Smarter Clicks: 5 Tips to Help Your Family Avoid Risky Cyber Search Traps

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smart search habitsSearching the internet has become as much a part of daily life as pouring that first cup of coffee each morning. We rely on it, we expect it to deliver, and often, we do it without much thought. McAfee’s annual Most Dangerous Celebrity list gives us a chance to hit pause on our habits and think about smart search habits.

MDC: Ruby Rose

This year, it’s “Orange is the New Black” and “Batwoman” actress Ruby Rose, who gets to don the digital crown of Most Dangerous Celebrity. That means cyber crooks and hackers are on to the public’s love of Ruby Rose and are exploiting those innocent searches for news, photos, and videos on this top actor. Other top dangerous searches include the list on the right graphic. (Sitcom and television actors — Kristin Cavallari, Debra Messing, Kourtney Kardashian — surprisingly outranked musicians this year by the way, so the click trend is weighted toward TV fans; if you are one, beware)!

This MDC reveal, coupled with October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a perfect time to sit down with your family and discuss safe clicking practices.

Smart Clicking

  1. smart search habitsBeware of third party movie/music downloads. Some kids (and adults) search the internet for bootleg movies and music to download. Talk to your kids about this unsafe (and illegal) practice and the consequences of doing this. The safest thing to do? Advise your kids to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware. This also applies to MP3 music searches. If you search the phrase “free MP3” results would include some risky websites, so be aware of this cyber trap and search carefully. If a site looks suspect, keep moving. Teach kids that very few things that are legitimate are also free online.
  2. Update ASAP to stay safe! When you get a notification to update your phone, tablet, or PC, do it right away to make sure you have the latest, most secure version — which includes security updates and bug fixes — of your software. Updating timely is a critical way to block hackers and stop malware.smart search habits
  3. Examine links. We aren’t about to stop searching right? So, the solution is to search smarter.Like it or not, we’ve got to become security pros to some degree. Teach your family members to slow down and examine sites in order to spot sketchy third-party links. Look for flaws. Refuse to click on that third-party link that could get you in trouble — it’s simply not worth it!
  4. Protect devices. We are going to search; not much can stop that. So, search with an extra layer of security protection such as McAfee Total Protection. This comprehensive security solution keeps your family devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can stop your kids from going to malicious websites.
  5. Think about parental control software. Kids are big fans of whomever and whatever is on trend and love to search, scroll, and consume information on celebrities. Helping kids balance online time with daily responsibilities and relationships can take up a big chunk of our time as parents. Consider setting limits on screen time and use software that filters inappropriate content and protects against malicious sites.

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her onTwitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures)

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