If you are a parent of young children or even not so young children, you certainly have noticed how comfortable your children are with computers. In fact, they are often too comfortable. When we become victims of malware such as keystroke logging malware that steals the data from your computer and uses it to make you a victim of identity theft or ransomare which destroys your data unless you pay a ransom, the culprit is usually someone who clicked on a phishing or spear phishing link in an email or went to an infected website and unwittingly downloaded the malware. Yet children, using the family computer, often do not think about these dangers, such as when they click on links for free music or video games.
The first step, of course is to educate your children as to the dangers found on computers and the Internet, but there are a number of other steps you should be taking, as well such as:
- Set up your computer with limited user accounts for your children that, in theory, will prevent them from downloading software or changing the settings on your computer.
- Use the parental control features found in your computer called Family Safety in Windows 8 and Windows 10.
- Don’t store sensitive personal information on your computer. This is a good rule for all of us whether or not you have children. Encrypt sensitive data and store it on a USB external hard drive that is not connected to the Internet. This is particularly important in protecting your computer from ransomware.
- Don’t let your kids know your passwords and security questions to your computer or accounts.
Finally, as Murphy’s Law instructs us, what can go wrong, will go wrong, so have your children use their own computer that is not connected to yours so even if they falter and do unwittingly download malware, your computer and the information contained therein will not be in danger.