I often share articles about how to protect your business network from cyber crime. But, one very real threat that I haven’t talked about is how cyber criminals are hacking into home networks through children.
If you’re a parent, here are some vulnerabilities you should know about when your kids use devices to access the internet.
Youth are the Most Vulnerable to Cyber Crime
Many people believe that the elderly are the most vulnerable to cyber crime due to their lack of experience with technology. Youth today on the other hand, have grown up swiping to unlock devices and tapping away at screens.
Regardless of how quickly youth learn technology, their generation is actually the least likely to be concerned with cyber security risks. In a recent study by an Italian university, only 42% of students were aware of the risks associated with free public Wi-Fi. That lack of awareness could be why a Net Children Go Mobile survey found that almost half of 11 to 16 year olds had encountered a risk online.
Although this generation grew up with a silver iPhone in hand, they are more prone to share private details of their lives and less prone to practice smart security skills online.
Phishers and Cyber Criminals Target Children
Phishers and cyber criminals aren’t naive when it comes to which demographic is the most vulnerable. They know that younger Internet users are more likely to fall victim to an attack, which is why they target these children. Here’s proof.
20% of phishing scams target social networks, like Facebook and Instagram. According to Kaspersky Lab Research, the primary users of these sites are youth, so they serve as a breeding ground for cyber criminals to hang out and make their attacks.
Many phishers create specific social engineered attacks targeted at children. Successful phishing attacks employ psychological weapons of influence, such as scarcity through one time offers. Phishers are opportunistic in their approach and often display a fake item available in limited numbers. Through this fake ad, they are able to trick Internet users into clicking on links with malware.
What Can Parents Do?
Education is the best way to lower the risk of these types of attacks on children. Parents, and especially those that own a business, should never assume that their child is savvy against cyber threats just because they know their way around a smartphone. Instead, parents should take a proactive approach to teaching their children proper online security measures
Talking about threats, such as viruses, online privacy, public Wi-Fi risks, phishing, and social networking etiquette is a good start. Remind youth to interact with a person or company online in the same way they would face-to-face.
Even though it’s not realistic to think that you can or should monitor their every move online, it’s a good idea to have an open door dialogue. Encourage your children to reach out to you whenever something looks amiss.
While you cannot keep your kids completely safe online, there are things you can do. Installing a good anti-virus and anti-malware software is a great start. This way, if a link is accidentally clicked and your network is compromised, you still have some basic protection.
Want a Second Set of Eyes?
We’re here to help. If you have any doubts about how secure your network is, or how well protected your family is, especially if you are bringing work devices home, please reach out. We will provide an analysis of your current setup and show you any areas that you and your children may be at risk.