Can your kids be a cybersecurity risk at home?

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So far, the new normal for many of us means working remotely. Our homes have become offices, schools and even summer camps, making the Internet more widely used than ever.

This brings an increased perimeter of attack threats in several directions. Now is the time to improve online home security practices and ensure that cybercriminals do not compromise our activities. Next, check out some common scenarios in the home office, including the fact that children may be endangering devices.

This laptop is not a toy

With children at home, parents need to work their way between work and possible “vacant” schedules whenever they can. It would be ideal to perform important tasks behind closed doors in the home office, but this is not always an option. Your laptop is probably being carried around the house, so you can send emails from the kitchen or check information about your projects in the living room.

But what happens when you leave the room for five minutes and your 8-year-old opens the device, logs in and accesses the laptop? This is a vulnerability, which can happen. Perhaps the child is curious to know what is on the laptop screen and starts to click on other tabs of a project. Perhaps, the child shares something internally, which should not be shared. So, this can be a good time to:

  • Update cyber security fundamentals, such as automatic screen lock;
  • Establish ground rules for all technologies at home;
  • Have separate profiles on each device, for each family member.

Beware of downloads

Let’s admit it: computer games are very welcome these days. Children are agitated and miss the activities they used to have before the pandemic and time with friends. Sometimes it’s important to give them access to a new game to distract them while you work or do other household chores.

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But be careful. A common scam is the insertion of malware in programs that can be downloaded and promoted, such as games. As a result, malware can enter the family computer, making it difficult to remove. So don’t forget to:

Implement controls on the network, to ensure that software is downloaded only with permission;

  • Consider a strong antivirus solution that works across multiple platforms. The Avast
  • Antivirus portfolio includes freeware and paid versions, which protect against phishings, firewall breaches, spam and virus intrusions.
  • Beware of fake social networking apps

As we spend more time at home, we turn to social media apps to connect with the outside world. Adults have used Zoom and other videoconferencing apps to chat with friends and family. Children participate in some calls with the family, but the social network is much wider. There are several types of online chat channels available for children, from video games to other platforms.


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