technology

Internet safety risks for school-age children.

There are four main kinds of internet risks for children.

Content risks
For school-age children these risks include things that they might find upsetting, disgusting or otherwise uncomfortable, if they come across them accidentally. This might include sexual content in games, pornography, images of cruelty to animals, and real or simulated violence.

Contact risks
These risks include children coming into contact with people they don’t know or with adults posing as children online. For example, a child might be persuaded to share personal information with strangers, provide contact details after clicking on pop-up messages, or meet in person with someone they’ve met online.

Conduct risks
These risks include children acting in ways that might hurt others, or being the victim of this kind of behaviour. For example, a child might destroy a game that a friend or sibling has created. Another conduct risk is accidentally making in-app purchases.

Contract risks
These risks include children signing up to unfair contracts, terms or conditions that they aren’t aware of or don’t understand. For example, children might click a button that allows a business to send them inappropriate marketing messages or collect their personal or family data. Or children might use a toy, app or device with weak internet security, which leaves them open to identity theft or fraud.

Protecting children from internet safety risks: tips
You can use a range of different strategies to help your school-age child stay safe online.

Here are some ideas:

Create a family media plan. It’s best to create your plan with your child and ask them for suggestions. Your plan could cover things like screen-free areas in your house, internet safety rules like not giving out personal information, and programs and apps that are OK for your child to use.
Use child-friendly search engines like Kiddle or Kidtopia, or content providers like ABC Kids, CBeebies, YouTube Kids and KIDOZ, or messaging apps like Messenger Kids.
Check that games, websites and TV programs are appropriate for your child. You can do this by looking at reviews on Common Sense Media.
Use the internet with your child or make sure you’re close by and aware of what your child is doing online. This way you can act quickly and reassure your child if they’re concerned or upset by something they’ve seen online.
Check privacy settings and location services, use parental controls, and use safe search settings on browsers, apps, search engines and YouTube. Limit camera and video functions so your child doesn’t accidentally take photos of themselves or others.
If you use TV streaming services, set up profiles for different household members so your child is less likely to come across inappropriate programs.
Find out how to make complaints about offensive online content.
Block in-app purchases and disable one-click payment options on your devices.
Encourage all your children, including older siblings, to help each other use the internet safely and responsibly – for example, by watching only age-appropriate programs.
Trust between you and your child helps keep your child safe online. Calm, open conversations about internet use can help your child feel that you trust them to be responsible online. And if your child feels trusted, they’re more likely to talk with you about what they do online and tell you about online content and contacts that worry them.

It’s best to avoid using surveillance apps that let you secretly monitor your child’s online activity. Using these apps sends the message that you don’t trust your child. It’s better to talk openly about your own internet use and encourage your child to do the same.

If you do choose to monitor your child’s internet use while they’re online or by reviewing their browser history, it’s good to talk about this with your child.

As your child gets older and more confident and starts using the internet independently, you’ll need to review your strategies. Our article on internet safety for children aged 9-11 years has ideas.

Teaching safe and responsible online behaviour
You can help your child learn how to use the internet safely, responsibly and enjoyably. If you teach your child how to manage internet safety risks and worrying experiences, your child will build digital resilience. This is the ability to deal with and respond positively to any risks they encounter online.

You can do this by:

going online with your child
talking with your child about online content and listening to their views
being a good role model
teaching your child to be careful with personal information
teaching your child to avoid online purchases
talking about appropriate online behaviour.
Going online with children
Going online with your child gives you the opportunity to see the apps or games your child plays, or the videos they watch.

You can share your child’s experience while also checking that the content is appropriate. One way to do this is by asking questions that show interest in what your child is doing – for example, ‘That looks like an interesting game. Can you teach me to play too?’

You can also show your child sites that are fun, interesting or educational and show your child how to bookmark them for later. You could help your child find information they need for homework by using the right kind of search words. For example, for information on a school project about how people lived in the past, your child might use a phrase like ‘life in Australia in the 1900s’, rather than ‘past life’.

If you come across pop-up advertisements while you’re online together, it’s a good opportunity to talk with your child about not clicking them. You can explain that pop-up ads can lead to sites with unpleasant pictures or sites that want your personal or financial information.

Talking about online content
It’s a good idea to explain to your child that the internet has all sorts of content and that some of it isn’t for children.

You could explain that there are parental controls, safe browsing settings and internet filters set up on most devices to protect children from inappropriate content. But these are not a guarantee and your child could still come across inappropriate content.

