Why Parents need to defend their homes against the deep waters of the Internet 0 228

  • According to a survey published by Youth Dynamix, a specialist Youth and Family Research Agency, over 18% of Kenyan Youth own a smartphone.
  • 79% of the Youth Wallet Share is specially allocated to airtime. Essentially, what this statistic points out is that if a parent gives their children a sum of KES 4,000 each month then KES 3,160 could go exclusively to internet usage and voice calls.
  • A staggering 35% of all Internet downloads are related to pornography.

Floaters

Nearly every parent in Kenya remembers the first time they took any of their children out for swimming. No one has done any particular research on this subject matter but any attentive person will soon realize that it is a cold, hard fact.

I embarked to ask parents why this memory was so vivid and their response was equally as fascinating. Majority of the parents to whom I posed this question to uniformly attribute the clarity of those beautiful first strokes of their children to the immense risk that swimming posed on their little ones and what their eventual success meant for their future.

“When I put the floaters on him and placed him in the water, I thought that he may sink but he got in and just started kicking away! I knew he would be a great swimmer! I’ve never been prouder!”

Most parents were not so lucky, their children required constant practice and training in order to successfully land those first strokes. Crucially and, most notably, during that first swim, over 97% of these parents all had their children wear floaters.

Proper use of the Internet could create innovative, socially adept leaders out of children. However, there exist numerous risks with the use of the Internet among the youth.

Much like teaching your child swimming, each parent must understand that there is a duty of care which they have to adhere to once they purchase any internet-enabled device, such as a mobile phone and tablet and allow their children to use it.

The Youth Spend on Internet Usage

The cybersecurity community finds internet use among children and the youth most interesting.

After delving into statistics about youth and their internet use, we found some pretty insightful things about how the youth access and interact with digital technology in Kenya.

According to a survey published by Youth Dynamix, a specialist Youth and Family Research Agency, over 18% of Kenyan Youth own a smartphone.

Further, the primary function of a smartphone has diversified wildly. Not only is a smartphone utilized for voice calls and internet access but also for their day to day financial transactions.

The Youth’s reliance on digital technology does not stop there. Findings from the research firm, Youth Dynamix pointed out that about 79% of the Youth Wallet Share is specially allocated to airtime.

Essentially, what this statistic points out is that if a parent gives their children a sum of KES 4,000 each month then KES 3,160 could go exclusively to internet usage and voice calls.

It is of note that data usage is much more prevalent than voice calls among the youth demographic.

Internet use is a social norm

I do not intend to load this article with complex statistic-based data, however, the more one looks at the numbers, the more apparent the reality of constant internet use among the Youth in our country becomes.

Constant use may ultimately mean constant exposure to the vices and obscenities of an open and unchecked information pool where pornography and other forms of putrid content fester.

A statistic that should raise Kenyan parents’ eyebrows is based on a recent survey which pointed out that a staggering 35% of all Internet downloads are related to pornography.

A staggering 35% of all Internet downloads are related to pornography. Click to Tweet

Moreover, cyberterrorism has led to the growth and development of radicalization among impressionable children.

Modern recruitment campaigns from terrorist organizations often necessitate the protection and monitoring of children’s cyberactivity, otherwise the virtues and positive social cues which parents take years to teach their children is often replaced by dark, nihilistic ideas which could lead to dire consequences not just within the home, but for the State as well.

What is it that you have done to safeguard your child from the dangers of the Internet?

A valid counter argument will always be that the Internet is a treasure trove of knowledge and innovation, that the network effects present within the Web can bring out the best out of our young population; that constantly being on the Internet is not always a bad thing.

The latter may be true, but perhaps it is time for parents and guardians to ask themselves what exactly they have done to validate these fruitful notions.

What roles do parents play in ensuring the safe and righteous use of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops after their purchase? Why aren’t parents more involved in the manner which their children use the Internet? How can parents ensure that the Internet is used to add value to the education of their children?

In conclusion

In conclusion, Millennials (the youth born between 1980-1995) and Generation Z (the youth born between 1996-2010) rarely (if ever) forget their first mobile phone, first tablet or first laptop.

