Category: Internet Filtering & Security

How To Protect Your Computer at Risk

How to Protect Your Computer

Let’s be real here: our computers are our lifelines. We work with them. We order things with them. We use them for entertainment. Our phones, tablets, and even iPods are all computers to their core. Our lives are very much revolve around computers. It would be hard to go a full day without them.

If a virus or malware hits your computers, it will be a major hassle to clean and secure your files. Of course, that is if you’re lucky to catch the problem in time. In some cases, your whole computer may be fried with no hope of retrieving any lost data. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are ways to protect your computer from the nightmare of spam, viruses, and malware. Common sense goes a long way in preventing the worst from happening. But taking care of a computer doesn’t always have to be a lot of work. It’s much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to save your computer from utter disaster.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs

The installation of a reliable anti-virus program cannot be stressed enough, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You should also install a program that specializes in scanning for removing malware. These programs can regularly do a deep scan and clean of your entire computer.

Be careful when installing virus protection and malware cleaners. Some of them are legitimate while others will make the problem even worse. How can you tell you are getting a good program to protect your computer? Do your homework. It doesn’t take much to get on Google to check out which programs are recommended by reputable websites.

Anti-Virus typically focuses on protecting your email. Anti-malware programs are better at block malicious websites you visit or block a session hijacking attack.

Ad blocker is your friend!

Blocking pop-up ads will cut down on the chances of being a victim of computer infections, including ransomware. Ransomware is a nasty program that will hold your computer hostage until you pay up.

Pop-up blockers will lessen the chances of getting all sorts of malware or viruses. As well, your web surfing experience will much smoother. The browser you are using will probably have an ad blocker but you’ll need to activate it.

Back up everything!

In case your computer crashes for any reason, make sure everything backed up. Cloud backup programs have made this much easier. External hard drives are also good for backing up files, whether you set it up automatically or do it manually every once in a while. There is nothing worse than losing your treasured pics and videos when it doesn’t take much effort to copy them to another device.

Having a strong password will help too. Not having a password is like leaving your front door wide open. It’s not wise to have a weak password either. Some sites will require at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol to be strong. However, many accounts your sign up for are not so picky. Choose a unique password for each of your accounts.

Keep all software up to date.

Out-of-date software is an invitation for malware and viruses. Within all of your computer programs, select “automatic updates” and you won’t have to worry about it. This includes your computer operating systems, whether it be Windows, Mac or any tablet.

For additional protection, a VPN might be a good way to go too. More people are looking for a secure way to enjoy their time on the internet. This will keep out spying eyes for sure. It does not take more to look up how to install a VPN either. Again, just be careful to look for a legitimate VPN system that will not mess up a computer.

Use Comment Sense. In all your online activities, don’t rely on an anti-virus software program to do all the work for you. If an email looks suspicious, don’t click the link or open the attachment. Delete it right away. If a website doesn’t look right, close your browser and don’t visit the site again.

Read about more ways to protect yourself online:

How Browsing Fingerprinting is Used to Track You

Tips to Protect your Family from Identity Theft

protecting-your family from identity theft

In 2017 there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States – a record high, according to a study by Javelin researchers. Children fall among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft due to the existence of so many points of entry.

These access points include tablets, mobile phones, computers, and good old-fashioned home break-ins. As a result, protecting your family from a security breach can feel overwhelming.

However, there are ways to reduce risk and increase identity theft protection. Use the following tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Use long, random passphrases

Unless your password is a random set of letters, numbers, and characters, it’s easier to crack than you might think.

To reduce your chances of a security breach, keep the following tips in mind:

Create a long passphrase.

Don’t write passwords on notes near your computer.

Don’t use identical passwords across multiple accounts.

Don’t use words or numbers that are significant to you.

Fraudsters scan public profiles for personal information and identifying details to try to crack passwords. That’s why it’s important not to use things like birth dates, pet names, or details about your kids in your passwords. Especially for the most important online accounts, such as your bank, insurance, or home Wi-Fi.

The easiest way to create secure passwords is to use random (meaningless) phrases mixed with numbers and symbols (e.g., Fox8thegiAntsandwich!).

Because it’s difficult to keep track of multiple random passwords, consider using a dedicated password manager to generate and save secure passwords. That way all your passwords are truly random and saved in a secure location.

2. Be careful using smart speakers and other automated toys

The Internet of Things and smart tech have created a more connected world than ever before. In fact, even some children’s toys can now connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. However, not all smart tech is secure.

Several toy manufacturers have come under fire in the past few years for having inadequate security and, in some cases, data breaches that put millions of children’s personal information at risk.

If you decide to buy a smart toy, do your research ahead of time. One important thing to look for is where the data is stored. If data is stored directly on the toy, the risk should be relatively small. If the data is sent to a server, it could be stolen by hackers who eventually use the information for credit card fraud or identity theft. 

Play it safe by inputting only false info (e.g., fake birth dates and pseudonyms), or consider forgoing smart toys altogether.