So it’s also a good idea to encourage your child to talk to you or another trusted adult if they see something that worries them. For example, you might say, ‘Sometimes people put horrible things on the internet. Some of it’s made up and some of it’s real. If you see anything that upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable, let me know’.

If you name things to look out for, it can help your child identify unsuitable material. For example, ‘If you see a site with upsetting, scary or rude pictures, swearing or angry words, let me know. It’s not a good site for you to look at’.

You could also explain that not all information on the internet is true or helpful – for example, some news is made up. Encouraging your child to question things they find on the internet helps your child develop the ability to tell whether a website has good-quality information. This is an important part of digital and media literacy.

Being a good role model
Your child learns from you. This means you can model safe and healthy internet use by using digital media in the way you want your child to use it now and in the future. For example, you might keep internet-connected devices out of bedrooms, and use technology for positive purposes like sending supportive messages to friends.

Taking care with privacy and personal information
It’s a good idea to make sure your child knows not to communicate online with people they don’t know in person. This is particularly important if your child is using in-game social networks. For example, gaming sites like Roblox and Minecraft are targeted at children but have messaging features that might allow strangers to communicate with your child.

Encourage your child to:

tell you if someone they don’t know contacts them online
not give out personal information. You could say, ‘Some people online are fakers. Never tell anyone online your name, address, phone number or birthday. Never send or post images of yourself’
check with you before filling out membership forms on gaming sites, online competition entry forms and so on
ask you before they use a new app, so you can show them how to check the privacy settings to keep their personal information safe.
Avoiding online purchases
You can help stop any accidental in-app purchases by switching off in-app purchases and one-click payments on your devices.

It’s also a good idea for you and your child to agree on clear rules about not accepting in-app purchases. You might say, ‘It’s important that we don’t waste our money on things we don’t need. If you want to buy a new game or something in a game, please ask me’.

Talking about appropriate online behaviour
Talking with your child about appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour will help your child learn how to stay safe. For example, you could:

tell your child not to do or say anything online that they wouldn’t do or say face to face with someone
encourage your child to think before posting photos or comments
help your child to walk away from online arguments. You could say, ‘Friends can say things they don’t mean. It’s good to let people get over their moods and not talk to them online for a little while.

technology

How to Spot the Signs of a Romance Scammer.

Each year thousands of people who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet.

While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

Signs of an Online Romance Scam.

4 Common Signs of a Romance Scammer
Romance scammers are experts in social manipulation and can sound very convincing. Many of the signs of a romance scammer are subtle and insidious because the scammer is trying to build trust before they exploit you. To avoid online dating scams, be on the lookout for these four red flags when you’re getting to know someone online:

  1. Romance scammers profess love quickly, without actually meeting you.
    Often times, the first sign of an online dating scam shows up when a romance scammer expresses strong emotions in a relatively short period of time. They may even say that they’re in love with you, but it’s a tactic they’re using to get you to give up personal details and answers to the security questions that you use to lock down your accounts across the Internet. Guard your personal information carefully, and be wary if a new love interest asks for personal details soon after contact.
  2. Romance scammers claim to need money for emergencies, hospital bills or travel.
    Be suspicious of anyone who asks you for financial assistance, no matter how dire their circumstances seem to be. If you encounter one of these storylines when you’re talking to a new love interest on the internet, there’s a good chance they’re scamming you.

“I need money to support a sick relative.”
“I need a short-term loan for airfare to visit you.”
“I need some startup money for a business venture.”
“I need funds to finalize a loved one’s funeral.”
“I’m a US service member overseas, and I need some money.”

  1. Online romance scammers try to lure you off the dating site.
    Often times, scammers convince victims to leave the dating site and use personal email or instant messaging to continue communication. At first, this might not seem like a red flag. When you are getting to know someone, you’ll naturally want to move beyond the dating site and use other forms of communication. Be very cautious when someone asks for your phone number or email address. This makes it even easier for them to access your personal information.

If you want to communicate outside of the dating site, set up an alternate email address or utilize an instant messaging app that isn’t connected to personal information like your primary email and phone number.

  1. Romance scammers plan to visit, but they always cancel because of some “emergency.”
    If an online love interest makes plans to visit but always seems to change their plans at the last second because of a traumatic event, family drama or a business loss, you should be very suspicious. Often, their cancellation will be accompanied by a request for a short-term loan. Look out for someone who says something like, “I really want to meet you, but I can’t buy a plane ticket right now because of x. If you buy me a ticket, I will pay you back! I just want to be together.”

