Kaspersky predicts top cybersecurity threats targeting children in 2024

Kaspersky predicts top cybersecurity threats targeting children in 2024

Kaspersky experts shared a list of the top cybersecurity trends parents should be aware of this year, and provided tips on how to safeguard children's online activities.


With most children able to access or own a smartphone or tablet, the age at which they begin their acquaintance with the digital world and technology keeps decreasing. Therefore, it’s crucial for parents to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats targeting kids to better protect them from potential harm. Kaspersky experts shared the following threats that will face children in 2024:


1.     Children will increasingly use AI tools that, so far, are not ready to provide the necessary level of cybersecurity and age-appropriate content


According to UN research, about 80 percent of young people claimed they interact with AI multiple times a day. With the development of AI, numerous little-known applications have emerged with seemingly harmless features, such as uploading a photo to receive a modified version. However, when children upload their images to such applications, they never know which databases their photos will ultimately remain in, and whether they will be used further.


AI apps, specifically chatbots, can also easily provideage-inappropriatecontentwhen prompted. For instance, there is a multitude of AI chatbots that are specifically designed to provide an “erotic” experience. Even though some require a form of age verification, this is dangerous since some children might opt to lie about their age and the prevention of such cases is insufficient.


2.     The growth of malicious actors’ attacks on young gamers


According to the latest online statistics, 91 percent of children aged 3-15 play games on some kind of device. For some games, unmoderated voice and text chat is a large part of the experience. With more young people online, criminals can virtually build trust in the same way they would in person. Cybercriminals sometimes lure young players with gifts or the promise of friendship. Once they have the confidence of a young gamer, they then obtain their personal information by suggesting that they click on a phishing link, which downloads a malicious file onto their device disguised as a game mod for Minecraft or Fortnite.



3.     The development of FinTech industry for kids marks the appearance of new threats


An increasing number of banks are providing specialized products and services tailored for children, including banking cards designed for kids as young as 12. But this makes kids susceptible to financially motivated threat actors and vulnerable to conventional scams such as phishing. Using social engineering techniques, cybercriminals might exploit children’s trust by posing as peers and requesting the sharing of card details or money transfers to their accounts.


4.     The number of smart home threats targeting children will increase


Despite the increasing number of cases of threats to smart home devices, manufacturers are not rushing to create cyber-immune tech that preemptively prevents potential exploits of vulnerabilities. However, this also means children can become tools for cybercriminals in an attack. For instance, if a smart device becomes a fully functional surveillance tool and a child is home alone, cybercriminals can contact them through the device and request sensitive information such as their name, address and times when their parents are not at home — or even their parents’ credit card numbers. In such a scenario, beyond just device hacking, there is also a risk of financial data loss or even a physical attack.


5.     Children are eager to download apps that are unavailable in their country, but stumble upon malicious copies


If an app is unavailable in your region, young users will sometimes look for alternatives, which are often a malicious copy. Even if they turn to official app stores like Google Play, they still run the risk of falling prey to cybercriminals. From 2020 to 2022, Kaspersky researchers found more than 190 apps infected with Harly Trojan on Google Play, which signed up users for paid services without their knowledge. A conservative estimate of the number of downloads of these apps is 4.8 million, but the actual figure of victims may be even higher.


“As we can see, many of the trends that are playing out in society are also affecting children, making them potential targets for attackers,” said Andrey Sidenko, security and privacy expert at Kaspersky. “This includes both the development and popularity of AI and smart homes, as well as the expansion of the world of gaming and FinTech industry. Therefore, it is crucial to teach children the basics of cybersecurity from an early age how not to fall into the trap of cybercriminals, what cyberthreats can occur during gaming, and how to properly protect your personal data. All this is now a must-have knowledge not only for adults, but also for the youngest users.”


To learn more about cybersecurity threats targeting kids in 2024, read the full post on KDaily.


Kaspersky experts suggest protecting children with the following proactive measures:


·       By staying informed about the latest threats and actively monitoring their children’s online activities, parents can create a safer online environment for their kids.


·       It’s crucial for parents to have open communication with their children about the potential risks they may encounter online and to enforce strict guidelines to ensure their safety.


·       To help parents introduce their children to cybersecurity amidst the evolving threat landscape, Kaspersky experts have developed the Kaspersky Cybersecurity Alphabet with key concepts from the cybersecurity industry. In this book, your kid will get to know new technologies, learn the main cyber hygiene rules, find out how to avoid online threats, and recognize fraudsters’ tricks. After reading this book together, you’ll be sure that your kid knows how to distinguish phishing website, how VPN and QR-codes work, and even what honeypots and encryption are and what role they play in modern cybersecurity. You can download the pdf version of the book for free and go through the basics of cybersecurity with your child, building their cybersafe future.


·       To secure your child from downloading any malicious files during their gaming experience, we advise to install a trusted security solution on their device.


·       With the right tools such as Kaspersky’s digital parenting app Safe Kids, parents can effectively safeguard their children against cyber threats in the digital age.



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