3. Upgrade your home security

The digital world isn’t the only place your family is at risk. The home is often where identity theft begins. Burglars aren’t just looking for fancy jewelry or TVs—personal information can be much more valuable.

Always keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and other sensitive records in a locked safe or file cabinet. And be extra cautious during high-risk periods when thieves are more active, such as over holidays—never share your vacation plans publicly until after you’ve returned home.

Also, think about investing in a home security system so you can keep tabs on your property while you’re away and protect your family 24/7.

4. Monitor and freeze your child’s credit

Children are likely targets for identity theft because they have clean credit and the theft is likely to go undetected for years until the child is older. By this time, the damage is done, making it difficult for the child to apply for credit, get school loans, and pursue job opportunities.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent credit fraud. One of the best ways is credit monitoring to keep tabs on your child’s credit. If you notice any bank loans, credit card applications, or other activity, your child’s identity has likely been compromised and you need to take immediate action and report the fraud.

You can also go one step further to prepare and freeze your child’s credit until they’re older. A credit freeze limits access to your child’s credit file, making it harder for would-be thieves to open accounts in your child’s name.

5. Talk to your kids about internet safety

Once your child can use their own digital devices, they’re at a greater risk of a security breach. Talk to your children early and often about how to stay safe on the internet. Teach them to avoid sharing personal information (such as full names, birth dates, addresses, or school names), talking to strangers online, and making online purchases without your permission.

By limiting how much information you share online, you can protect your family from child identity theft, credit fraud, or worse.

As the world becomes more connected, thieves and fraudsters have more opportunities to take advantage of you and your family. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your children for years to come.

By Andrea Harvey

Kids Search Engine – Safe Internet Filtering

Kids Search Engines

In many ways the internet is more safe today than it was in it’s infancy. Search engines are better at screening out websites that are harmful to children and teens when you activate their filtering features. There are also many search engines in existence that are specifically devoted to providing safe search for kids with a higher level of filtering.

While there are more tools available and a greater awareness about online safety, the internet continues to evolve at a rapid pace. This poses new challenges that need to be addressed. By no means is this a time to ease up on educating kids regarding safe internet use.   This includes keeping the lines of communication open between kids, parents an teachers.

To bookmark our individual search engine tools scroll to the very bottom of this page then select from the following pages; Google SafeSearch – Safe Images – Safe Wiki – Safe Videos.  Or set this page as your main search engine and have your kids or students select the appropriate tab above our main search bar.

Parental Controls for Schools: All the features that parents utilize to protect their kids online is now available for schools.  This offers schools the ability to filter content on all school devices.  Discover internet filtering for schools

Safe Search Filtering

Parents and educators need to be vigilant in striving for the utmost in internet security for their kids, whether it be at home or in school. This is especially true regarding younger children who are not even aware of the dangers. It’s important to keep on top of new trends that may pose a risk. While kids search engines make the internet more safe, social media sites now pose a danger that was not even an issue a few years ago.

For the utmost in online safety for kids, it takes a combination of filtering tools, parental control software and maintaining an open dialogue about topics such as proper rules of social media. Predators are online and unsuspecting children can be tricked into giving out personal information.

Please be advised that no safe search engine should replace the supervision of a parent or teacher when it comes to children browsing the internet. Bookmarking a kids search engine like ours for regular use is only the beginning to creating a safe environment online for children of all ages.

We also need to be reminded that the internet is now accessible on multiple devices and from many locations away from the watchful eyes of parents and guardians.

Google SafeSearch is automatically activated using our search tool. Apart form the web filtering tool at the top of this page, SafeSearch can also be implemented on any desk top browser or phone.  Learn More!

This website, Safe Search Kids, is not Google. We are not directly endorsed by them. Our affiliation with Google is strictly as a third party participating in their Custom Search Engine program.

Kids Search Engine vs Parental Control Software

A kids search engine like ours will filter results to keep kids from landing on bad websites. However, we do not stop a child from leaving our site and conducting a search from a search engine that may not have proper filtering.  Of course, you can activate proper filtering from within your browser, but you can’t block access to harmful websites if a child is determined to seek them out. This can only be done with internet filtering software.

When parental controls with complete internet filtering is installed, if a child clicks through to a website that has illicit or explicit content access is blocked instantly.

The level of blocking can be set according to the age of the child. Additional features include the ability to limit the time of day internet access will be allowed, as well as the number of hours per day.

Celebrate ‘Safer Internet Day’ for Greater Awareness

Education is key to online safety for kids. Safer Internet Day is an annual event that takes place on the 2nd Tuesday of the 2nd week of the 2nd month. The date will change from year to year, but it’s always on a Tuesday. The theme also changes each year to focus on specific topics that are relevant to online safety.

While the focus of Safer Internet Day is designed to protect kids online, it is good advice for anyone surfing the web, including the importance of being aware of malware which ultimately can make your computer vulnerable to unsafe material.

