Kaspersky Lab has welcomed Facebook and Ceop's (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service) Panic Button app, which is designed to protect children and teenagers who use the social networking site, but says more education and vigilance is needed to keep young people safe online.
Ram Herkanaidu, at member of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab comments: "Having a Panic Button is an important step, but it needs to be part of a wider education for both adults and children on how to keep them safe online. It can be difficult for anyone, child or adult, to know who online strangers really are, so it is important to understand the techniques used to lure young people and how to combat them."
Kaspersky Lab recommends all online users have a good Internet security suite installed on their computer, with parental controls that can monitor youngsters' social networks interactions and if need be, block messaging to certain users as well as confidential information like the home address, phone numbers and other sensitive private data.
Online users of all ages should be vigilant and Kaspersky Lab encourages parents to look for potential problems:
- Always be aware of how much your children use the Internet and to whom they are speaking to and when. Investigate any new contacts, especially if they approach your child first
- Encourage children never to give personal data to online 'friends' unless they are completely sure they are legitimate contacts they know and trust offline
- If your Internet security has parental controls make full use of them to monitor your children's online activity and stop them being groomed into giving personal information that could potentially put them in danger
Social networking websites are a modern cultural phenomenon. Facebook alone currently has over 300 million active users, 150 million of which log-on at least once a day. Each user has on average 130 'friends', but many people, especially the young, are either unaware or do not care that lax security settings can enable everyone to read their information and thus put them at risk.