Tips to Avoid Online Dating Scams
Tips for Avoiding Online Dating Scams
Once you know how to tell if someone is scamming you online, you should have better success avoiding online dating scams, and you will maintain better overall online safety. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends taking the following precautions when you’re using dating sites and social media to meet people:

Cross-check and verify. Conduct an online search to cross-check the person’s name, photo, location, email address and other details for legitimacy.
Slow down and talk to someone you trust. Tell a friend or family member about your situation, and discuss your next steps with them. A romance scammer might try to isolate you from friends and family or pressure you to make impulsive decisions alone. Don’t let a scammer rush you into making any sort of decision.
Do not send money. Never wire money, put money on a gift card or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
If you have already sent money, report it. Contact your financial institution right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer.
How to Report an Online Dating Scammer
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has fallen victim to an online dating scam, you should report your experience to whichever online dating or social media site you were on. You should also file a complaint with the FTC.

What Really Matters
When you know how to report a dating scammer, it can be empowering. Many times, victims who report a scam feel a sense of relief after notifying authorities. Not only can it help with their personal circumstance, it can also prevent people from falling victim to the romance scammer in the future. Once you report a suspected scam, your financial institution will work with you on the next steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Uncategorized

How Do Hackers Hack Phones and How Can I Prevent It?

The threat of having your phone hacked has become a common and rational fear. The cold hard truth is that it is now possible to hack any phone. With the advancement of technology, where discovery of knowledge and information advances the understanding of technology, hackers are able to hack even some of the most sophisticated phone software. But how?

Hacking Software

Did you know that hacking software for Android and other mobile devices exists? And did you know there are countless hacking software options online for free? Hacking software is a method used by hackers to get information from a phone. Check out our 2020 Mobile Threat Report to dig deeper.

The serious hackers can buy hacking software anywhere, such as a phone Spy App, which must be installed on the target phone. Not all hackers need to handle a phone physically in order to install hacking software, but in some cases they must.

Keylogging is an approach that involves downloading a spyware app to target the phone and take the phone’s data before encryption. This type of software can be utilized by accessing the phone physically.

Trojan is a type of malware that can be disguised in your phone to extract important data, such as credit card account details or personal information. To install Trojan Malware, hackers use techniques like phishing to influence you into the trap.

Phishing

Phishing is a method used by hackers where they impersonate a company or trusted individual in order to gain confidential data. Hackers use this method by sending official-looking codes, images, and messages, most commonly found in email and text messages. When this malicious content is clicked on, the URLs can hack your phone because the link has been infected with a hacking virus or software that can take your personal information.

Hacking Using a Phone Number

In order to be able to hack using only a phone number, you must know and understand the technicalities of phone hacking. SS7 signaling is the system used to connect cell phone networks to one another, but in order to use this system as a method of hacking phones, one must have access to it. Recording calls, forwarding calls, reading messages, and finding locations of a particular device can be done with access to the SS7 system. Although, due to the level of difficulty, it is unlikely that the average person would be able to hack a phone in this manner.

SIM Card Hacking

In August of 2019, the CEO of Twitter had his SIM card hacked by SIM card swapping using the phishing method. SIM card swapping is performed when the hacker contacts your phone provider, pretends to be you, and then asks for a replacement SIM card. Once the provider sends the new SIM to the hacker, the old SIM card will be deactivated, and your phone number will be stolen. This means the hacker has taken over your phone calls, messages, etc. This method of hacking is relatively easy if the hacker can convince the provider that they are you. Keeping personal details to yourself is an important part of ensuring that hackers cannot pretend to be you.

AdaptiveMobile Security discovered a new way hackers were getting into phones using the SIM card—a method they call Simjacker. This way of hacking is more complex than phishing as it targets a SIM card by sending a signal to the target device. If the message is opened and clicked on, hackers are able to spy on the hacked device and even find out the location of the device.

Bluetooth Hacking

Professional hackers can use special software products to search for vulnerable mobile devices with an operating Bluetooth connection. These types of hacks are done when a hacker is in range of your phone, usually in a populated area. When hackers are connected to your Bluetooth, they have access to all of the information available and the internet connection to access the web, but the data must be downloaded while the phone is within range.

