Security Awareness for Children

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1 Security Awareness for Children Clara Brady Technical Report RHUL MA st March 2010 Department of Mathematics Royal Holloway, University of London Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, England

2 Security Awareness for Children Clara Brady Supervisor: Chris Mitchell Submitted as part of the requirements for the award of the MSc in Information Security at Royal Holloway, University of London. I declare that this assignment is all my own work and that I have acknowledge all quotations from the published or unpublished works of other people. I declare that I have also read the statements on plagiarism in Section 1 of the Regulations Governing Examination and Assessment Offences and in accordance with it I submit this project report as my own work. Signature Date 6

3 Table of contents Table of contents... i Abstract... iv Chapter 1 Introduction Background Project Objectives Methods Used... 3 Chapter 2 Risks on the Internet for children Introduction Risks for children using the Internet Content Risks Contact Risks Conduct Risks Security Risks Children s interests and nature of Internet usage Research to date What are children doing online? The nature of Internet usage Comparison of risks, activities and nature of Internet usage Risk management Conclusion Chapter 3 Security Awareness Introduction Security Awareness Definitions and concepts i

4 3.2.2 Components Standards Benefits Difficulties Developing an information security awareness programme Approaches to a security awareness programme Cognitive approaches Security awareness for children Definitions and concepts Components Standards Benefits Difficulties Conclusion Chapter 4 Security Awareness Plan Introduction Stage One: Plan, assess and design Establish a Programme Committee Assess the needs of the audience Define programme objectives Source material suitable for the programme Identify the approach Choose methods of delivery Design the programme Stage Two: Execute and manage Stage Three: Evaluate and adjust Conclusion Chapter 5 Summary and Conclusions Summary and conclusions ii

5 Bibliography Appendix A: Tables Appendix B:Questionnaire for children Appendix C: Questionnaire for parents Appendix D: Questionnaire for teachers Appendix E: Methodology for survey Appendix F: Results iii

6 Abstract The Internet plays an increasingly larger role in the everyday lives of our children [LS-09d]. As a learning and communication tool, it offers them a wide range of opportunities [SM-08]. It is an invaluable source of knowledge and encourages creativity and imagination. Research has shown that three quarters of European children are online availing themselves of these opportunities [LS-09d]. Unfortunately, use of the Internet has negative consequences: risks are encountered. These risks range from exposure to inappropriate content, undesirable contact from strangers, and even cyberbullying. Children may not have the necessary skills or knowledge to manage these online risks [BT-08]. So what can we do to protect them and ensure that they enjoy a safer, online experience? Eliminating online risk is an impossible task. Efforts in the past have focused on reducing children s exposure to risk by controlling their access. Parental controls and monitoring, age verification solutions, walled-garden online environments and child-only social networking sites are some of the ways this can be achieved. However research has shown [N-09] that children can circumvent these measures. It also limits their opportunities and leaves children whose parents are not tech-savvy still at risk. It is clear that a more effective solution is needed. We can empower our children with the necessary knowledge and skills they need to stay safe online [BT-08]. We can raise their awareness of the risks they face and educate them about the safety and security issues they may encounter. An Information Security Awareness programme designed specifically for children will achieve this goal. It will encourage children to adopt safe computing skills and will promote good security practice. It will aim to make children aware not only of the risks they face, but also of the countermeasures they can utilise to protect themselves. This paper considers the need for an Information Security Awareness programme for children. It identifies the categories of risk children face online, discusses the results of a survey investigating children s online activities and outlines the objectives of an awareness programme for children. By implementing such a programme, the author believes that we can allow our children to reap the full benefits of the Internet and enjoy a safer online experience. iv