Of course, a safer internet for kids all year long is important using kids search engines that lock safe search on your computer. Safe Internet Day is an additional way to draw attention to this issue. It raises positive awareness to spread the word about how young people can use the internet safely and securely throughout the year. This includes respecting each other online.

Safe Search Filtering on Our Website

Individuals at home or kids in school classrooms can utilize our safe search tools on the top right corner of this website. They include:

And unlike most other websites that employ safe search engines, we feature articles on various subjects related to a healthy online behavior, as well as internet safety articles for parents, teachers and many geared just for kids. Also available is People Search, where you can search for people in public records.

About Our Kids’ Search Engine

Safe Search Kids first launched in 2009 to automatically turn on Google safe search while using any browser.  Over the years it has evolved in to a robust filtering API that aggressively block unwanted websites that prove to be a danger to children.  Search tools were expanded to provide a safe kids wiki, safe images, and a video website that pulls only filtered videos from many educational websites, including YouTube.  In this way it provides an alternative to mainstream video channels.

We have also become a resource for parents and educators who are seeking the latest information related to online safety, including cyberbullying prevention, social media monitoring, and parental controls. Our search partner also provides a free kids search engine in the form of an app download.

Educating Kids on Possible Dangers Online

Kids Discuss Computer Safety with Kids

The conversation around keeping your children safe has come a long way from not talking to strangers and being home before dark. Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging parental discussions to have. It’s turning out to be a required conversation at a very young age.

Children are interacting online at increasingly higher rates than any other age group. The world wide web presents both a network of engaging content and opportunities for copious harmful interactions. It’s vital to have a comprehensive discussion about all the inherent dangers online.

Internet safety for kids is not as simple as limiting what websites they can access. The myriad forms of communication alone are almost impossible to keep track of in real time. These include popular platforms like Google Hangouts or Discord, which work very efficiently to allow for quick steaming video chat and instant voice applications.  However, the trade off for this convenience can result in your home IP address being visible due to a WEBrtc leak. This is just one example of the dangers any child can face online.

While personal safety is paramount, it’s also vital to educate children on the impact their online presence can have. There is a plethora of examples of kids bullying or cyberstalking each other to the point of physical harm via online platforms. It’s just as essential to show the importance of being thoughtful of others online as it is to warn of other dangers.

Steps to Increase the Online Security Awareness

Children often confuse online security with unnecessary restrictions. It’s crucial to be honest with them about why security is so important. It can be difficult for the younger generation to understand such issues as stolen identities and hacking banking information. However, if you can teach them through certain behaviors and make them aware of potential danger zones, you will instill an appropriate view of online security.

Set Up Ground Rules

Limiting screen time or time on the internet has become a trendy way to handle children’s online behaviors. However, it’s getting increasingly difficult to achieve this lofty goal. School work, communication with friends, and gameplay have all been transported to the online world. Thus, it could be perceived as extremely limiting to simply say “only two hours of internet per day.”

However, some standard ground rules are reasonable and beneficial. For example, using the internet in a shared space like the dining or living room. It can help to limit inappropriate online activities. If you encourage children to share any messages or information they find offensive with you, it will help to discover bullying or cyberstalking before it becomes too impactful.

The key to the ground rules is being open and honest about why said rules exist. Clearly explaining what is good and bad on the internet will go a lot further than dictating what is off limits.

Utilize Built-In Security Settings and Features

Most operating systems take young family members into account with certain family-friendly features. Fortunately, these features go a lot further now than restricting certain websites or content.

For example, parents can allot funds to the kid’s online account to use them in the app store. This can remove the temptation for children to spend unbeknownst to parents. Additionally, parents can limit the time spent online with timers, restrict internet content or certain apps, and block the adjustment of specific system settings.

Be Mindful About Online Gaming

Online gaming has become more social than ever. Almost every game has some form of chat component, with many utilizing actual voice chat. Encouraging children to be wary of what information they divulge online is essential. While games are virtual and can always be reset, real information can put your family in danger.

Consider utilizing a VPN while gaming. A VPN can hide the IP address from other users. An IP address could be used to locate your home, even if the child doesn’t give away your exact location.

Be the Example

Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in modern times. Being honest about the dangers of online interactions is crucial. This, along with supplying legitimate reasons for online restrictions can ease the tension caused by discussions about the internet. Model good internet behaviors for children by adhering to the same ground rules as you ask them to follow.

Coaching children on the classic dangers online like communicating with strangers, accessing inappropriate content, and opening files or documents they are not sure about is vital. Children can often see the internet as an “imaginary realm,” where online friends only exist in the online world. Parents must make it plain to children that anything that happens online can lead to physical dangers.

Rather than attempting to only chase down all the potential dangers, it is far more efficient to educate children about digital responsibility and good online behavior, so they know how to interact properly with the vast world of the internet.

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, secure browsing, apps for parental controls, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.

Search public records to find people, connect with long lost friends, family, or conduct background checks to learn about strangers or acquaintances that have contact with your children on the people search engine.