The latest stories surrounding the security sector

Security Roundup: Safer Internet Day kicks off, children’s doll hacked

This week’s security news includes details of Safer Internet Day, cyber bullying and how the My Friend Cayla children’s doll can be hacked.

Kaspersky has reacted to recent reports discussing how the talking and internet-connected My Friend Cayla doll can be hacked.

David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said: "I believe there are two sides to this problem. Firstly, manufacturers need to provide a secure framework for interacting with such devices – in this case, a child’s play-thing. The reports suggest that there’s no PIN to establish a secure pairing of the doll with the app. 

"Secondly, parents need to secure devices (including smartphones and tablets) that they use to control everyday objects, to ensure their children aren’t exposed. This particular case underlines the potential danger of the Internet of things."

Elsewhere, research from Action for Children reveals that 15 per cent of eight to 17-year-olds have bullied someone online.

Research from Kaspersky Lab also showed that children between the ages of seven and 11 are aware of cyberbullying, however do not perceive it as an immediate reason why they should be careful online. Kids do not also realise the seriousness of nasty or malicious messages they receive online, and would not tell a parent if they receive one.

Emm added: “With the dangers clearly growing, it’s imperative that parents talk openly about the risks with their children as soon as they start interacting online – which may be younger than they think. This will ensure that the issue is addressed before it becomes a problem and enable parents, and children, to stay one step ahead of the cyberbullies and other online nasties.”

Rob Wells, senior director at NETGEAR, has outlined his four golden rules when using parental controls:

1. WiFi-enabled devices including computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets can access any internet site if they are connected to your home network. These should be protected by parental controls in order to make them safe for children to use.

2. It is too easy to forget about some of the devices that require protection. Anything from an iPad to an online game poses a risk and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to parental controls.

3. There will often be different rules for different members of the family for example, in terms of access times. Opt for parental controls that can be personalised to give flexibility across the family and try to set them together with your children.

4. Think about any devices that guests could bring into your home – make sure that these are immediately protected by your parent control software.

New research published today by kids’ virtual world Disney Club Penguin has found that of 2,000 six to 14-year olds questioned, 60 per cent say a computer or robot will be able to help people do most things in the future and 50 per cent think they’ll still need help from other people to stay safe online when they learn how to use new technology – in particular mum who would be the first port of call for help (59 per cent). 

Will Gardner, CEO at Childnet International, said: “This Safer Internet Day is all about empowering and inspiring young people – and all internet users – to help create a kinder online community. We have seen hundreds of organisations sign up to get involved in the day, including schools, charities, public and private sector, and it is this collaboration that makes Safer Internet Day such a far-reaching and impactful campaign."

In a recent F-Secure survey, 46 per cent of people say they trust the internet somewhat when it comes to their security and privacy, while they take security precautions. 39 per cent don’t trust the internet much, and 11 per cent don’t trust it at all. Only four per cent said they trust the internet and don’t worry much about security and privacy. On average, F-Secure receives over 250,000 desktop malware samples (mostly Windows) and 9,000 Android samples per day respectively, which attempt to steal money, content and data.

Finally, a survey from iStorage found that 72 per cent of education professionals are not encrypting data on USB sticks and other portable devices, despite security being a growing concern.

The survey revealed that despite 96 per cent of respondents regularly carrying portable storage devices such as USB sticks, portable hard drives, CDs and DVDs, only 28 per cent are currently encrypting this data. 

Check Also

Anzu Names Chris Blight as VP Demand

Chris Blight has joined in-game advertising company to lead its global demand team. Blight …