Are Your Kids Savvy About Internet Safety?

The Internet is an important educational tool. With a click of a mouse, kids can find information on just about anything. Unfortunately, children who don’t practice basic Internet safety may expose themselves and their parents to certain risks.
Children can easily stumble upon inappropriate content. Chat rooms have a reputation for encouraging Internet predation, but pedophiles can stalk victims from Web sites like Facebook as well. Many kids don’t realize that anyone can read what they write on the Internet, so they post home phone numbers, addresses, their full names or the names of their schools.
Social networking sites may also expose children to bullying, as peers can send demeaning e-mails, instant messaging and text messages without attracting attention from parents or teachers. Finally, children may download pirated music or movies, or even computer viruses or spyware.
“The Internet is an important resource for kids, if they know how to use it,” says John Goslin, chief technology officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), a non-profit organization that strives to help young people realize their potential. “Parents need to be aware of the potential dangers and create guidelines to help kids avoid them.”
CA Technologies, which serves as the BGCA’s national information technology security partner through its global philanthropy program, CA Together IT, helps keep 56,000 BGCA computers secure. It starts off with security software, including anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-spyware technology, and prevention measures that restrict unauthorized use.
“Software can help prevent viruses, spyware and inappropriate spam messages, and allow parents to monitor and help protect their children online,” says George Kafkarkou, general manager of CA Technologies. “But parental supervision is the best security measure available to kids.”
Parents should know where their children go online and with whom they communicate. Placing computers in a family room can help you keep an eye on their activities. Parents should instruct children not to give out personal information online, even on sites like Facebook, and ask children to come to them if they encounter anything that makes them nervous or uncomfortable.

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Are You Defending Yourself From Cyber Attacks?

When global retail giants Target, Home Depot and Sony got hacked and personal information was jeopardized, data security, once again, became a hot topic of conversation.

Of course you know you should do more to protect your identity, but let’s face it, data security is like public health: There’s only so much you can do to shield yourself, and even that is reliant on other people or companies. Unfortunately, as evidenced above, these same entities can obviously be careless with your information.

To this end, when people aren’t careful, the Internet can become a virtual playground for criminal activity. Whether you’re checking email, banking information or doing some online shopping, you have already put yourself at risk of having your identity stolen.

Criminals have developed several ways to obtain personal information from innocent Internet users. According to the United States Department of Justice, cyber criminals can take over an individual’s identity to conduct a wide range of crimes, such as fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts, because victims usually don’t become aware of the criminal activity until substantial and irreversible damage has already been done. And while punishable under state law, identity theft remains difficult to prosecute for a variety of reasons.

Enter Gabriel, a set of secure communication apps derived from a U.S. Department of Defense project and created by VirnetX, an Internet security software and technology company.

The software works like this: Gabriel transmits information using automatic virtual private networks with military-grade encryption (think cryptograms).

“Gabriel has been designed and built with personal privacy and security as a foundational principle,” says Dr. Robert Short, VirnetX chief technical officer and chief scientist. “As a result, Gabriel provides uncompromising data security … Users do not have to transmit data to, or store data with, any third party, including VirnetX. Users can therefore rest easy that their data is stored only on their devices.”

Other benefits from using Gabriel include:

• Making free voice or video calls or sending instant messages to other Gabriel members in your network;
• Receiving spamless e-mail;
• Allowing for person-to-person messages that disappear once the session has ended;
• Sharing pictures or files with other trusted Gabriel users in your network directly from your personal device.

All of this is done with other members of your network with the assurance that the trans-missions are secured with end-to-end encryption.

Simply put, Gabriel makes your online communications invisible. Think of it this way: If the criminals can’t see you, they can’t attack you.

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Why Encryption Is Important to You

Much has been made about encryption lately. And on some level, you probably have a vague idea about what it means. Maybe.

You might recall, for instance, that the FBI and Apple have tangled over it. (Apple won.) Most large companies such as Google and Facebook support Apple’s position. And that encryption keeps your “stuff” safe from unwanted eyes.

The problem is that the idea of privacy is just that these days — an idea.

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“The way technology is woven into our daily lives, you can’t do without it,” Amy Danker, an employee at Epic Wines and Spirits, told the Oakland Tribune in a recent interview. “So what’s your other option? Are you gonna go back to a pager? I just assume that all my private information is already available through my IP address. You don’t even think privacy exists, because it doesn’t anymore, right?”

Natalie Plotnikova agrees, saying the arm of the law is getting too long. “I don’t really like it,” Plotnikova told the Oakland Tribune as she waited to be cleared through security at the Federal Building in San Jose. “I don’t want the government to be able to use my phone to see my information.”

This, say experts, is why encryption is necessary and important — especially in our current 24/7-connected environment where everything is done on a smartphone. By having your information scrambled so that only the person you are sending it to can see it, your privacy is maintained and your information remains secure.

To that point, technology from VirnetX—a company that created an app called Gabriel, which uses encryption technology derived from a CIA national security program — may be the answer.

The Gabriel app, available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, was designed and built with personal privacy and security as a foundational principle.

For only $10 to $15 per year, users can take advantage of the Gabriel app and benefit from uncompromising encryption security when they talk, video chat, text, email or share photographs or documents.

No one will be able to see, hear, or intercept your communications except the party you’re in contact with because Gabriel does not transmit or store data with any third party. It’s person-to-person encryption that all but eliminates hacking possibilities.

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