Maintaining online safety for kids nowadays is an arduous task that most parents need help managing. The prevalence of smartphones, with their unrestricted access to the internet, further complicates the efforts, making it a huge concern for many.
While most parents diligently establish guidelines to safeguard their children’s online experiences, such as identifying potentially harmful online content, they often overlook the lurking threat of malware.
As per the Cybercrime Magazine, a new global report established that 72% of kids globally have been victims of numerous cyber threats. Ensuring your kids‘ online safety protects them from falling victim to these threats and the dangers of malware attacks.
In this article, we’ll delve into the common threat of malware and the measures you can take to protect your kids’ phones from this malicious software. Let’s get in!
The danger of malware on your kids’ phone
Your child loves their new iPhone—for games, cartoons, chats with friends, or school stuff. They may sometimes get carried away too much and go about their online activities without minding the inherent risk of the prevalent online dangers.
As a parent, you must know that your kid’s reliance on their phones can unwittingly expose them and your entire family network to malware threats. Malware that targets mobile devices can jump from one phone to another. The end game is to gain access to private data.
It could sneak into your kid’s phone in ways they won’t notice, such as dodgy websites, weird software, and even online games that seem harmless. Here’s how it usually happens:
- Through email: Cybercriminals use emails to spread malware. They might send emails with links to the phone, pretending to be from a trusted place. These links open the door for more trouble.
- Dodgy websites: Sometimes, your kids can fall for the tricks of dodgy websites. They pop up with messages that say your phone is sick with a virus and tell you to click “OK” to fix it. But, if they click, they’re letting in malware.
- App dangers: Cybercriminals can also mess with popular apps and infiltrate them with malware. They add bad stuff inside and offer them as free downloads. When your Kid unknowingly installs any apps, they invite malware.
Best ways to protect your kids from iPhone malware
iPhones may be arguably one of the most secure devices, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to viruses and malware. Common malware threats such as XCodeGhost and WireLurker are still potent and can infiltrate these devices and wreak havoc.
Knowing how to remove spyware from your iPhone and the steps you can take to prevent it will help you proactively protect your kid’s iPhone. Here is a deep dive into what you should do to protect your kids’ phones from malware attacks.
Get an anti-malware software.
Shielding your child’s iPhone starts with getting the right anti-malware software. This is your virtual first line of defense against malicious viruses and malware that might sneak in and disrupt your kid’s digital life.
While an anti-malware program guards against various threats, it’s especially adept at keeping Trojan viruses at bay. Some of the best antivirus software also provides an additional layer of security. They scan apps and files for malware and other malicious behavior on the phone.
You’ll then get alerts if they detect anything suspicious on the phone, allowing you to take extra preventative measures. Anti-malware software can also protect against phishing attempts and any online fraud your kid may be exposed to.
Keep them off public Wi-Fi.
Malware and viruses commonly infiltrate devices through unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. This could be the school network or one from the nearby café. Your kids will likely be tempted into logging into these networks without realizing the underlying risks.
Using these networks without proper protection gives way to attackers sneaking malicious software into their devices. They can easily be scammed into filling out phishing forms or even installing fake applications that monitor activities on their phones.
As a parent, you must educate them on the need to steer clear of these public Wi-Fi network risks and opt for secure networks. If they must use one, it should be a network that requires a password or login credentials.
Consider regular backups
Regular data backup is a crucial step you should always take to protect any device from malware attacks. It works best for the device’s long-term security and comes in handy in the event of a destructive ransomware attack.
For example, if the attacker’s goal is to obliterate the data on the phone, a consistent backup routine becomes your most vigorous defense. But first, you should ensure the backup is inaccessible to the malware to allow you a secure path to recovery without paying any ransom.
One option is cloud storage—it provides robust security features, including encryption and access controls. Files stored on the cloud can swiftly be retrieved in case of system crashes due to malware attacks or any other cyberattack.
Teach them safe online habits.
Spending time online is probably part of your kids’ daily routine. So, the only viable option to protect and keep them safe from malware and other threats is to teach them safe online habits. For example, you need to teach them how to identify suspicious links and emails.
Most malware will require you to click something to download and install it. Attackers often disguise these links as genuine and something they are not. If you teach your kids to separate legitimate links from suspicious ones, they’ll be ahead of any potential scam.
You can teach them various aspects, including:
- Checking the sender: Ensure they can verify whoever is sending emails and links to their phones to help them exercise caution.
- Content scrutiny: Teach them how to scrutinize the email or message content. Poorly written text or unusual link requests should raise red flags.
Keeping the phone up to date
Keeping your phone up to date is a must to avoid some of the nagging online threats. The designers of most malware programs understand the key vulnerabilities of a phone that’s not up to date and are willing to pounce at any security flaw.
You should always update your kid’s phone with the latest software and security patches to avoid threats. The security patches in these updates make the phone immune to threats, enhance performance, and bolster key security features.
Set clear digital boundaries.
Effective communication with your child is fundamental. Setting up digital boundaries allows them to comprehend the dual nature of the internet—a world filled with knowledge and social connections but also one that harbors hidden dangers.
Discuss and establish these boundaries together. For example, decide when your child can access the internet on weekdays. Engage them in decision-making by asking about their preferences and limitations.
As a parent, you should also ensure each boundary you set is appropriate for the child’s age, knowledge, and maturity. This should apply to what sites they are allowed to visit, the software programs they can install on their phones, etc.
Use parental control software.
The modern day’s hard reality is that your kids probably see things they shouldn’t always see on their phones. Even worse, you can’t predict when they might be exposed to something they aren’t ready to see.
While educating your child about safe internet practices is essential, it needs to be more foolproof. Parental control software is your insurance policy. Install it on all your child’s devices, including laptops, tablets, and computers.
These tools can be personalized to block websites based on your child’s age and maturity level. Additionally, they grant you the ability to monitor online activities, making it easier to know when they are about to fall victim to cybercriminals.
As a parent, your caution with your iPhone might not be the same as your child’s. For them, having a phone means doing anything that interests them without minding the inherent dangers they expose themselves to.
That’s why it’s essential to impart knowledge to your child on responsible phone handling to safeguard it from potential harm. Consider the above-shared security measures and constantly educate them on safe online habits to protect their phones from malware and other attacks.