Last week, I wrote about how to protect children and minors vulnerable to abuse on the internet. I hope you re-visited your responsibilities as a parent and took this seriously.
The whole field of cyber-bullying, revenge porn and similar malicious activity by remote users is a growing and dangerous threat in today’s cyber world. Be aware that adults are not immune from this either. This week, I will look in more detail on security and parental control of your devices. Controlling access to your device by anyone must be taken seriously.
There have recorded incidents, for example, of teachers in the UK having had their contracts terminated for not ensuring that their calls students do not have access to unsafe and unsavoury websites. Firstly, let us look at the Family Safety functionality built into Windows 10 (Win10).
Very simply this allows you to control computer usage, website and application access for each user on your device. Configuration is very simple, go to Control Panel and then User Accounts and select Family Safety for the user account you wish to manage.
Using this functionality allows you firstly to control the amount of time your child spends on the device by selecting the days and the actual hours that the user will be able to have access. This is a real boon to parents whose children find it extremely difficult to keep to verbally agreed timescales.
I know, this will probably make you unpopular and often lead to complaints that you are restricting the rights of your child to do their home or course work, but that is only to be expected. You can take this a step further and restrict the type of games played by your child but only the Windows games. In addition, you can impose restrictions on the games and applications that can be accessed on Windows Store.
For those of you who do not know, Windows Store is a repository of applications, programs and games (currently close to 1 million), approved by Microsoft for use with their operating systems. Both free and chargeable, it also very helpfully groups these applications into “must have”, free and most used applications.
When opening a new record that has no application available for access, Win10 offers to search the Microsoft Store to find the most appropriate application for your use. When setting up your new device, a visit to Microsoft Store is essential for free apps such as Adobe Reader, Skype and Facebook.
Back to Family Security. This function also allows you to filter inappropriate websites, use search words to block searches, and also block file downloads. It also allows you to simply control desktop applications by checking it on a list. Finally, it also lets you view the activity on a monitored account, by producing reports to check websites accessed, attempts at accessing blocked pages and PC time used.
Responsible parents should really review these options to ensure that they are providing a safe and healthy environment for their children and other minors. A quick explanation on Win10 and anti-virus solutions. Other security aspects will be explored in a future column.
I am aiming this advice at personal users, following numerous requests to supply individual anti-virus solutions. My considered advice to educated personal users is that it is not necessary to buy an alternative anti-virus solution for Win10. This is because Win10 comes with Windows Defender, an integrated anti malware program.
It provides all the necessary anti malware protection you require, including real-time protection. Yes, it is not as sexy as some of the malware packages that you parch, such as Kaspersky or BitDefender. But as long as you are aware of the risks attached to clicking on unsolicited links via mails or websites, or do not spend a lot of time subscribing to unsafe websites, it is my humble opinion that you are safe.
For corporate with more than 5 users, I will still strongly recommend a corporate solution such as Kaspersky Business Select, Trend Micro Officescan, or one of the newer web based applications, such as Webroot, now available. Contact use for further guidance or pricing.