Hackers Targeting Teens and Young Surfers

Recently I put four Windows 7 systems, fully patched & updated, with current anti-virus, through the most difficult security test that I could image. I unleashed seven teenagers upon them.

The teens were given no restrictions, or pre-security warnings, just to surf as they normally would. Two hours later, each computer was full of viruses.

The viruses included everything from nuisance adware to spyware and more seriously, backdoor trojans.

Each machine was infected numerous times, even though anti-virus and anti-spyware was installed and up to date.

When the searching history on each PC was examined, I found that the majority of the teen’s searches were for these types of sites:

  • Free online games
  • Music
  • Twilight
  • and last but not least,

  • Taylor Lautner
  • The majority of the infections came from these innocent looking sites. Most were installed along with the “free games” that were installed. Some came from the “video update” needed to watch the videos. And lastly, some actually tripped the anti-spyware. But when asked do you want to block this site? The answer was, of course “no”, because I want to see Taylor Lautner…

    It appears from these results that hackers are specifically targeting teens and young surfers. Those who do not understand the security risks, have not been taught about the risks or simply don’t care.

    So, what can you do if you have young surfers? Set rules up for surfing. We have found sites that we have checked and are safe & virus free for what the kids want to do. For example, when our kids look for videos they are allowed to use “You Tube”.  We no longer allow the kids to download any “free” online games. The majority of these sites had viruses, and finally we just banned them all.

    Also, we have shown the children what a fake anti-virus warning looks like and what the real one looks like. And, what to do when the spyware warnings pop up. This has worked very well and kept the machines virus free.  

    7 thoughts on “Hackers Targeting Teens and Young Surfers”

    1. Interesting test Dan. You should try it with a different group, but don’t give them admin so they can’t install anything. It’s not as much fun for them or you, but the outcome should be quite different – or at least I would hope so.

    2. Two words, well three actually, Faronics Deep Freeze. Since Microsoft in it’s infinite wisdom did not update their Steady State product for Win 7, there are few alternatives. And no I am not connected with the company, just have used it alot.

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