Don’t take my word for it?

We recommend that you ask them, and while you are at it discuss how parental control and guidance over internet use can mutually benefit the home and the family.

Refuse to let your children drown in the vast pool of information that is the Internet, it is time to gently put the floaters on, mums and dads. It is time to put the floaters on.

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Coming to terms with cyber security nightmare 0 195

Teddy Njoroge

Last year internet security companies made forecasts about possible cyber-threats to really worry about this year. This we followed with measures that companies and individuals needed to take to ensure a cyber-safe 2018. Paramount among these was the need for proactive use of protective software tools as well as sensitisation and training of users about these threats.

True to predictions, 2018 started with a scenario hardly anyone could have foreseen. Two serious design vulnerabilities in Computer Central Processing Units (CPUs) were exposed that could enable cyber-criminals to steal sensitive or private information such as passwords, documents and photos among other data from unsecured devices.

The “Meltdown and Spectre” CPU vulnerabilities point to a much larger underlying issue. Software bugs and hardware bugs are more common than not, but these once identified can be fixed fairly easily with either a software patch or firmware update for hardware issues.

However, as it turns out this is not possible with these two vulnerabilities as they are caused by a design flaw in the hardware architecture, only fixable by replacing the actual hardware. And that is where the problems begin.

CPUs of affected manufacturers such as AMD, ARM, Intel, among others appear in a lot of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and which are scattered all over the globe.

According to ARM, they are already “securing” a trillion (1,000,000,000,000) devices. Granted, not all ARM CPUs are affected, but if even 0.1 per cent of them are, it still means a billion (1,000,000,000) affected devices.

Due to the huge costs involved, it is not feasible to replace all these faulty CPUs. In reality people will keep their existing devices until end of their life cycles, for years even.

Deployed for countless and diverse applications in the households or offices, once operational many owners have most likely forgotten that they have them and which inherently leaves a giant gap for cybercriminals to exploit.

Any Wi-Fi-controlled device such as refrigerator, digital picture frames, Smart TVs, DVRs and PVRs etc., potentially provides opportunity for sensitive data to be lost. For example, a compromised Wi-Fi password for any of these can make it possible for anyone to hack your home or office network thus giving automatic access to any other connected platform such as emails, social media pages and even shared cloud or archive platforms.

Even though to get access to your IoT device, a would be attacker needs to have compromised the internet network already, or even the applications running on the device, we know that cyber-criminals just like a pack of wolves will not relent after smelling blood.

As a warning, when you are buying a new IoT device, ensure to check which CPU it is running on, and if that CPU is affected by these vulnerabilities.

 

Meltdown and Spectre 0 300

 Microsoft released Security Advisory 18002 on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 to mitigate a major vulnerability to Windows in modern CPU architectures. ESET released Antivirus and Antispyware module 1533.3 the same day to all customers to ensure that use of our products would not affect compatibility with Microsoft’s patch.

The first few days of 2018 have been filled with anxious discussions concerning a widespread and wide-ranging vulnerability in the architecture of processors based on Intel’s Core architecture used in PCs for many years, as well as processors from AMD, and even affecting ARM processors commonly used in tablets and smartphones.

The good news is that ESET can help protect against the types of malware that could take advantage of these vulnerabilities.

And, ESET was one of the very first security vendors to allow the Microsoft patch against the flaw to be enabled.

While ESET protects against potential malware infection, you should also take these steps to secure your computers and data:

  • Make sure your browser is up to date. For Chrome or Firefox users:
    • Mozilla has released information describing their response, including how Firefox 57 will address these security flaws.
    • Google has stated, “Chrome 64, due to be released January 23, will contain mitigations to protect against exploitation.” In the meantime, you can enable “Site Isolation” found in current stable versions of Chrome to provide better protection.
  • Make sure you update your ESET software, then update your Windows OS to protect against this exploit. To update ESET:
  • Customers should review ESET’s Knowledgebase article for important updates.
  • See this great collection of tips, articles and recommendations from the Google Project Zero team.
  • If you have a cloud-based server or have a website hosted by hosting provider, check to see what mitigations they have implemented already to prevent Meltdown.