Talk about computer safety
Advice and tips on computer safety and malicious software.
by Sigrun Landro Thomassen
& Rune H. Rasmussen
Social media are very popular among children and young people. Unfortunately, computer criminals have specialised in social manipulation in order to access your and your children’s computers, using email, websites, social media, instant messaging and any other means available. Often, young users are naive and easily fooled, making them an easy target for criminals.
Criminal networks can, in some cases, get access to your computer, remotely control the software and use it for illegal activities, such as spamming, ID theft and coordinated attacks on websites and servers. Criminals are prone to seeking out victims at popular websites, and even though services such as Facebook, Twitter, MSN and Skype may seem harmless, illicit schemes are not uncommon. An obvious example is banners offering the opportunity to win large amounts of money.
The weakest link
The safety of your computer is dependent upon the weakest link, whether it be a lack of virus protection, firewall issues or perhaps personal recklessness, and online criminals know how to find and exploit these weaknesses. It is quite common for criminals to take advantage of children and young people’s trust in each other and misuse the sharing options of social media to get computers infected with viruses, worms and trojan horses.
The best way for a family to protect their computer and their privacy is to have regular conversations about computer safety. Usually, some simple precautions and common sense will get you a long way.
More on online safety:
Topics for conversation – suitable for a family discussion:
- How do you detect malicious software?
- What do you do if you are exposed to a cyber attack?
- Who decides what you are allowed to download to your computer?
- What do you need to consider before downloading software and applications?
Tips and advice:
- Before downloading new software and applications, always read the ”Terms and conditions”.
- If you wish to decline offers that show up in pop-up windows, always click the red “X” icon in the top right corner. If you click the “No” button inside the window, there is a chance that unwanted software will be installed.
- Instruct your children never to reveal any personal information without your consent.
- All the major web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, include the opportunity to block pop-up windows. Use this functionality to protect yourself and your children.
- Updating software such as Adobe Flash and Adobe PDF Reader helps keep the computer clean.