Prevent you become a victim of phone hacking

There are many different ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are not a victim of phone hacking:

1. Keep Your Phone in Your Possession

The easiest way for a hacker to steal your phone’s information is to gain access to it — therefore, it is always important to keep your phone in your possession. If you have been away from your phone around a group of strangers and are concerned about possible hacking, check your settings and look for strange apps.

2. Encrypt Your Device

Encrypting your cell phone can save you from being hacked and can protect your calls, messages, and critical information. To check if a device is encrypted: iPhone users can go into Touch ID & Passcode, scroll to the bottom, and enable Data protection. Android users have automatic encryption depending on the type of phone.

3. SIM Card Locking

Putting a passcode on your SIM card can protect it from being hacked. Setting this code can be done on an iPhone by going to Settings > Cellular > SIM PIN. Enter your existing PIN to enable the lock. Android users can go to Settings > Lock screen and Security > Other security settings > Set up SIM card lock. Here you can enable the option to lock your SIM card.

4. Turn Off WIFI and Bluetooth

It is fairly easy for hackers to connect to your phone using WIFI or Bluetooth, so turn them off when not needed because there is no warning when a hacker attacks you. If you fear being hacked in a public space, turning off your phone can block a hacker’s ability to hack you — this is an effective preventative method.

5. Use Security Protection

Protecting your device from spyware can be done for free and simply through A Mobile Security app on an iPhone and Android can help protect cell phones from hackers.

Stay protected

Making a point to understand how hacking works can help you practice security in your every day life. Know how to be prepared for being hacked, so that when it happens you can be on top of how to handle it.

Uncategorized

How to protect yourself against cybercrime.

What are the best ways to protect your computer and your personal data? Here are our top tips:

Keep software and operating system updated

Keeping your software and operating system up to date ensures that you benefit from the latest security patches to protect your computer.

Use anti-virus software and keep it updated

Using anti-virus or a comprehensive internet security. it is a smart way to protect your system from attacks.

Anti-virus software allows you to scan, detect and remove threats before they become a problem. Having this protection in place helps to protect your computer and your data from cybercrime, giving you piece of mind.

If you use anti-virus software, make sure you keep it updated to get the best level of protection.

Use strong passwords

Be sure to use strong passwords that people will not guess and do not record them anywhere. Or use a reputable password manager to generate strong passwords randomly to make this easier.

Never open attachments in spam emails

A classic way that computers get infected by malware attacks and other forms of cybercrime is via email attachments in spam emails. Never open an attachment from a sender you do not know.

Hands typing on laptop keyboard

Do not click on links in spam emails or untrusted websites

Another way people become victims of cybercrime is by clicking on links in spam emails or other messages, or unfamiliar websites. Avoid doing this to stay safe online.

Do not give out personal information unless secure

Never give out personal data over the phone or via email unless you are completely sure the line or email is secure. Make certain that you are speaking to the person you think you are. 

Contact companies directly about suspicious requests

If you get asked for data from a company who has called you, hang up. Call them back using the number on their official website to ensure you are speaking to them and not a cybercriminal. 

Ideally, use a different phone because cybercriminals can hold the line open. When you think you’ve re-dialed, they can pretend to be from the bank or other organization that you think you’re speaking to.

Woman using mobile phone

Be mindful of which website URLs you visit

Keep an eye on the URLs you are clicking on. Do they look legitimate? Avoid clicking on links with unfamiliar or spammy looking URLs.

If your internet security product includes functionality to secure online transactions, ensure it is enabled before carrying out financial transactions online.

Keep an eye on your bank statements

Our tips should help you avoid falling foul of cybercrime. However, if all else fails, spotting that you have become a victim of cybercrime quickly is important.

Keep an eye on your bank statements and query any unfamiliar transactions with the bank. The bank can investigate whether they are fraudulent.

Now you understand the threat of cybercrime, protect yourself from it.

technology

5 steps to avoid WhatsApp harassment.

  1. Avoid calls and messages from unknown contacts

We encounter countless messages and calls from unknown contacts on a daily basis. It is best to avoid those messages and calls, specially if its a suspicious link, or a call from a suspicious number.

  1. International calls

Always check for the country code when receiving a call from an unknown number. The country code for India is 91.

  1. Beware of the selfie camera

Always keep the selfie camera setting turned off. You can always switch it on once you are sure the call is from a known person.

