Security Advice for the Summer Vacation

  • During school holidays, kids are likely to spend more time on the Internet than they normally do and thus become an easy prey for cyber-criminals
  • Good Internet surfing practices must be complemented with Parental Controls for maximum security

As summer time approaches, PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security –The Cloud Security Company– advises users to take particular care with social networking sites to prevent falling victim to infection and computer fraud during these months.

“This year we want to focus on kids and teens. The summers is when kids have more free time and are likely to spend more time on the Internet than they normally do”, says Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

In addition to the usual security measures, “This year we ask users to take particular care with social networking sites. As kids and teenagers spend more time on these pages, it is no surprise that the malware that exploits social media is increasing exponentially. Malicious applications and links redirecting users to malware sites are very common nowadays”, adds Corrons, “That’s why good Internet surfing habits must be accompanied by a solid Parental Control system.”

Security Tips for Your Summer Vacation

PandaLabs is continually analyzing the latest Internet trends, and with this in mind, offers the following advice to help safeguard users’ security this season:

Take care with information you enter on social networks: Make sure you don’t publish details like the day you will be going on holiday, especially if details of your address are available on the same social network.

Use parental control programs. During the summer vacation, children will no doubt be using the computer more than usual. That’s why it is as important as ever to instruct them on how to use the Internet safely. It’s a good idea to set timetables for using the Internet, keep an eye on them when they are browsing and prevent them from accessing certain pages or content that could be unsuitable for them. Given that parents will not always be around to monitor how children use the Web, it is advisable to install a parental control program, a tool that will help establish which Web pages your children can see, and which they can’t, etc.

– Pay close attention to your email, as this is a frequently used channel for spreading threats, as well as phishing attacks and other scams distributed in spam. Typically at this time of year, waves of spam emerge offering unrealistically cheap holidays. These messages either surreptitiously ask users to reveal confidential data or prompt them to download information, which is really an infected file. So, needless to say, you should ignore all emails from unknown senders.

Take precautions if you use shared computers: Don’t enter your passwords in shared computers as you can never be sure whether they are infected or not. If you are surfing the Web or chatting in an Internet cafe, try using a computer with an up-to-date antivirus solution installed. Take the following precautions as well: Firstly, don’t enable any option that saves passwords on the local computer when you are logging into accounts from public computers. This would obviously allow the next user of the computer to access any of your accounts. Also, make sure the computer you use is not infected. At the first suspicious sign (pop-ups, malfunction, etc.), stop using the computer. Finally, never use shared computers for bank transfers.

– Promptly install the latest security patches for your applications. Cyber-crooks frequently launch attacks that exploit security holes in commonly-used programs. Developers are continually making security patches available to resolve the problems detected. If your application doesn’t notify you that these updates are available, you should enter the product’s official page occasionally to check whether any patches need to be installed. It is therefore a good idea to update applications on your computer just before you go on vacation and also when you come back.

Leave your router switched off. This will prevent other users connecting to your network -possibly with malicious aims- in your absence. For example, someone could connect to your network and download malicious code which could remain on the network until you start your computer and consequently infect it.

– Don’t connect to unprotected Wi-Fi networks, as you could be hooking up to a network set up by hackers to steal any information that you share across the Internet. Even if you have to pay for it, it is always better to use secure, trusted networks.

– Make sure your computer has an up-to-date and active antivirus solution installed. Remember that Panda’s new 2012 antivirus solutions are now available to you. For more information, go to http://pandasecurity.lin3sdev.com/homeusers/solutions/

“Don’t let computer threats ruin your summer vacation. Follow these few easy tips and enjoy the summer with peace of mind”, concludes Corrons.

For more tips like these, go to the ‘Internet in Safe Hands’ campaign website: http://protectyourfamily.pandasecurity.com/