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RSA 2015: Into the Woods: Protecting Our Youth from the Wolves of Cyberspace

When talking cybersecurity, it’s far more common to be thinking about malware than social issues. However during this year’s RSA Conference, information security and child safety crossed paths for a discussion on how to protect children from becoming victims of cybercrime.

As technology has gotten increasingly more sophisticated, unfortunately so have the potential threats facing kids. Michael Osborn, chief of the Violent Crimes Against Children Unit for the FBI, sees a clear nexus between information security and child exploitation, whether it is kids unaware of potential dangers and putting risky information online themselves or predators luring children. As a result, it is critical that both technical and nontechnical parties be involved in a constant and evolving dialogue about these threats.

Ensuring children receive internet safety education is another critical factor in protecting them. Alicia Kozakiewicz of The Alicia Project was a victim of abduction as a teen, and she recalls not having any conversations with parents or teachers about internet policies. When these aren’t outlined, children, as opposed to adults, are then are in control of what they’re doing online. And as Lance Spitzner of SANS Securing the Human added, it’s unrealistic to have unconnected kids these days. As such, parents play a key role in ensuring that children are not only safe but that they also are armed with the knowledge to develop safe internet behaviors while they are young.

With the world becoming more connected by the day, it is important to understand what new risks exist and raise children to be smart cybercitizens. Having an awareness of the current threat landscape will allow us to protect all our priceless assets as best we can, whether its private corporate data or little ones at home.

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