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Kaspersky concerned for children’s online safety

Kaspersky Lab owner says children should be taught about dangers of social networking

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab says children must be educated about sharing personal information online.
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab says children must be educated about sharing personal information online.

Children must be educated on best practices when exposing personal data on social networks, said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and Co-Founder of Kaspersky Lab.

"According to Insidefacebook.com, 46.4% of Facebook users are under the age of 25 and 20.6% are under the age of 17. In addition, The OnGuard Online states that 22% of 16-24 year olds don't know the people they share information with on social networks. Teenagers and young adults are very passionate about networking and rarely take into consideration the consequences of over-sharing," said Kaspersky. "Poor privacy settings and low awareness of the circumstances of sharing personal information contribute to increasing the danger of being hacked or tracked. This can result to personal information floating directly into the hands of people with less than friendly intentions."

According to Kaspersky, kidnappers actively use social networks to scan for personal information about possible victims and monitor their daily routines. Criminals are now also able to track their victims` movements, monitor their updates and estimate personal security levels through social networks such as the Russian website Vkontakte or international network Facebook.

Kaspersky suggested two ways of minimising the risks of using social networking for children and young adults.

Kaspersky's first suggestion is that social networks implement age-related features to decrease the risk associated with uncontrolled personal data exposure. He said that, for example, children should be able to set up their profiles as their parents' sub-account. He also suggested that, until these types of age-related features are implemented, parents should use parental control features in security software to allow access to approved and monitored profiles only.

Kaspersky's second suggestion is that the safety and security risks of social networks should be taught to children at school as part of their curriculum. He said that children should receive regular classes on how to prevent themselves from the danger of becoming victims of hackers and cybercriminals.

"Security and usability is always a matter of well-balanced compromise. Families should find their own solutions to this issue, as I don't see a one-fits-all recipe," said Kaspersky.

Eugene Kaspersky's 20-year-old son Ivan Kaspersky was allegedly kidnapped in Moscow in April this year, while on the way to a firm's office where he was doing work experience as a computer programmer. The kidnappers demanded a $4.3m ransom. Ivan was found unharmed after a police raid foiled the kidnapping plot.