  1. Avoid unknown groups

We are all added to an unknown WhatsApp group once in a while. It is best to leave the group as soon as possible to avoid a potential security breach.

  1. Privacy settings

The options in the privacy settings allows users to make their profile completely private. Users can choose to make their profile picture, status and last seen visible to everyone, contacts only or to nobody. It is best to choose the ‘contacts only’ option.

technology

Cybercrime affects everyone.

Crime affects everyone and in future cybercrime (and cyber security) is going to affect people more and more. No one is safe – it impacts the rich and the poor:

Anyone with a mobile phone in their pocket.
Anyone who has a bank account.
Anyone who stores important files on their computer.
Anyone whose name is in a direct marketing database.
Cyber crime is not some futuristic possibility. It is being committed every day right now. Thieves commit cyber crimes to steal people’s money and their identity. With your identity, the thief can take out loans, incur credit, accumulate debt and, then flee without a trace. It can take years to rehabilitate your identity. A virus can destroy someone’s files and a lost database can result in receiving unwanted sales calls.

Cyber security is important for national security – securing this beautiful country of ours.

There are some state secrets that must remain secret.
The personal safety of our leaders is very important.
The SARS and Home Affairs database must be secure.
Terrorists must not be able to halt trading on the JSE.
But national security cannot override our personal freedom we fought so hard to achieve:

Our freedom of speech is crucial.
A free press holds people to account.
Personal privacy ensures democracy.
Freedom to do things online without surveillance.

technology

Cyber safety for women.

An unfortunate number of women are becoming victims of cyber crimes. According to a recent study more women are known to use the Internet to enrich their relationships compared to men. Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment. The growing reach of the Internet and the rapid spread of information through mobile devices has presented new opportunities that could put some women at risk, so it’s important to be mindful of the dangers.

let us keep a few cyber safety points in mind.

  1. Don’t share passwords.
    It may sound silly. Who in their right mind shares their password, right?

Wrong. You may have shared your password with a trusted friend or partner. According to the Report two in three people believe it’s riskier to share their email password with a friend than lend them their car. The fear is reasonable. While friends may not intentionally cause you harm, they may accidently reveal your password to someone. Sometimes relationships change before your password does. Use your discretion and keep those passwords private and complicated.

  1. Don’t leave your webcam connected.
    There are too many apps capable of turning on your camera and slyly recording your movements without your knowledge. As a precaution disable camera permission and keep the lens of your camera closed or covered when not in use.
  2. Don’t share more than necessary.
    Relationships have only two shades in a spectrum – very good or very bad. Even the best of people can swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. That is why use caution when you share intimate messages, pictures, information or anything that has the potential to come back and embarrass you.
  3. Don’t meet online acquaintances alone.
    Always let your friends and family know where you are going and who you are meeting. Make sure you meet the person in a crowded coffee shop or mall.

5 Reveal only as much as needed.
There are too many sinister characters browsing social media sites to initiate friendship with unsuspecting women. Be careful about posting details about your whereabouts and lifestyle. Stalkers can find ways to reach you with a simple photograph or status update. Disable geotagging in your camera. Enable it only when required. Any device with an enabled ‘location service’ poses the risk of exposing your exact location at any given time.

  1. Update all operating systems on you devices.
    They can be nuisance. But they are very important to keep you safe. Security updates and patches keep the latest threats away. Always install them no matter how busy you are.
  2. Secure your devices with anti-virus software
    Having a mobile phone or a tablet without a security system in place is like sitting in a house with the doors unlocked. Both android and mac devices are at risk from malicious software invading and taking over your life. Always install a reliable security system like Norton Security in all your devices.

8.Read the fine print
Know and understand the privacy policy and terms of service of any service you use. Some websites can own, sell, rent or resell your information to anyone they want. This can come back as a bigger problem and the law may not be able protect you since you agreed to the terms and conditions.

  1. There is no such thing as ‘freebies’
    Freebies come as games, offers, deals, etc. They may be riddled with viruses, spyware and malicious software. These can get into your device and mine all your data.
  2. Block people you don’t want to interact with
    Never feel weird declining friend requests from people you barely know. Trust your instinct and ignore, unfriend or block them. You get to choose who stays on your friend list.

When it comes to safety, both online and offline, common sense is the first line of defense. Your instincts play a critical role in your protection. If something feels ‘off’, go with your instincts. You don’t have to explain your reasoning to anyone.