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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Six security tips for you and your kids

Teach your children how to keep their passwords safe and to avoid Internet scams
The Straits Times - June 8, 2011
By: Hellen Tan
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Six security tips for you and your kids

News that Sony's systems had been hacked three times in two months shows how easy it can be for hackers to penetrate corporate security systems assumed to be strong enough to protect users' personal information.

So what chance does a home computer stand against a professional hacker?

If your children are going online to play games, walk them through the basics of protecting themselves from online predators and safeguarding data on the computer.

In mid-April, the government launched the Cyber Security Awareness Alliance, an initiative to make organisations and users more aware of cyber security and get them to adopt protective measures.

Here are six security tips from the alliance that parents can use.

1. Create a strong password using at least eight alphanumeric characters that include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols to make it harder for hackers to steal your password. Here is a simple example based on a phrase: A*4myGr&m@ (a star for my grandma).

2. Show your child how to recognise phishing websites and e-mail messages designed to get unsuspecting users to reveal information such as passwords, addresses and telephone numbers.

3. Tell your children not to chat online with anyone they do not know, to fend off possible predators, including paedophiles.

4. Educate your child to avoid clicking on pop-up messages, especially those that sound too good to be true. For example, those that tell him he has won a prize, but require him to make a payment (hidden in fine print he is unlikely to notice).

5. Set up your computer by downloading all the necessary software first, such as the latest Adobe Flash Player and Unity Technologies' Unity Web Player.

This way, you - and not your child - are in control of what software you download.

6. Make sure your PC is installed with a full anti-virus package that will detect and warn you of a virus attack.

tanykh@sph.com.sg

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