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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Online security

On Wednesday of this week, The Online Mom hosted a Twitter Party on computer safety. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the online dangers facing our kids – cyberbullying, inappropriate web sites – that we sometimes forget about the threats that affect us all.

And those threats have become worse than ever. During the first quarter of 2010, over 327 million attempts were made to infect users’ computers around the world, an increase of 26.8% over the previous quarter. The U.S. and Russia have now surpassed China in terms of the number of servers that host malicious programs.*

Internet security experts Kaspersky Labs reminded us that our kids will probably be spending more time on the computer during the coming months and cybercriminals are not slowing down just because it’s summer. Don’t let your guard down. Here are some tips on how to keep your family safe while surfing online:

  1. Be involved in everything your child does online. Participate in his or her online activities. This will also allow you to monitor your child’s activity first-hand.
  2. Use parental controls. These allow you to set time limits for Internet use, block sites that are inappropriate, and help you keep an eye on who they are communicating with online.
  3. Use strong passwords. Change your passwords often. Make sure they are between 8 and 20 characters and are a mix of upper and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers. Try this password checker to see how strong your passwords are.
  4. Teach your children about online dangers. Make sure children are aware of age-appropriate boundaries and what they can and cannot do on the computer. Have rules in place about how long they can spend on the computer, what sites they can visit, and what software programs they can use.
  5. Computer maintenance is key. In the first quarter of 2010, Kaspersky detected over 12 million vulnerabilities on users’ computers that could have been avoided by updating programs. 6 of the top 10 vulnerabilities were detected in Microsoft products.
  6. Make sure you have a comprehensive security solution, including anti-malware protection, installed on your computer.

Additional tips:

  • Never allow a web site to store your password. It may be inconvenient to retype a password every time you visit a site, but the less information you store online, the better.
  • Remember – search results are not always real!

Visit Kaspersky Lab’s Facebook page StopDigitalPollution to learn more about malware and how to steer clear of online threats.

*Source: Securelist

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