How Your Child’s Data Is More Important Than You Think
Last year, millions of students, parents, and teachers were forced to make the difficult transition to online learning. The abruptness of this transition meant that most of the attention was placed on creating a system that was functional and far too little effort was allocated to cybersecurity.
The danger here is that this oversite combined with the drastic increase in remote learning puts millions of children at risk from privacy concerns that even parents and teachers may not even know exist.
Old Privacy Concerns
The harrowing truth is that these privacy concerns are not new. In fact, the FBI has warned the pre-university students face a number of cybersecurity risks that include the exposure of their personal identifiers, biometric data, school information, location, browser history, IP addresses, and many other data that should be closely guarded.
What Exactly Can a Criminal Do with This Data?
While your child’s data may not seem like a valuable resource, there’s so much a criminal can do with your child’s data. The most prevalent use of a child’s stolen data is in the creation of a synthetic identity, which is a “unique” identity created by piecing together bits of data from a collection of different individuals. These identities are then paired with an unused Social Security number.
How Does This Harm My Child?
As absurd as it may sound, there are limited measures that can prevent a fraudster from applying for credit through an underage Social Security number. Once a fraudster has access to a credit line, they can begin to undermine your finances right from under your nose by building credit, gaining account access, and by amassing heart-rending debts over time.
The primary purpose of using children’s data for this type of fraud is that parents don’t generally check their child’s credit reports or teach their kids about identify theft prevention.
The worst part is that this security compromise can go unnoticed until the child (now a young adult) tries to apply for a student loan, a credit line, or a car loan. Criminals can wreak havoc on your finances in a matter of minutes. Imagine what they can do with several years.
Can I Protect My Child?
Fortunately, this threat can be averted by establishing good internet security habits at home. Many of these habits, such as the use of strict privacy app settings, enabling two-factor authentication, and the use of antivirus software, are general safety practices that every citizen ought to know by now. Other measures function as an additional security layer for when you use your device as a conduit of data, as is the case in remote learning and in remote working setups. Parents aren’t hopelessly vulnerable to these attacks, but even a single security lapse can cost you dearly.
This Threat Will Only Worsen in The Near Future
Even when this problem seems as bad as it already is, the threat to data privacy will only become worse with the advent of data-focused technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
Artificial intelligence will require a lot of raw data before it can function the way it was intended to – which is to be able to assimilate new information to alter its processes on its own. This can easily become an excuse to collect data from users, especially from those who choose to opt into the services that are provided by these programs.
The introduction of the internet of things into the consumer market will mean that there will be a sudden and drastic increase in the devices that will be able to collect data from their users, which will make it much more difficult to control the flow of data, especially when children are involved. We cannot yet implement security measures for a problem that has not arisen, but the one thing that’s sure to happen is that things will only become more complicated, which is why it’s important to establish good data security habits as early as now.
Remember, even when your child’s data may not seem like much, it can be used to devastating effect by criminals. Your child’s data is more important than you might think; be sure you guard it accordingly.