7 Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Background Research has shown that three quarters of European children are online availing themselves of the opportunities afforded by the Internet [LS-09d]. It plays an increasingly larger role in the everyday lives of our children. As a learning and communication tool it offers a wide range of opportunities for people of all ages [SM-08]. It is an invaluable source of knowledge and encourages creativity and imagination. Unfortunately, availing of these opportunities has negative consequences: risks are encountered. As a human race we have been dealing with risk since the beginning of time. Risks surround us in all areas of life: at school, at home, in the city and in the countryside. With the advent of the Internet came an additional area of life where we encounter risk; risk in the digital world. This new area of risk has given rise to widespread discussion, debate and anxiety, in particular, online risk for children. Although parents are quite confident in their ability to guide children to become competent risk managers in other areas of life, some parents feel powerless when it comes to helping their children manage this new area of online risk. This feeling of powerlessness may be due to the generational digital divide that exists between parents and children. Parents feel that they lack the knowledge, skills and understanding of this new technology that is required to teach their children how to stay safe online. This results in a role reversal whereby children are more skilled in their use of technologies than their parents. Many parents are uncomfortable with this role reversal and thus become apprehensive about their children s use of the Internet [BT-08 Ch. 1 pg 22-25]. Use of the Internet exposes children to a wide variety of risks. Children may not have the skills or the knowledge to manage these risks. Efforts in the past to protect children from these risks have focused on controlling children s access. However controlling access, limits their opportunities [BT-08]. Therefore in order to allow children benefit from the opportunities the Internet affords and to protect them from the risks it presents, it is vital to 1

8 empower them with the necessary knowledge and skills to stay safe online. It is vital to raise their awareness of the safety and security issues they may face and to increase their resilience to these risks. Empirical research on the efficiency of training, campaigns and rewards in other fields suggest that approaching safety and security awareness in this way will have the potential of improving children s awareness. Training has proven beneficial in AIDS prevention [OD-89], awareness campaigns have proven successful in road safety [DA-04] and rewards have been considered as effective in motivating humans to change attitudes and behaviours for a long time [FL-59]. Therefore one can conclude that appropriate education and awareness programmes will be effective in increasing cyber security awareness in order to protect children while online. Schools are a universal point of contact through which children can be reached. Thus it is vital that appropriate education programs are put in place in schools to enable them to become safer, wiser and more responsible Internet users. 1.2 Project Objectives In the past the cyber security was a concern for computing professionals and government agencies only. With the popularity of the Internet, it is now a shared responsibility of adults and children alike. By teaching children effective age-appropriate cyber security skills from the start they will develop positive security habits from an early age and will grow up to become responsible, security conscious cyber citizens. Reaching school children, many of whom are the current technology experts in their homes, enhances a responsible culture for now and in the future. John Colley (ISC) 2 As a primary school teacher and an information security professional, the author of this paper realises the importance of teaching children these skill and this project aims to utilise her knowledge from both professions to create guidelines to develop a cyber security awareness programme for children. The objectives that this project sets out to achieve are; 1 To review the existing research on the issues and dangers children face on the Internet. 2

9 2 To examine children s online habits and the nature of their access. 3 To identify the risks children may be exposed to as a result of online activity. 4 To identify the existing cyber security resources available. 5 To examine existing security awareness approaches. 6 To create guidelines to develop a cyber security awareness programme for children 1.3 Methods used A literature review was conducted to collate all the relevant research that has been carried out to date. This was analysed to ascertain the concerns and issues that have been raised regarding children and the Internet. The author chose two studies to focus on; The European Commission s Safer Internet for Children Qualitative Study and the National Centre for Technology in Education s 2008 Survey of Children s Use of the Internet in Ireland. The former paper was chosen as the target audience was closest to the target audience the author wants to focus on and the latter because it demonstrates many significant changes in children s Internet use. The age range of the focus group for the cyber awareness programme is ten to twelve years. To date no research focuses solely on this group. The author distributed self administered surveys to four primary schools in Ireland. There were three different surveys each designed for a different target audience; primary school pupils aged between 10 and 12, parents of these pupils and teachers. This survey completed by 202 Irish children aimed to gather evidence on these children s Internet habits; frequency of access, location of access, surfing habits and their opinion of Internet. Parents were surveyed to gain a general understanding of their attitudes and habits regarding their child s Internet access and to identify the extent of their knowledge of some technological safety features. A third survey was designed to obtain evidence regarding teacher s use of the Internet with children and to ascertain their knowledge of existing child e-safety initiatives. 3

