Kids Are At High Risk of Malware, Here’s What Parents Need to Know

Children that grew up with the internet might be more tech savvy than the average adult, but their intuitive understanding of tech doesn’t equal experience. Malicious actors are well aware of how easy it can be to target children, and they are using specific search terms to guide unsuspecting younger users to websites laden with malware.

Home Security Heroes just published some data that sheds light on the most dangerous search terms out there. Parents should note them down, since children might use them without realizing where they lead. The end result would be a malicious actor taking control of their system, and given the level of privacy children get while surfing the web these days, this could lead to truly concerning outcomes.

Children often search pop culture terms like bestselling games, favorite celebrities, and top 100 animated TV shows. Unsurprisingly, malicious actors are using SEO techniques to incorporate these keywords into their sites. The research involved running these keywords through Google Trends, and then put the results through security checks offered by cybersecurity firms like Sucuri SecurityCheck.

It turns out that 2 out of every 3 popular search terms that will likely be used by children ran the risk of infecting their devices with malware. Boss Baby was one of the worst offenders, with malicious actors frequently using the popular child oriented media franchise to target the most vulnerable people on the internet. The same went for Beetlejuice, Animal Crossing and even Pokemon, revealing that children ideally shouldn’t be allowed to click on search results without an adult present.

56% of results that came up with Hotel Transylvania 2 was entered led to malware filled sites. 48% of results for Despicable Me 2 were the same, with 45% for Big Hero 6 and Shrek, and 44% for Wall-E, Megamind and Shark Tale.

As for games, Animal Crossing was the most dangerous with 46% of the search results its pulled up offering a high risk of malware infection. FIFA 18 was also highly risky with 44%, and all of the research clearly shows that malicious actors have deep insights into how they can make it easier to target children.

The goal here is to trick them into clicking on suspicious and risky links. More work needs to be done to educate the terminally online younger populace so that they can avoid these threats.
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