"Cybercrime has no age limit. Hence, it's not just adults who need to master safe Internet use but also children and adolescents to make sure perpetrators don't stand a chance of succeeding in their malicious attempts," explains security expert and G Data Security Evangelist Eddy Willems.
Many Internet users underestimate the dangers on the Internet, but the number of malware and online attacks and the resulting damage are still rising steadily. "Especially children easily get in trouble, because they only know the positive aspects of the Internet, like meeting new friends, looking at online videos and chatting with friends." Social networks are no exception: Facebook and the like are very popular among young people but they too underestimate the dangers lurking there. "Criminals specifically use these networks to spread shortened links to supposedly funny videos, which lure victims into malware traps. Perpetrators also use fake or stolen profiles to catch their prey. Children can therefore easily fall victim to cyber mobbing," says Willems.
The IT security expert therefore advises parents to not only secure the PC with a security solution, but also to also teach their children how to safely use social networks and the Internet. Children can thus be protected from mobbing, fake friends and all other online threats.
Thirteen G Data security tips for Safer Internet Day for children, teens and adults
- - Not everyone is your friend: You should only accept friend requests if you actually know the person behind them.
- - Beware of short URLs: shortened links can lead to a malware trap, so users should be very careful and ideally not click on URLs from strangers.
- - Don't say too much: You should not provide too much information about yourself on social networks and avoid publishing personal information like your postal address or mobile phone number in your profile.
Smartphones and tablets:
- - Trustworthy apps: You should only get your applications from trustworthy sources like Google Play for Android. When choosing the apps, you should pay attention to the authorisations they require and think about whether you really need the application.
- - Bluetooth and GPS only when needed: Users should only use wireless services like Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth when they are actually in use and deactivate them immediately afterwards.
- - Check the security settings: Users should activate the password prompt function and replace standard passwords with individual ones.
General security tips
- - Protected by security software: A powerful security solution should be part of every Internet user's basic equipment and should not only include virus protection but also a spam filter, firewall and real-time protection against online threats.
- - Close security gaps: You should download and install all updates to ensure that your operating system, software and apps are always fully up-to-date.
- - Children's safety on the Internet: Parents should teach their children how to safely use the Internet. Parental controls help them prevent their offspring from accessing websites related to drugs, violence and sex.
- - Safe surfing: When surfing, the computer's firewall should always be active. This way, users are effectively protected during all online activities. A firewall is often included in security suites.
- - Straight to the bin: Delete spam emails immediately and avoid clicking any integrated links or file attachments under any circumstance.
- - Secure passwords: For all online accounts, including social networks and email providers, you should use a different password consisting of a non-logical combination of numbers, special characters and upper and lower case letters.
- - Back up your files: Losing digital pictures and videos of your loved ones can be devastating. For that reason you should always have a recent backup of all data you consider valuable. That way you will still have them, should your system ever crash or be hit with a virus. Many all-in-one security suites offer a backup feature – make good use of it.
For more information on Safer Internet Day 2013, see http://www.saferinternetday.org.