As more adults become web-savvy and learn how to spot suspicious websites, hackers are turning their attention to children. Impulsive and prone to falling for the hackers’ traps, kids make perfect malware targets, providing an easy gateway to their parent’s computers, and potentially, access to their personal and financial information.
“Games like these require clicking, and children don’t think much about what they are clicking on,” said Ondrej Vlcek, CTO of Avast Software. “This makes them – or their parents’ computer – quite susceptible to malicious software.”
To date, Avast says it has found about 60 malware-infected websites that specifically target children. Most of the infected sites appear to be hosting malware without the site owner’s knowledge or consent. However, not all of the sites are hijacked. Some are built specifically to infect inexperienced users’ systems. One of the sites Avast highlights is CuteArcade.com, which has reportedly infected 12,600 computers with information-stealing malware.
The troubling aspect of all this is that there’s no way to visually differentiate dangerous sites from safe ones. The only thing parents can do to keep their computers safe is to make sure they have an up-to-date browser and an anti-virus system constantly monitoring for threats as they surface. Aside from those essential security measures, make sure to continually remind your kids not to give out any personal information online, especially names, home addresses, or phone numbers.
If you’re worried about the potentially infected sites your children are visiting or the information they may be sharing online, BrickHouse offers PC Monitoring solutions to keep an eye on their Internet activities.
Making sure your kids follow safe Internet browsing habits can save you a lot of time, and the hassle of having to clean your computer after it’s been infected — or worse, the nightmare of clearing your name if you fall victim to identity theft.