, to further protect them.

  • Discourage blind clicking on dubious links or pop-up ads. Kids and adults sometimes unknowingly click on links laced with malware that not only damage essential files but secretly plant infectious files, allowing theft of sensitive data and secret remote access to hackers for malicious purposes.
  • Teach them how to double-check if the website they are seeing advertised in some pop-up ad is valid. For instance, if a Disney ad caught their eye, tell them to access it directly by entering the official domain or URL in their browser.
  • Discourage pirating; it is illegal and is usually laced in malware that wreaks havoc on your PC and valuable data.
  • When surfing and landing on new but unverified websites, tell them to never, ever download anything until they check with you, the parent. An infectious download can invite a world of trouble and can leave your bank account empty and your PC compromised. Freeware, shareware, and a codec used for viewing free movies are notoriously known for having infectious files attached.
  • If the kids are too young to grasp the real dangers of Internet surfing or only are not taking the threat seriously, parents have the right to enforce rules of use, and programs are willing to help you.

Going to Phishing?

Phishing is a dangerous fact-gathering method used by cybercriminals to lure and attack unsuspecting PC users. Children are the most trusting and need help in identifying and avoiding hidden traps.

  • Children should never give their full name, address, or any other personal or identifiable information over the net waves without parental consent.
  • Children should avoid clicking dubious links and at a minimum, make sure the site is secure and encrypts data.
  • Never provide any personal data or information such as friends’ or family’s names, where you go to school or church, or vacation plans, etc. to unknown sources. Avoid opening emails with unnamed sources and delete spam without opening.

Social Networking

Parents should know the type of social network website their child is signing up for and will spend time sharing personal information. Make sure it is age appropriate and that there are strict rules and guidelines to protect the rights of children.

Parents should help their child understand the difference between a neighborhood friend, a person they can see and touch, versus an online stranger who they have never met in person. This person may or may not be their age, may live in another country or extreme miles away, or may not have their best interest at heart.

The web has become more dangerous for kids as more malware finds its way into computers. But, unfortunately, technology is a fatal attraction and per national survey and records, is growing stronger and stronger each day. We may not be able to wipe clean the dirty highways of the cyber world, but we can practice good Internet security and ensure our children do the same.

Parents should always keep a registered, and up-to-date anti-malware solution loaded on a PC, and always stay atop of software upgrades that patch known vulnerabilities. One of the best solutions is a virtual private network. It offers comprehensive protection for both children and adults.

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Category: Parental Control Tips

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