10 Chapter 2 Risks on the Internet for children 2.1 Introduction This chapter aims to analyse the existing research on the issues and dangers children face on the Internet. Section 2.2 will present a classification of such risks with a description of each type. Following this section 2.3 analyses the nature of children s access habits and their online interests. Using the information, the author presents her opinions on the risks children face according to the activities they partake in. Finally section 2.4 uses a risk management approach to identify a solution to enable children deal effectively with these risks. 2.2 Risks for children using the Internet There are a number of online risks for children due to the anonymous, ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the degree of communication it offers [BT-08]. The EU Kids Online network [HU-07, Ch. 1, pg 8-10] classifies online risks to children according to three categories content, contact and conduct. Content risks refer to risks in which the child is exposed to mass-distributed content. Contact risks refer to risks which may occur when the child is engaged in communication. Conduct risks relate to risks in which the child may be the initiator or actor of content or contact risks Content risks Age inappropriate content - The Internet hosts an abundance of information for its wide variety of users. This information is easily accessible to all users and can be spread quickly and freely to users all over the world. However some of this content is not appropriate for all ages and children may be exposed to it by actively searching for it themselves or by coincidence. A study [FA-07] of 40 UK websites 4

11 that are used most frequently by children revealed that less than one-third of these sites are actually designed for children. This therefore increases the likelihood of content risk. There is a variety of information on the Internet that can be classified as inappropriate for children and exposure to this may even have negative effects on a child. Age inappropriate content includes illegal content such as child pornography or racist content, through to harmful content which can range from hateful content to violent material. Extensive work has already been carried out by numerous bodies and governmental organisations (Office for Internet Safety, Ireland; Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre, UK; Insafe, EU) to deal with illegal content online. However, due to the emergence of Web 2.0 which allows users upload content, it continues to be an on-going problem thus posing a risk for children. Incorrect content Due to a number of Web 2.0 applications, users can now upload their own content to the Internet. This content can be uploaded to blogs, wikis, social networking sites and chat rooms. This material is not subject to scrutiny by experts to check its correctness or otherwise. There is no specific place in which to enforce editorial control on this user-generated content [BT-08]. Due to this it is very difficult to control the content that is published on the Internet. This enables children to obtain incorrect or biased content when they surf the net. Young inexperienced Internet users are vulnerable to this as they do not have the media skills to deal effectively with this risk and may take the information at face value. Commercial content The study, [FA-07], also revealed that 95% of the 40 websites children most commonly used most often contain some form of commercial content. This type of content ranges from advertising the sale of goods and services, marketing, spam and sponsorship. This poses a risk to children as they may not have developed the media literacy skills to deal effectively with exposure to this material Contact risks Undesired contact - With the increase in use of social networking sites and instant messaging services, children are potentially at a greater risk of receiving unwanted 5

12 and inappropriate contact from strangers and cyber bullies. It is known [C-02] that one medium that paedophiles use to make contact with children is the Internet. As children are now becoming more frequent users of chat rooms and instant messaging services, they may be at a greater risk of being groomed. "Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as , cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others." Bill Belsey Cyberbullying is bullying that is carried out using Information & Communication Technology, particularly mobile phones and the Internet. According to research children are using Information & Communication Technology more frequently thus putting themselves more at risk of being victims of cyber bullying. Disclosing of personal information Young people and children are increasingly putting personal information on the Internet through chat rooms and social networking sites [N-09a]. Two thirds of the sites used most frequently by UK children ask for personal information to join clubs, sell products, enter competitions and create online identities [FA-07].Children may be oblivious to the dangers associated with disclosing sensitive, private information online and unaware of privacy rights. Children may not understand the need to check that the information they provide will be managed properly by the site. Being unaware of this threat can lead to the wide range of risks ranging from phishing attacks to being recipients of inappropriate advertising or marketing therefore increasing their vulnerability to undesired contact Conduct risks Bullying or harassing other children Creating/uploading incorrect or harmful material 6

13 Illegal downloads Security risks There are numerous security risks for all users of the Internet. The author believes that these risks also apply to children. The activities that children partake in online will determine which of these general user risks children are susceptible to. These security risks range from viruses, spyware, spam, to identity theft, disclosure of personal information and phishing. 2.3 Children interests and nature of Internet usage Identifying how children are using the Internet, the activities they partake in online and the nature of the child s Internet access can determine the extent to which children may face information security risks. The activities they partake in will determine the type of risk they are exposed to and the nature of their access will have a bearing on their vulnerability to the risk Research to date Much research has been carried out on the topic of children and the Internet [N-09a, EC-07, N-03a, BT-08]. The EU Kids Online Network compiled a report, [LS-09b], identifying the research carried out on children and young people s access to and use of the Internet and online technologies across Europe. According to this report [LS-09b] the most researched topics are online usage followed by access, interests and activities. Other areas of research are based on children s online skills, social networking online, playing online games, the effects on children of going online, concerns and frustrations of children and children s identity play. Very little research has been carried out in the area of civic and political participations, interpreting online content, seeking advice online and strategies for finding things. 7

