The Internet has changed the world we live in for both adults and children. Accessing data and information as well as communicating with people from far away is nowadays a breeze, and so it is for kids. However, our curiosity can lead us down very dark virtual alleys that may not seem so dark at first sight. This is especially dangerous for a child, due to the impact that such exposure can have on them. The biggest security risk is usually the user itself. Also catching malware is fairly easy, but in general it can be avoided easily too. All we need is a little common sense, and below we explain how parental control and child protection software can help us avoid getting infected by malware.
#1: Update your operating system, browsers, and plugins
Whenever there is an update available for your computer waiting in a queue, don’t wait further. Updates to OS, browsers as well as plugins are usually released to patch any security vulnerabilities recently found. So while you leave those Softwares alone, cyber criminals may find their way in through the vulnerabilities. Child protection Softwares may at times alert you of potentially available updates can are beneficial for you.
#2: Install antivirus or malware software
This should go without saying, and parental control software can act as an anti-virus or damaging site-blocking tool. However, there are many computers, particularly home computers that do not have an antivirus or malware protection installed. This should be a must-have first step when it comes to keeping your computer virus free.
#3: Only open downloads and links that you can trust
This too may seem obvious, but it shouldn’t be stressed enough. And it is precisely here where child protection software can help most: in order to keep your computer away from malware, you must not visit dubious sites or download questionable, dodgy or illegal files. A parental controlling software can do this for you, by blocking dangerous sites so that your kid can’t access it. Otherwise, this is pretty much a sure way to catch malware. If you aren’t able to avoid these sites, make sure your system is properly protected. If you need assistance evaluating links for their safety, you may use the browser plugin Web of Trust (WOT).
#4: Keep your antivirus updated
Protecting your system with protection software is the first step; maintaining it updated is the second. Child protection software can alert you of available updates so that you can go ahead and download them. A free antivirus is better than nothing, but bear in mind that it is not the ideal solution. Microsoft provides a security package “free of charge”. Free in that if you have Windows on your system, you will have access, but only because you paid for your Windows license. Most users are not aware of this program, but it’s actually pretty decent protection.
#5: Turn off HTML in emails
Very often, malware is distributed through email. Malicious emails can contract malware by running scripts automatically when opening an email in HTML view. That is why most email clients per default don’t display HTML content – pictures, etc. Do not change this feature – leave it that way and only allow reliable sources to automatically display HTML content. Software that filter out contents for adults may help with this.
#6: Enable click-to-play plugins
One of the more usual ways that exploit kits (or EKs) are delivered to your system is through malvertising, also known as malicious ads. You don’t even need to click on the ad to become infected. These malicious ads can live on well-known, prestigious websites. Besides maintaining your software patched so that exploit kits won’t do their dirty work, you can block the exploit from ever being delivered simply by enabling click-to-play plugins. Click-to-play plugins will keep Flash or Java from running unless you tell them to (by clicking on the ad). The bulk of malicious ads relies on exploiting these plugins, so by enabling this feature in your browser, you will manage to keep the EKs at bay. Parental control software allows you to activate this and other similar options.
#7: Run regular scheduled scans with your antivirus
This one too might seem like a no-brainer, however many of us forget to do this. Set up your antivirus of choice to run at regular intervals. Through your parental control software, you can schedule an antivirus scan on your computer or device without you being there. Once or twice a week is preferred, but do not wait much longer between scans. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to use your computer while your antivirus is running. A potential solution is to run the software during nighttime when you aren’t using it. However, we usually turn off the computers at night. Set your antivirus to run on a specific night and remember to leave your computer on during that day. Make sure it does not go into hibernation mode or shut off automatically.