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Hackers are tricking kids into installing malicious apps—here’s how to keep your family safe


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Tweens and teens are being targeted on sites like TikTok and Instagram for downloading malicious apps. (Photo: Getty)

It’s impossible to track kids’ internet activity 24/7. New social media platforms and messaging apps pop up all the time, and young people are always the first to know. In fact, nearly half of children between the ages of 12 and 16 feel addicted to their smartphones, Cyber ​​security group says enough is now. Considering teens and tweens can also be highly trusted, it’s no surprise that they are targets for online scammers.

If you’re like the 39 percent of parents, you use parental controls to filter online threats. Sadly, that’s not enough — especially now that scammers are targeting kids through one of their favorite digital entertainments: gaming apps.

More than 2.4 million people unknowingly downloaded malicious gaming apps last summer

Malicious Apps, Norton Security Online

Malicious Apps, Norton Security Online

Brace yourself: Malicious apps in game form were downloaded 15 million times this summer — straight from the Google Play Store, no less — Avast. According to cyber security professionals in. Several games, puzzles and even smartphone wallpaper apps were advertised on youth-oriented platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. but children and teens who have set up these Hundreds of infected apps Little did they know they carried dangerous adware.

Once installed, a malicious app floods your mobile device with unwanted pop-ads. Just one click and those ads will trigger malware, or malicious software, to take over the device and steal sensitive information like payment details, social security numbers and anything else that can lead to identity theft. If the phone is connected to your home Wi-Fi, other devices on that network may be compromised as well.

Norton Security is an undisputed leader in online cyber security (Photo: Yahoo)

Norton Security is an undisputed leader in online cyber security (Photo: Yahoo)

One way to avoid malicious apps is to invest in powerful antivirus software like Norton Security Online – An undisputed leader in cyber security. One account protects up to five mobile devices from all kinds of cyber threats. Once downloaded, the software will detect and remove existing malware, then thwart future attempted adware attacks in real time. It also shields any personal or financial information associated with each device using bank-grade encryption.

Norton Security Online, Malicious Apps

Norton Security Online, Malicious Apps

Malware can be hidden Any Application. It’s also easy to fall victim to an adware trap when you’re shopping, banking, or donating online. Malware also comes in the form of phishing emails and texts.

Whereas norton antivirus software While it’s important to protect your family online, there are some precautions you should take against malicious apps. we turned to Cybersecurity expert Nevin Markwart, Chief Information Security Officer at FutureVault, for tips.

Download apps only from legitimate sources like Apple and Google

While third-party app stores do exist, they carry a very high risk of malware infection, so it’s best to completely block children’s access to them.

“The key to avoiding malicious apps is to download apps only from Apple or Google,” says Markwart. “These platforms have matured over the past ten years and do a great job of filtering out application developers who violate platform security and privacy requirements. Using other platforms can be quite risky.”

Buy it: Norton Security Online, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscription.yahoo.com

Beware of granting permissions when prompted by an app

Norton Security Online, Malicious Apps

Norton Security Online, Malicious Apps

An app you downloaded may prompt you to turn on Location Services or request permission to access your camera, microphone, or even your storage. It’s easy to hit “Accept” to keep things running, but MacWert warns, “Be very diligent provision permissions for the app. Ask yourself, does the app really need to access your camera or personal contacts.” Is?”

Unnecessary permissions should be a red flag that an app is looking for attack avenues. Aside from caution and instruct children to do the same. If an app cannot function without the requested permissions, you will always have the opportunity to grant them later.

Buy it: Norton Security Online, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscription.yahoo.com

Do not leave apps ‘open’ on your device when not in use

“When apps are ‘running in the background,’ they can still send information and data back to the app developer,” McWart says. “If the User has provisioned the App to obtain the User’s location, the App Developer will be able to track its Users for an unnecessarily extended period.”

Bottom line: If an app doesn’t need to know your location, don’t allow it. Young people are often conditioned to have apps like Snapchat running in the background to let friends know where they are at all times. They may need a reminder to break the habit.

One program that you can always keep running in the background is Norton Security Online. It’s software that never sleeps, helping to keep kids, parents, and anyone with a mobile device safe from malicious apps that want more information than you can share.

Norton Security Online (Photo: Subscriptions.yahoo.com)

Norton Security Online (Photo: Subscriptions.yahoo.com)

Buy it: Norton Security Online, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscription.yahoo.com

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