14 2.3.2 What are children doing online? The European Commission s Safer Internet for Children Qualitative Study [EC-07] which was carried out in 29 countries in Europe revealed that the Internet is used by children for two main reasons; online games and looking for information on subjects they are interested in which includes browsing for fun. It also revealed that looking for information for homework, communicating, downloading music and sending and receiving s are also frequent activities that children partake in. The National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) based in Ireland has carried out three similar studies in 2003, 2006 and 2008 investigating children s use of the Internet. The 2008 Survey of Children s Use of the Internet in Ireland [N-09a] reported that the most popular activities on the Internet that children partake in are playing games (60%), downloading music (51%), using social websites (48%), doing homework (43%), getting information not related to schoolwork (38%), sending and receiving s (36%), using instant messaging (36%) and chatting in chat rooms (18%). It also noted that there had been a significant increase in certain activities including the use of instant messaging and the number of children providing personal information. The NCTE s Survey of Children s Use of the Internet in Ireland [N-09a] also revealed that social networking has become a daily activity for most children, particularly teenagers. In the study carried out by this author, it was found that the most common activities that children declared they use the Internet for are playing games (77.95%), looking up information (40%), browsing for fun (36.92%), downloading (32.82%), (29.23%), social networks (22.56%), msn (13.85%) and making new friends (9.74%) The nature of Internet usage While examining the area of online risk, it is also important to assess the nature of children s Internet usage as this will influence a child s vulnerability to these risks. a) Increase in access from home A major change emerging in a number of studies is that the number of children accessing the Internet from their own homes is increasing year by year [N-09a, EC-07]. In the study carried out by this author, it was found that the most common location of access to the 8

15 Internet was at home (88.72%). Studies have also shown that children who have access to the Internet at home use it on a more frequent basis. [N-09a] 95% of those with access to a computer at home stated that they also have an Internet connection at home, an increase from 90% in 2006 and 80% in % of those who used the Internet at home use it every day or almost every day, an increase of 20% since [N-09a] This increase in home access may be due to the fact that because we live in a culture increasing with risk, children are more restricted to playing indoors and in order to entertain them parents are providing them with a media rich environment [LS-09c, Ch. 1 pg 14] b) Children are accessing the Internet from a younger age There is also evidence that children are accessing Internet from a younger age [N-09a] and the notion has been proposed that this trend will continue with the possibility of children starting to use the Internet when they start walking [FO-09]. Children of primary school age and younger are increasingly gaining access to the Internet. [LS-09a] In 2003 most children were starting to use the Internet between the ages of 9 and 10. In 2006 most children started to use the Internet at age 8. In 2008.more than a third were 7 or younger when they first used the Internet. [N-09a] c) Learning through self-discovery Children reveal that they learn to use the Internet mainly by themselves with some input from older siblings or parents at the beginning to teach them the basics. Overall the majority of children say they learn to use the Internet through a process of self-discovery [EC-07]. In the study carried out by this author similar results were found with almost half of the sample population declaring that they learned to use the Internet by themselves (43.59%). Parent/guardian was the next most common source for learning to use the Internet (33.33%) 9

16 followed by siblings (10.77%). Only 4.62% (n=9) declared that they learned to use the Internet from their teacher. d) Location of computer There is evidence [N-06] that there is a decrease in the number of children who access the Internet in a public room at home. There is also evidence [HU-07] that due to a number of social changes, there is an increase in bedroom culture with children spending more time at home in their bedrooms than in public spaces. As Internet mobility becomes widespread it is likely that the number of children with access to the Internet in their bedrooms will increase. Consequences As the number of children accessing the Internet from home has increased this may increase the frequency of children s use of the Internet which in turn may increase their exposure to online risks. The more frequently a child uses the Internet the more likely it is that they will encounter risk. The age of the child encountering the risk will also have a bearing on the impact of the risk on the child. Considering the fact that children are accessing the Internet at a younger age it is more likely that they will be more vulnerable to certain risks as they will be less likely to have the skills and ability to deal with the variety of online risks. The way children learn to use the Internet will have an effect on the likelihood of developing good Internet habits. As the majority of children are learning how to use the Internet through a process of self-discovery, it is more unlikely that they will develop good Internet habits than if they were learning from a proficient user. The location of the computer may determine the degree of a child s risky online behaviour as children tend to behave better if they are being watched by parents. With the decrease in the number of home computers being located in public rooms, it makes it more difficult for parents to monitor child Internet use thus leading to an increased likelihood that children will partake in risky online behaviour. 10

