Monday, January 16th, 2012

AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, the distributor of the award-winning AVG Internet and mobile security software in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, knows that lists for ‘back to school’ have expanded beyond new shoes and exercise books. It now covers preparation of home computers, school laptops and mobile devices for the upcoming academic year.

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ), said: “Back to School presents an ideal opportunity to engage with your children about their online activities and to look at updating systems, software versions and the passwords on every device used by every family member.”

AVG Technologies’ recent instalment of its Digital Diaries revealed that only two-thirds of Australian and New Zealand parents know their kids’ passwords. McKinnon said: “While there is a fine line between what your children see as caring and snooping, it is vital that ground rules are established to ensure parents can take the necessary responsibility over their children’s online practices - for the safety of the whole family and essential communications equipment.”

AVG (AU/NZ) offers these tips for preparing your computers and devices for Back to School:

Cleaning up the home computer

During the holidays the home PC will have had a good workout by the kids, and probably their friends. It’s time to clean it up and remove anything that may be slowing it down.

  • Do a full anti-virus scan with AVG’s Internet Security 2012 to see if any nasties have been introduced to the household. Check that all computers are configured correctly to automatically perform at least one full scan every week.

  • Update, update, update. Most malicious software is designed to take advantage of poorly maintained computers. Mitigate your risks by keeping your applications and your Operating System up to date at all times.

  • Optimise your PC to peak performance with a product such as AVG’s PC Tuneup.

Protecting mobile devices

  • Mobile devices - iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets are easily lost or stolen. Mobile security solutions such as AVG’s Mobilation allow devices to be remotely wiped and even tracked using GPS location technology. Devices should also be secured with a PIN so they can’t be used without permission.

  • USB memory sticks are highly convenient for students to transport files but if lost or stolen, private data and assignments may end up in the wrong hands. Investing in a memory stick that allows you to put a lock/PIN or encrypt data to restrict access is worthwhile. Put all your sticks through regular anti-virus scans. Keep backups of all files to avoid getting caught by stick corruption. And, attach memory sticks to brightly coloured, individual lanyards, along with your kid’s name and school, so they are not so easy to misplace or forget.

  • Labelling or marking equipment. Many parents take great pride in labelling school clothing, lunchboxes and bags but often forget to label technical gadgets. Doing this can make returning misplaced items easier and avoid confusion when classmates arrive with identical looking devices.

Community awareness

  • Community awareness is vital. If you see something that isn't right, discuss it, bring awareness to it, and this way you will raise the online safety standards of your community as a whole.

  • Make yourself aware of the IT security and codes of practice used at your children’s schools and reinforce them at home.

  • Unfortunately, cyber bullying is a growing threat to the positives of online social networking. With new classmates and new relationships developing from the start of the school year, you and your children should be aware of the recommended tactics to combat any nasty behaviour.

  • Reputations can last a life time in cyberspace. With the combination of school antics and social media, a great narrative can form online that may not be well received by future employers, so students need to be made aware of the long lasting effects that may arise.

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AVG, internet security, mobile security, back to school, social media, cybercrime



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