For the last 10 years, Homeland Security in partnership with other government agencies has declared October National CyberSecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). During this month, nonprofits, business, government and individuals join together to share how people can protect their devices and information in the digital world.
For kids and teens, the best security is teaching them to recognize potential trouble. Some of the ways, cybercriminals trick people appeal to both teens and kids. They should be cautious when clicking on links in messages, searching popular celebrities or downloading free stuff. These popular activities could lead to a nasty virus if they are not careful.
Clicking on Links in Messages
This is a direct message I received from Twitter. On Facebook, users may receive a similar message about being tagged in a Facebook post. Clicking these type of links may land a person on a site prompting them to download a feature to see the picture. Unfortunately, downloading this feature may allow thieves to access everything stored in the browser, including accounts with saved passwords.
Security Tip: Never click on links in messages or emails. Kids should be wary of sites that offer options to alter their social media account. For example, some malware is linked to sites claiming to change the color of the Facebook Timeline or show the number of unfollows on Twitter.
Teens trying to find a picture of their favorite celebrity could accidentally download more than just the picture. Many of the celebrities teens love are also popular with criminals. McAfee recently announced Lily Collins, star of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is 2013 Most Dangerous Celebrity™. McAfee found that searching for the latest Lily Collins pictures and downloads yields more than a 14.5% chance of landing on a site that has tested positive for online threats.
Security Tip: Stick to legitimate sites that cover celebrity news. Teens should watch videos and look at pictures only on official websites that do not require them to download anything.
Trawling for free stuff
Kids love finding just the right ringtone for their phone. Criminals use the lure of free downloads for exclusive videos/pictures, ringtones or wallpapers to reel people in. Although this is not the only way to download a virus, these types of activities are more likely to lead to a bad website. In fact, McAfee found searching for “Free downloads” is significantly the highest virus-prone search term.
Security Tip: Be skeptical of anything free. Before downloading, check out reviews and ask friends. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.