TLDR ↓Just as well as parents and educators ensure the safety of home, school and playgrounds for their children, one would assume they should ensure all the gathering “places” where kids meet and interact, such as the virtual world.
When kids get on a phone or tablet or computer, they are immediately exposed to two kinds of threats: watching what they should not be watching and being watched by those who shouldn’t be watching them! And that makes for a new challenge for parents who are not necessarily professionals in the matters of cyber security.
However, and just as well as parents and educators ensure the safety of home, school and playgrounds for their children, one would assume they should ensure all the gathering “places” where kids meet and interact, such as the virtual world. Follow these simple steps to keep your children safer, and please learn more how to ensure even a higher standard of cyber security for your family.
1- Applications: There are millions off applications that kids love to use, some are educational and some are a simple waste of time, but they all have one thing in common: the world is watching.
Kids on TikTok post a video from their front yard, where the address numbers are shown on the wall of the house… Who’s noticing that, really? No one, right? Right??
Well, predators can find out information about where kids live from many sources, such as a simple TikTok video, or a post on Facebook complaining about their local Mc Donald’s or even a happy back-to-school post where even the parents share because they are so proud of their children.
But where does all this information go? Have you ever thought about it?
Well it goes absolutely everywhere! It even goes to the computer of that freak living in his mother’s basement who is looking up a hashtag like #BackToSchool or #BestPlaceEver. Below is a screenshot of the hashtag search results on Instagram. There are more than 240 thousand results!
Figure 1 A simple search will help a person find out the favorite spots where kids go.
Adults are guilty of this practice too. Looking up #WeekendVibes on twitter allowed me to find a random stranger’s post saying that he was away for the weekend.
Now that in itself is not much info, but after finding someone’s Twitter it can be really easy to find out their Facebook and who have they listed as family… and browse their public posts and see if either one has a TikTok where they made a video on their front lawn, and bam! A creep just found themselves a house that was empty for the weekend.
Many child abductions happen because the predators have actually know the victim and decided to kidnap that specific child and there has been cases where the perpetrator traveled from state to state . In a report on the Poynter[.org] website they state that 24% of juvenile kidnappings are perpetrated by a complete stranger. (https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2003/thursday-edition-kidnapping-facts/)
So be careful what you and your kids post, and they way that you compose your post. Make sure your settings are proper and do not display your personal information or your family’s personal information to the public.
If you need any help in that please do not hesitate to contact us. A part of our job is dedicated to help parents secure the digital environment for their children as a free-of-charge service.
At the same token, you can benefit from the same technology to install some applications on your kids’ phones that would report their whereabouts to you, so in the event of a suspected abduction the police will know exactly where they are. It is a good idea to have a talk with your children and let them know how to beacon a distress call if they needed to, how to hide their phone and when to use it if they were ever abducted, and so on. The Office of Justice Programs has also stated in their study that technology helped law enforcement officers to solve the crimes involving two-thirds of the victims! (https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh176/files/pubs/249249.pdf)
So technology is definitely an ally if you can make a good use of it.
2- Sensors: Phones and electronic devices have a suite of sensors that are working 24/7. You may disable the location services on your phone and that would not allow certain applications to know your location; but is the sensor shut off? No.
The sensors are generating the information they are supposed to generate, but your phone is not presenting it in a user interface or using it to allow advertisers to know where you are. Fine. But is this information secure? Can your phone be hacked? Can your location be accessed in a less-than-legitimate way? I would say yes, anytime!
Every time that you update your phone or computer read the bullet points describing the update. How many times is the phone installing security updates? Well, operating systems are not a set product. They are always under development. Hackers find out a vulnerability and they exploit it until they are discovered by the good guys, and then the good guys will start working on a patch for that vulnerability, and then it is sent to a few departments and then to a few manufacturers and telecom giants after that, and only after all this is done you will receive the update on your phone. Therefore, any update you receive today is intended to fix something that should not be happening, but has been going on for months and maybe even years.
You can be sure that today, as you read this, your phone is doing things it is not supposed to be doing and no one knows about it. Is it leaking some information? Is it allowing a third-party to access your camera, or microphone, or even the accelerometer built into your device? Well maybe.
Is this information being generate and is out there to be stolen when your child is carrying the phone everywhere they go? Definitely.
3- Databases: When a user subscribes or signs up to a service, they usually provide a lot of personal information and sometimes addresses and phone numbers and all. This information gets stored in a “place”, let’s say.
All the data leaks you hear about and result in identity theft originate from a bad mistake made by those who are currently saving your information. Okay who are those people who currently have some of your information? Do you even know all the websites where you have signed your kid up for a profile, or submitted personal information online? What happens when these organizations go out of business? How do they discard of their old servers (what do they do with the computer that is holding your personal information when it becomes old)? How are they actively protecting your information now, as you are using their service?
Do you even know? Have you asked your school district what measure of cyber security do they implement to protect the address and full name and social security of your child? Have you ever thought about the implications that your child would have to deal with if the school’s servers were to be compromised?
In 10 years of signing up with your real information your identity will be compromised 94 times on average, if you are the average American. How are you protecting yourself from that?
The most important thing that would raise the safety of your family is to have those conversations with people around you, with your school, with your friends, your lawyer, everyone! The point is to make online environments as familiar as physical environments; you should learn to protect your children online as well as you know and are capable of protecting them in your own home or on a playground. Keep talking about this!
Sign up to our newsletter to learn more or contact us for any questions that we will be happy to answer free of charge.
Do your part, keep our community secure!
Parents and Teens, Presented by Teenfosec.com
Oct 7, 2020 at 10am
North Royalton Library
We will talk about the dangers that our children face especially when they are given their first mobile phone. How to manage their new connected life and how they can protect themselves.
May 15th 2020 - Jul 15th 2021
This is an oportunity for those graduating high school soon to get a feel of the industry and see if Information Security will be something of interest for them.
Cool hacking will take place!
RESCHEDULED DE TO COVID19
DIY night - If You Can
Sep 25, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Panera, Parma OH.
We will present and demonstrate what each business owner can do to their compnay's infrastructure and how could they provide free training to their employees.
In this evening we will help you prepare a practical to-do list you can implement yourself for no cost at all.