17 2.3.4 Comparison of risks, activities and nature of Internet usage After identifying the online risks children are exposed to, the activities they partake in online and the nature of the child s Internet access, Table A, indicates the relationship between each of these elements. The activities they partake in will determine the type of risk they are exposed to and the nature of their access will have a bearing on their vulnerability to the risk. 2.4 Risk management The wide range of risks outlined in Section 2.2 provides parents, teachers and policy makers with a difficult task of trying to help children manage these risks. Although children are perceived as tech-savvy users in comparison with their parents, when it comes to online risks, they are perceived as vulnerable to the harmful content and contacts that can be accessed through the Internet [SE-08]. It is clearly evident that creating a risk-free online environment for children is an impossible task. By using a risk management approach a solution to help children manage these online risks and to help parents become more confident at safeguarding their children against these risks can be found. Risk management is the process of reducing risks to an acceptable level. There are four options for managing risk; transfer, accept, avoid, control. Risk transfer is defined as sharing with another party the burden of loss, or benefit of gain, for a risk [LN-09]. Risk acceptance is defined as the decision to accept a risk [LN-09]. Neither of these methods are applicable in managing online risk for children. Risk avoidance as defined is the decision not to be involved in, or action to withdraw from a risk situation [LN-09]. This infers that we would prevent children from accessing the Internet. However this method for managing online risk is not viable. Protecting children by preventing online use would prevent children from benefiting from the numerous online 11

18 opportunities that the Internet affords. As the opportunities that the Internet affords are intricately linked with online risks this methods for managing risks is not feasible. Avoiding risk is also a task that many educators and psychologists would not wish to be realised as they appreciate the need for a child to deal with risk in order to reach their full potential. Risk is vitally important for a child s development. Therefore an environment where the child is completely protected from all risks should not be created. Risk reduction is the action taken to lessen the probability, negative consequences, or both, associated with risk [LN-09]. This can be achieved through prevention, detection and response strategies. It is this method that has been most frequently used to help children manage risk online. Typically their exposure to risks has been reduced using technical measures. This usually results in limiting children s access to the Internet or by controlling their online activity through parental controls and monitoring, age verification solutions, walled-garden online environments and child-only social networking sites. However these solutions while they can be effective to a certain degree are not satisfactory for a number of reasons. Research has shown [N-09a] that children can circumvent these measures. It also limits their opportunities and leaves children whose parents are not tech-savvy still at risk. It is clear a more effective solution is needed. In the offline world risks are managed for children by decreasing supervision and monitoring appropriately as the child increases in their ability to recognise and cope with risks. We can also approach online risks in this way. Children should be gradually introduced to more sociable online environments to prepare them for a networked adulthood [LN-09]. A more effective approach however is to empower our children with the necessary skills and knowledge they need to stay safe online. We can raise their awareness of the risks they face and educate them about the safety and security issues they may encounter. A Security Awareness programme designed specifically for children will achieve this goal. It will encourage children to adopt safe computing skills and will promote good security practice. It will aim to make children aware not only of the risks they face but of the countermeasures they can utilise to protect themselves. By empowering children with this knowledge, we can ensure that they will reap the full benefits of the Internet and enjoy a safer online experience. 12

19 2.5 Conclusion This chapter analysed the existing research on the issues and dangers children face on the Internet. A classification of such risks with a description of each type was presented and the nature of children s access habits and their online interests outlined. A risk management approach was used to identify a solution to enable children deal effectively with the risks they face online. The author concluded that the most effective approach in order to allow children reap the full benefits of the Internet and enjoy a safer online experience, is to implement a security awareness programme. The programme will teach them to become responsible Internet users and provide them with the skills they will need to deal with the risks they may encounter while surfing the web. 13

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