LAST week, I shared how to clear our digital clutter as a family. This week, I want to continue with protecting our children in their digital world. Especially now that children are entering the cyberspace at an even earlier age, it is crucial for parents to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats targeting kids to better protect them from potential harm. Security specialists from Kaspersky share cybersecurity trends that parents should be aware of:
1. Children will increasingly use AI tools that, so far, are not ready to provide the necessary level of cybersecurity and age-appropriate content. According to a UN research, about 80 percent of young people claimed they interact with AI multiple times a day. With the development of AI, numerous little-known applications have emerged with seemingly harmless features, such as uploading a photo to receive a modified version.
However, when children upload their images to such applications, they never know which databases their photos will ultimately remain, and whether they will be used any further. Moreover, AI apps, specifically chatbots, can easily provide age-inappropriate content when prompted. For instance, there is a multitude of AI chatbots that are specifically designed to provide an “erotic” experience. Even though some require a form of age verification, this is dangerous since some children might opt to lie about their age and the prevention of such cases is insufficient.
2. The growth of malicious actors’ attacks on young gamers. According to the latest online statistics, 91 percent of children aged 3 to 15 play games on any device.
For some games, unmoderated voice and text chat is a large part of the experience. With more young people online, criminals can virtually build trust in the same way they would in person. First, cybercriminals gain the trust of young players by luring them with gifts or promises of friendship. Once they have the confidence of a young gamer, they then obtain their personal information by suggesting that they click on a phishing link, which downloads a malicious file onto their device disguised as a game mode for Minecraft or Fortnite, or even grooming them.
3. The development of the fintech industry for kids marks the appearance of new threats. An increasing number of banks are providing specialized products and services tailored for children, including banking cards designed for kids as young as 12.
Yet, with the introduction of banking cards for children, the latter also become susceptible to financially motivated threat actors and vulnerable to conventional scams, like promises of a free PlayStation 5 or other valuable assets after entering card details on a phishing site.
4. Children will demand their personal online space is to be respected. As children mature, they develop greater self-awareness, encompassing an understanding of their personal space, privacy, and sensitive data, both offline and in their online activities. Consequently, when a parent firmly communicates the intent to install a parenting digital app on a device, not all kids will take it calmly.
5. Children are eager to download apps that are unavailable in their country, but stumble upon malicious copies. If an app is unavailable in your region, young users will look for alternatives, which is often a malicious copy. Even if they turn to official app stores like Google Play, they still run the risk of falling prey to cybercriminals. From 2020 to 2022, Kaspersky researchers have found more than 190 apps infected with Harly Trojan on Google Play, which signed up users for paid services without their knowledge.
Parents need to stay informed and actively monitor their children’s online activities. It is crucial for parents to have open communication with their children on potential risks, and to enforce guidelines for cyber safety. To help parents introduce their children to cybersecurity amid the evolving threat landscape, Kaspersky experts have developed the Kaspersky Cybersecurity Alphabet with key concepts from the cybersecurity industry.
In this book, your child will get to know new technologies, learn the main cyber hygiene rules, find out how to avoid online threats, and recognize fraudsters’ tricks. After reading this book together, you’ll be sure that your kid knows how to distinguish phishing websites, how VPN and QR codes work, and even what honeypots and encryption are and what role they play in modern cybersecurity. You can download the PDF version of the book for free and go through the basics of cybersecurity with your child, building their cybersafe future.
To secure your child from downloading any malicious files during their gaming experience, we advise to install a trusted security solution on their device. With the right tools such as Kaspersky’s digital parenting app Safe Kids, parents can effectively safeguard their children against cyber threats in the digital age.
Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
Image credits: Tim Gouw on Unsplash