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Information Theives Targeting Kids to Get Mom and Dad’s Info – Tech Thursday

If you have kids like me, sometimes you may let them on the computer, if they’re old enough, to play a cute kid’s game or something. When my daughter was much younger (she’s 9 going on 10 now) her games were found on PollyPocket.com or Neopets.com. But now data thieves are targeting those kinds of Flash-based kids’ games, not necessarily those sites mind you, to put trojans, malicious software that appears to be something safe, and other malware on your computer to steal your data, making your child an unwitting accomplice to the crime.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BitDefender Online Threats Lab, says some legitimate, high-traffic sites have been compromised to install these trojans and other software in such a way as to seem safe or benign. Popular games with younger kids are coloring games. This is a really simple game for the younger kids, where you are presented with a picture and you can click on crayons or a paint bucket to change the color and then paint the picture. Just the simple act of moving your “paint brush” or “crayon” over the image, could trigger a download on some machines to install the software and then start stealing data and sending it back to the data thieves who will use it for a bunch of different evil things, like identity theft. Sometimes, a window may open with a button to click that tells you it’ll take you to more games. Some kids, like mine, would simply click the button. They don’t know, it may not be safe.

But all that is mostly due to 24.7% of parents who let their kids go on these sites without supervision- even with some type of security software. Parents who do actively monitor their children’s online activities and use software to protect themselves are at far less risk of being compromised. But we can’t totally blame the parents for this. These site are being compromised and it’s not being detected. So these sites should be a little more active in monitoring for threats. It’s like the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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