SAN ANGELO, Texas — Experts say you should keep an eye out on your child’s computer or mobile device being used for online learning this semester.
On Wednesday, 5,000 San Angelo school children will begin the school year through the “virtual academy,” learning through a computer screen.
Experts are reminding parents to keep an eye out for cyber attacks, which can compromise devices and personal information.
“They can lock you out of your machine, steal your data or use password recovery software to get stuff from your bank accounts. They’ll lock you out of it claiming they’re fixing it and demand money from you directly,” said Computer Bytes Owner/CEO, Kenneth Knighton.
According to Knighton, nowadays brute force attacks (where a hacker guesses your passwords correctly and obtains access to your accounts) are less common. Hacking a computer can be done when a user simply clicks on a pop-up ad.
“Brute force attacks are limited because it’s a lot easier to get you to click on something than to brute force onto your machine,” explained Knighton, “Anybody could fall. They could be working on a research paper, get a pop-up, accidentally click on it and that would start the process of it starting to take over your machine. General rule is if something pops up, claiming to call a number, they’re all fake. None of the big companies will ever do that.”
Knighton recommends parents make separate user accounts for children, and give them limited access.
“If you’re on a Windows machine, I would make a new user account and give it limited ability. You can make it a standard user instead of an admin, and that limits the ability of programs to be installed. That’s one of the best ways to protect especially younger kids from accidentally clicking on stuff. Then a system will pop up and ask for an admin password to install, and that will probably stop it because then mom and dad will be like ‘nope,'” continued Knighton.
Knighton said no reputable computer program will ever give you a pop-up ad asking for anything.
“The scam is the easiest thing they can do. You can get a pop-up or phone call that they’re claiming to be from Microsoft, Norton or Macafee. They’re trying to get you to answer or call them and then they get remote access to your machine. Once they do that, they can do whatever they want,” added Knighton.
If you believe your device has been compromised, you can contact Computer Bytes at 325-223-9200.
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