With many schools expected to be closed through the end of the school year, 30 million children and counting will be spending more time than ever on unsecured devices, apps, third-party educational sites and social media platforms. CyberScout, a leading cybersecurity and identity protection solution, urges the public to be aware of an increased risk of cyber attacks targeting our nation’s youth and teach children to P-A-U-S-E and think about cyber safety for children and best practices every time they are online.
Examine for Errors
Make them strong, unique and change them often. Ask every member of the household to use long and strong passwords that are unique to the key accounts and don’t include personal information. Use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts. Never let children use any passwords associated with parents’ online accounts and ensure that children know they are NEVER to share their passwords or other login credentials with “friends” online.
Ask a parent
Phishing emails are getting harder and harder to detect, and with the COVID-19 outbreak, cybercriminals are putting out thousands of fraudulent coronavirus websites every day. In order to avoid spoofing scams, tell children to ask a parent or guardian before opening any email, clicking on links or opening attachments regardless of how authentic the email may look.
Make software and virus scan updates regularly – on every device your family uses. Secure all mobile devices in the household with frequent and routine firmware and software updates and back up data frequently on hard drives that are not connected 24/7 to the internet.
Teach children the difference between URLs that are HTTPS and those that aren’t. But know that even HTTPS isn’t foolproof. Set restrictions and enable parental controls to limit what websites kids can access – don’t worry about being a helicopter parent. Look at internet history, app usage and be sure to know what programs and apps school is requiring, ensuring children are downloading the correct versions.
Examine for errors
Scammers are trying to steal valuable personal information – even something as simple as birthdays or pet names – by impersonating a trusted sender like your child’s school, a government agency or family friend. Spelling errors, graphics and logos that seem off are sometimes the only clue it’s a scam. Ask children to approach every digital communication with caution – the message may sound right, but the messenger may not be.
Cyber safety for children and learning to be cyber-safe should be as natural as learning to look both ways before crossing the street or washing hands properly. To assist in protecting a child’s identity, remind kids to never give out any personal information such as name, address, phone number to anyone they do not know through any websites or emails. This would include websites like twitter, facebook, and other social platforms. Also, remind children about the dangers of talking with strangers online – this is the same online as it is in person.
And just like health insurance, families should protect their digital lives with cyber insurance and identity theft protection services. Many employers are already offering it as an employee benefit, and many insurance companies are creating cyber policies, so it may already be available to you.