Although there is no legal guideline, the consensus is that our children don’t really need smart phones, not until they are at least twelve, possibly fourteen, or at least, that's what Bill Gates was saying in 2017.
The means to unregulated internet access, the smartphone, is hotly debated by parents across America, where on average, children are getting their first smartphones age 10, according to research body, Influence Central. This does beg the question as to why the average smartphone owner is getting younger by the day, regardless of deep-seated parental fears of online bullying, child predators and sexting.
Could it be that we deeply feel Americas' children will benefit from 'swipe & tap' technology? Is it that we think key skills will be passed subconsciously through to our children that will be vital for their cyber-filled futures?
Unlikely, far closer to the truth is probably that we are simply sick of our children using our cell phones.
[Cyberhub Summit is Coming back to Atlanta, Ga | October 9-10, 2018 - Cyber Security education for executives and business owners and Powerful Networking. | Get the latest from Cyberhub Summit by signing up for their newsletters. ]
We now use our smartphones more and more as a handheld laptop and are naturally nervous about exposing work related information to the high risks of a young child, prone to swiping, deleting and of course, dropping, the device itself.
Then of course, there is the security issue, not that of the child against online predators but our own, against malicious downloads. Take for example the recent malware explosion that have sprouted from downloading the outrageously popular game, Fortnite, which broke game records with over 3.4 million players playing the game simultaneously in February, 2018, onto Android phones.
Fortnite is a phenomenally popular game amongst young teenagers and adults, the game currently has over 45 million users and it hasn’t even hit Android.
More accurately, the malware from the thousands of 'fake' downloads of the game Fortnite, which saw spyware spiraling out of control and into our Android phones. This malware has the ability to: make calls, record keystrokes, send SMS, access your camera, wipe and harvest device data, record audio and access accounts.
The Makers of Fortnite, Epic Games, relentlessly told the public that they will release the game on Android later on in the year, but it seems Android users are so desperate to play they will download anything.
The malware itself has three purposes for cyber criminals
Revenue from advertising
All of these are guaranteed to rip the utility of your phone to shreds.
The spyware, detected by ThreatLabZ, until this point doesn’t seem to be making connection with command and control servers but has been suggested by researchers to still be under development.
The revenue is gained by installing unwanted fake Fortnite games, which until this point have been taken down over 5000 times from the play store.
Posing as a version of the game, these malware apps are being distributed via domains such as betafortnite[.]com and androidfortniteapk[.]com. To download you will need to verify and fill out surveys which generates revenue for app developers.
Crypto miners have also been surfacing in the Fortnite fiasco. This mining malware encompasses embedded coinhive scripts which raise the CPU usage and drain the device battery, rendering your phone useless.
Advice for users
If you have already downloaded the spyware by accidence disable access through (Settings -> Accessibility -> Fortnite (App name) -> Turn off access) and then just remove the app from the device.
So what can be done to mitigate your risk when it comes to these types of malware downloads. Here are five basic steps to get you started:
Don't let your children use your phone.
Encrypt your cell phone
Make frequent backups of Data
Only download from trusted sources