Fox News recently published an article on a popular children’s website, Neopets and how it was being used to by identity thieves to send links to the children from which a program would be installed on the computer to steal sensitive information from the children’s parents. Such scams and attacks have been frequently used in sites such as Myspace, Twitter and Facebook, sites appealing to a slightly older age range. However, this new string of attacks shows a new angle that identity thieves are using in which rather than attacking the primary victim, they are using children to act as a gateway, installing malware onto the family computer, which the parents then later use to do their weekly online banking, shopping and bill paying.
What Can You Do to be Safe?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of registered complaints for the year 2008 was the highest ever, with 1.2 million registered instances of identity theft. So, what should you do to help :
- Monitor your children while on the web, within reason
- Scan your computer weekly with free malware removal tools such as Sypbot S&D or Malwarebytes
- Enable phishing protection on your browser. Instructions for Firefox and Internet Explorer