New Mobile Tech = New Mobile Threats
Teaching Your Kids to Be Smart with Smartphones
Technology is always evolving, but kids’ fondness of toys remains a constant. And to them, your tablet or smartphone with its colorful apps and fun sounds is just that—another toy. With moderation, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Apps can make learning fun.
But not every app out there is strictly benign and beneficial. Just like anything you can download on your laptop or desktop, certain mobile apps can be nothing more than a disguised form of malicious software that’s out to steal your information and drain your bank account.
To help prevent that from happening, here are some tips you should know and share if you have children using your mobile device.
Texting for Passwords
Picture this scenario: A cybercriminal hangs out in a popular mobile game forum. Your child asks for aid with a certain app. “Be glad to help,” texts the crook. “I just need you to send the codes your Dad uses on the phone.”
Those are your passwords or security codes. Now the cybercriminal passes along a link to a site that’s loaded with malware. Your child clicks on it, and the cybercriminal effectively has control of your smartphone and everything on it. While your kids may know not to give out personal information, this text request seems on the level. Inform your children ahead of time that it isn’t.
Not Every App Is Legitimate
In August, 2012, Google announced that it has cracked down on Android apps that are “confusingly similar to existing products.” It’s a much-needed step in the right direction for the Google Play Store. But that doesn’t mean fake apps aren’t out there.
Before your kids start downloading apps by the truckload, it’s a good idea to read the reviews of these applications first. They can often alert you to nefarious means and help you protect the little ones.
Free Isn’t Always Better
Free apps that draw big downloads (and thus big advertising money for the developers) have been around with us for a while. Depending upon your tolerance for these advertising banners, this may be OK with you. But you should be aware that it could invite unwelcome content, too.
As we move forward in this new mobile frontier, some adult ad content that isn’t appropriate for young eyes is sneaking through. It’s a good idea to use some parental supervision here.
Beware of Hidden Charges
Along with ad banners that may contain adult content (sometimes without the developers’ knowledge), there’s also a trend toward the freemium platform—that is, giving your game away and charging those who play it for upgrades or extras.
Again, this model isn’t inherently sinister. Developers of these games need to earn their money somehow. But as a parent or grandparent, you should be aware that some less scrupulous people are hiding very expensive upgrades with unclear language in some apps. The younger set may not realize they’re forking over Mom and Dad’s paychecks by agreeing to get the weapon for defeating the otherwise invincible Glarmo the Indignant Platypus.
Bear this in mind the next time your kids say, “Can I download this on your phone? It’s free!” Check out what it is, and what app permissions you’re allowing.
Don’t Wait for Trouble. Be Proactive with Protection.
Tablets and smartphones can make great technological toys for both the young and young-at-heart. Just keep in mind that there are people out there targeting the younger set’s more trusting nature.
the Above article is a repost from Norton by Symantec’s email for safety and education – family services on Oct 15th, 2012.
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