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Key Cybersecurity Threats in 2024 Predictions Target Children

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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 children to better protect them from potential harm.

Kaspersky experts explore some of the key cybersecurity trends parents should be aware of – and provide tips on how to safeguard their children’s online activities.

#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 a UN research, about 80% 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, and whether they will be used further.

Moreover, AI apps, specifically chatbots, can easily provide age-inappropriate content when 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 latest online statistics, 91% of children aged 3-15 play games on any 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. Firstly, cybercriminals gain the trust of young players by luring them with gifts or promises 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, or even grooming them.

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

An increasing number of banks are providing specialised products and services tailored for children, including banking cards designed for children as young as 12-years old.

Yet, with the introduction of banking cards for children, the latter also become susceptible to financially motivated threat actors and vulnerable to conventional scams, like promises of a free PlayStation 5 or other valuable assets after entering card details on a phishing site.

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 threat cases with children being potential targets, 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 time, when their parents are not at home — or even their parents’ credit card number. In such a scenario, beyond just device hacking, there is also a risk of financial data loss or even a physical attack.

#5 Children will demand their personal online space is respected.

As children mature, they develop greater self-awareness, encompassing an understanding of their personal space, privacy, and sensitive data, both offline and in their online activities. Consequently, when a parent firmly communicates the intent to install a parenting digital app on a device, not all children will take it calmly.

This is why parents now require the skill to discuss their offspring’s online experience and the importance of parenting digital apps for online safety while respecting personal space. This involves establishing clear boundaries and expectations and discussing the reasons for using the app with any child.

#6 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 look for alternatives, which is 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 have 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. 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,” comments Andrey Sidenko, security and privacy expert at Kaspersky.

 


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Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

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Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has commenced the distribution of seized food items across the country, following a mandate from the federal government, in a bid to alleviate the economic hardships faced by Nigerians.

Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

Beneficiaries would be required to provide a verifiable National Identification Number (NIN) to access the assistance.

Wale Adeniyi, customs comptroller-general, announced the initiative during a flag-off event in Lagos, highlighting the collaboration with other agencies to ensure direct distribution to those in need.

The distribution targets various segments of the population, including artisans, teachers, and religious organizations, with an emphasis on reducing food prices.

Adeniyi assured the public of the safety of the distributed rice, certified by NAFDAC, and outlined measures to prevent misuse or diversion.

The operation addresses food hoarding and smuggling, contributing to the government’s broader strategy to stabilize food prices and enhance national food security.

 

 

 


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Access Bank, FG Partner to Provide N50bn Funding for MSMEs

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Access Bank has said that it will be working with the Office of the Vice President to provide N50 billion as soft loans and grants to four million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the country.

Chioma Ogwo, Head, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank Plc, disclosed this at the Inaugural Job Creation and MSME Quarterly Communications Forum in Abuja on Thursday.

Ogwo said the initiative was aimed at empowering businesses in Nigeria, by building their capacities and providing them with financial support.

According to her, 4 million MSMEs are expected to be empowered every year for four years, with 70,000 having access to finance while 300,000 will receive training.

She also mentioned that as part of the initiative, selected SMEs will have the chance to travel overseas and observe how businesses operate in other nations through its Business Exchange Programme.

Ogwo said: “So, this initiative, called the Youth Thrive by Access, is focused on MSMEs and we are looking at empowering them. There are different ways in which we are going to empower them. We are going to empower them by building their capacity and giving them access to affordable finance.

“We are going to build their capacities in different ways. There is going to be digital, technical, and also, skill acquisition training. With regards to finance, we are going to be giving them loans, and we are also going to be giving them grants.

“The grants are free. They are not paying us back. But, we are only giving grants to deserving SMEs who have done very well and there are price ranges for different categories.

“So, we have earmarked 50 billion for this intervention. For the first year, we will look at it and then will would review it”

While praising Access Bank for the initiative, Mr. Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Office of the Vice-President, stated that the objective was to remove obstacles to MSMEs’ loan access and to secure lower interest rates for them.

Johnson added that after evaluating the initiative’s effectiveness, the federal government would then consider whether to expand the funding.

According to him, “What we are trying to achieve is to be able to guarantee seamless and easy access to funding for the SMEs. We want businesses to be able to apply for funding and be sure that in the worst case, in 14 days, you have the funds that you need for your business.

“We do not want businesses to apply for loans and be waiting for disbursement in six weeks. Some of these businesses can fold up within those months. So, what we want, and what they have promised us, which we know they have the capacity to deliver on, is that this disbursements will be quick after the loan assessments are processed, so that we will help reduce the bottlenecks of MSMEs running from pillar to looking for funding.”


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MoneyMaster PSB Records Increase in Customer Base

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MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank, promoted and backed by digital services company Globacom has continued to witness tremendous increase in its customer base since it commenced operations.

The PSB which launched commercial operations in May 2022 in order to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria is focused on the unbanked and under-banked in the country.

The number of customers has been on increase with majority of them attracted by the bank’s digital channels such as USSD, mobile app and internet banking which allow them to open accounts, buy airtime and data, pay utility bills and perform other services hitch free.

The PSB has also embarked several innovations, with new services introduced in recent times for the benefit of its customers across the country.

These developments, industry sources said propelled Nigerians to join the bank in order to enjoy series of top – notch financial services and also conduct their banking transactions assurance promptly.

The sources disclosed further that “There are currently over 4,000 billers on the MMPSB platform and that the number is growing on a daily basis.

“Through the platform, customers are able to pay for many essential services such as airtime, data, electricity, cable subscription, etc”.

The PSB is also retooling and reengineering its operation with several new initiatives to be unveiled soon for better customer experience, thus assuring them of exciting times ahead.


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